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|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Christopher Hogwood, The Academy of Ancient Music|
Mozart - Great Mass in C Minor / Augér, Dawson, Ainsley, Thomas, AAM, Hogwood
Throughout his career, Christopher Hogwood has managed to synthesize the insights of the music scholar and the practical experience of the performer with unusually fruitful results. He has been one of the most influen... more »
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Throughout his career, Christopher Hogwood has managed to synthesize the insights of the music scholar and the practical experience of the performer with unusually fruitful results. He has been one of the most influential conductors in extending the precepts of "historically informed performance" beyond a specialized constituency to a mainstream audience, above all in the music of Mozart, as in his acclaimed account of the complete symphonies. This recording of the Mass in C Minor represents one of Hogwood's finest interpretations. It's a sterling example of the conductor's ability to scrub away the crusty patina of received traditions so that we can hear Mozart with fresh ears. The use of period instruments and boy trebles in the chorus allows Hogwood to blend voices and orchestra with remarkable transparency, whether in the brooding Kyrie or the joyful punctuation of the Gloria. Hogwood's fluid sense of Mozartian line shows him thinking not in measures but in wonderfully long-spun phrases--notice the fleet grace of the Laudamus te--that he colors and shades with supple variety. Yet he also brings out the architectural grandeur of Mozart's exuberant polyphony and brass girding. Richard Maunder's edition fleshes out the unfinished score's torso by reconstructing the Sanctus and Osanna and filling out the orchestration in the Credo movements. The quartet of soloists is excellently balanced, with particularly fine contributions from the two sopranos. --Thomas May
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A bitter disappointment
Larry VanDeSande | 12/19/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Normally, I am a great fan of Christopher Hogwood/the Academy of Ancient Music and their recordings. It was therefore with great anticipation that I listened to their recording of Mozart's C Minor mass, a piece which I was already quite familiar with and fond of. My anticipation soon turned to disappointment, however, for on this recording the voices -- the chorus in particular, but the soloists as well -- totally drown out the instrumental forces. To be sure, the singing is beautiful; but certainly the orchestra would sound beautiful, too, if one could only hear it. I suppose this is not the fault of Hogwood or the AAM, but rather of the recording technicians, who failed to achieve a proper balance. I now wish I had purchased another recording"
Remarkable singing and direction, unremarkable playing
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 10/31/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"All of the previous reviews of this gloriously sung mass are correct: the period band is slight and not powerful enough to project over the marvelous singers, while the singers -- which is what this is about -- are uniformly outstanding.
Perhaps most outstanding is the contribution of the late lamented soprano Arleen Auger, whose voice and timbre were wondrous for this recording with Christopher Hogwood, the Academy of Ancient Music and Winchester Cathedral Choir with soloists Lynne Dawson, John Mark Ainsley and David Thomas. Aside from the thin orchestral support, there is nary a weak link in the group and a great many outstanding performances. True to his character, Hogwood collaborates with engineers to bring forth a crystal clear and transparent recording that is long on weight and fortitude while adhering to the religious joys inherent in the music.
I am variably troubled by the substituion of a boy's choir for an adult women's section, which I find authentic but results in a mass less kaleidoscopic than normal and not particularly weighty. This, coupled with the lean support given by the thin as a rail string section and disappearing act by the woodwinds of the AAM, keeps this performance from being a five star job. Still, if singing is the main ingredient for you, you may look long and diligently to find one that matches this.
Traditionalists should find what they want from the bargain twofer by Colin Davis of this mass, the Requiem and another mass on Philips. The performances, recorded made during the 1970s, are traditional and include large choirs with famous soloists and a conductor that emphasizes vocal and instrumental drama over religiousity. A reverberant acoustic makes his C Minor Mass one to remember, as well."
100% pure & unequivocable EXCELLENCE !
Larry VanDeSande | 11/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of the many different recordings of this masterpiece that I have already heard, this truly is OUTSTANDING...the nearest thing to pure heaven. Above all, it acts as a true testament to the finest choral tradition in the world; that of the English Cathedral."