Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Hermann Prey, Johann Sebastian Bach, Otto Klemperer|
Bach: Mass in B minor
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The best I know
Herman Ivan | The Netherlands | 10/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I knew and owned this recording when it was published in the sixties; I played it so much that the vinyl disc became unplayable... Ever since that time I was looking for a recording of the Mass in B Minor, but none of what I found could come close. This record is so full of life, of feelings... I used to say that for just about any human feelings one can find parts of this recording to match it.
It is also on this recording that I got to know the voice of Janet Baker, which is quite amazing. One can recognize the special timbre of her voice whenever she sings; it is a unique experience."
A great performance in an updated remastering
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 10/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is EMI's curent remastering of Klemperer's classic B minor Mass from 1967. Along with Klemperer's St. Matthew Passion, this recording was the summit of what he could do in Bach. The vocal soloists are wonderful, especially the women led by Janet Baker. In retrospect these were the best Bach singers in Europe, and the ones we hear on period performances from Gardiner and Herrenweghe, among others, are inferior by comparison. Over and over we get accomplished vocal technicians without spiritual involvement in Bach's passionate Protestantism (blessed exceptions being Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Thomas Quasthoff).
The Philharmonia Chrous at this time was probably the best in the world. Klemperer's tempos are stately but full of life in their inward way, and the overall experience fills one with Bach's sense of joyful worship.
Yellow Caution Tape!
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 05/27/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"If a thriving community of Homo neanderthalis were discovered in a volcano-warmed valley of the Svalsbard Islands, I'd hope the international community would have the sense to cordon them off and leave them alone. Sometimes our past is best left in peace. That's surely the case with most performances of Bach before the revelations of the "Early Music" movement, and especially the case with this lumbering Neanderthal recording of Bach's B minor Mass by Otto Klemperer. It should be sealed in a museum case as prime evidence of why the efforts to relearn the techniques of Baroque singing and of playing original instruments were absolutely crucial. Klemperer must have misunderstand the word Mass, thinking of it in physical terms as something heavy to be dragged until all musical energy was converted to square hinders on the concert pews.
I found my old vinyl edition of this performance while searching for every B minor I've ever owned. This one is in pristine condition, suggesting that even in the 1960s I didn't like it much. Well, the only worse performance I've ever heard was von Karajan's. If this is what some people hear as "spiritual" Bach, okay, okay, don't let me spoil it for you. Personally, it sounds conscience-ridden and sanctimonious to me. Besides, the soloists are vilely out of tune most of the time, and if you can't hear the tuning problems, perhaps your ears just aren't skilled at recognizing basic intervals - thirds, fifths, and such. Janet Baker was a brilliant singer, probably my favorite of her generation, but even she can't overcome the thick textures Klemperer wraps around every passage. The first soprano-alto duet in the Christe eleison, for instance, sounds exactly like my two old-maid aunts caterwauling together on the Lutheran Sundays of my rural childhood. It took centuries to corrupt European vocal technique with constant vibrato, and only one generation to purge it. Hallelujah!
I can recommend four modern performances of the B minor Mass, all of them vibrant: Andrew Parrott's, Philippe Herreweghe's, Ton Koopman's, and John Eliot Gardiner's. I haven't heard the Bach Collegium Japan's performance, under Masaaki Suzuki, but I'd expect it to be outstanding."