Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Beethoven, Graf, Hoffman|
Beethoven: Missa Solemnis
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An obscure, but amazing recording
M. Mclain | VA | 08/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I only knew about this recording because I happened across it at a library. I had listened to and been thoroughly moved by his recording of don giovanni on decca records, and this happened to be in the collection. I cannot recommend it enough, and even though it is out of print, there are usually some used copies floating around for very cheap.
It is a stero recording, and the sound quality is great.
For those of you not familiar with Krips, he is a master german conductor that unfortunatly is falling into obscurity. His main contribution is his ability to make any orchestra sound absolutely transparent. He is mostly known for superb mozart performances, but I recommend him very strongly in the area of Beethoven, especially the very dense late works like Missa Solemnis and the Ninth. He is fairly straight forward in his tempos and performances, although always fiery and intense. The most remarkable thing, however, is the ability to make every instrumental part come out perfectly clear. He is the only conductor I know of to be able to do this with Beethoven's normally dense music. The ninth is quite remarkable, but it is really the Missa Solemnis that benefits from this treatment. Even the brass sound transparent, especially at the very end. After I heard this recording, I knew I needed to get hold of it but was afraid I'd never find it. While I am usually hesitant to go with obscure labels, I can vouch for the quality of this reproduction and recording. Don't miss it. It may not replace your fav Beethoven recordings, but you won't be sorry that you have it."
Highest recommendation! (But who is the conductor?)
Stephen Shotwell | Belmont CA | 09/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is indeed the same recording as the old Vanguard LP I bought in the early 70's, and a very welcome reissue. But -- funny thing -- according to the record jacket, Walter Goehr conducts the mass. Josef Krips conducts only the two Beethoven overtures on side four of the album. (!)
Some time ago I reviewed the Klemperer recording of this work as my favorite. But honestly, this is my real favorite, particularly now that I have it in CD reissue, which I discovered only a month ago. I had long presumed that this was out of release and unavailable.
This performance soars spiritually, thanks in part to an intelligent sense of direction, always so important with Beethoven (phrasing, sustained crescendi/decrescendi, emphasis of points of arrival, etc.) and a symphonic conception (no Wagner/Mahler moments.)
Total performance time, for those of you who look at such things, is indicated at 71:33. Assuming another reviewer is correct, this is on the fast side and very nearly the same as Gardiner's running time. And, I can assure you, this recording is WAY better than Gardiner's.
Some might quibble with sound quality, but for me this is a relative triviality.
The solo quartet is excellent, but I must make special mention of the alto, Grace Hoffmann -- such a gorgeous voice and musicianly (unoperatic) expression."
A true Missa solemnis, not a Missa pomposa
Anton Zimmerling | Moscow, Russia | 02/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Usually if you are told that an old interpretation, of which you have been unaware until yesterday, is one of the best in the discography of some great and frequently performed music, such a recommendation is not that reliable. But here it is really the case. Of course, Josef Krips was an excellent Viennese conductor with an established reputation - first of all, in Mozart, and Vanguard is a very fine label for those who look for the best historic recordings, but his performance of 'Missa solemnis' was a revelation for me.I bought it rather reluctantly following an advice of my friend who told me that this CD is rare and hard-to-get.
Missa Solemnis belongs to those great scores, the perception of which strongly depends on the person's involvement. Musicians who once performed it - in the chorus or in the orchestra - usually adore it, while the perception of other listeners is often marred by inadequate performances. Beethoven's writing for the chorus and the orchestra is at times heavy, and the mass may appear operatic and pompous under the baton of a conductor either too romantic or too learned. Josef Krips happily avoids this risk; his orchestration is astonishingly transparent and balanced and his taste is impeccable. Beethoven's fugues sound as they should - as late Beethoven's fugues, not as perverted quasi-Handel or sour quasi-Verdi.
The soloists are miked too close as it was customary in that period, but the voices are warm and appealing. I would like to make a special mention of contralto Grace Hoffmann and bass Erich Wenk - for his singing in Agnus Dei. It is a recording, where a listener anticipates every vocal solo and every vocal ensemble which great pleasure.
This CD is a valuable addition to everyone's Beethoven collection. I am not claiming that it is the only one possible approach to Missa Solemnis, but Krips's interpretation is some aspects almost perfect. Therefore his music-making may interest many people - if they only happen to find this CD..
Heartily recommended. A tip for those, who would like to look for other unjustly forgotten fine European conductors on Vanguard: this label also offers many excellent issues of Felix Prohaska and Antonio Janigro.