"Possibly the greatest recording of what may be the greatest musical work ever composed. Of course, there can be no one winner in either category. But the "Missa Solemnis" fuses deep spirituality with Beethoven's exploratory temperament and thus redefines faith itself as openness to novelty. Among recordings, Giulini's belongs for me beside Karajan's different but equally magnificent interpretation. If Karajan conveys Beethoven's rhythmic energy, Giulini makes time and space for cosmic vastness, mysterious quiet, and urgently human suffering and compassion. The soloists, in particular Janet Baker, give these unforgettable voice"
darragh o'donoghue | 01/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You might expect Beethoven masses to ring with monumental sublimity, and there are some tremendously exciting and violent movements in both these masses, when the soul contained by the everyday grind seems to exult in its unexpected release. The real joy of the Messa Solemnis, however, lies in the detail, the delicate clarity of certain passages; the extraordinary 'Sanctus', for instance, where a long violin of intricate beauty, quietly accompanied by slow orchestra gives on to the rapt singing; or the audacity of the closing 'Dona Nobis Pacim', where a startlingly secular fugue clashes with triumphal brass and rejoicing singing to create a Charles Ives effect of singular modernity. The Mass in C is more conventional in its effects, playing like a brooding 'Messiah', but there is still plenty of exhilirating invention.In the hands of a Karajan, this could have been a blodge of 'sublime' noise, but Guilini patiently picks out every note, unveiling a detailed tapestry of sound. If his playing is perhaps more worldly than we might expect from sacred music, than this astonishing cast of singers - Baker, Harper, Tear - are more than capable of spiritually transporting us."
Very enjoyable....especially Mass in C
dm | rochester, ny | 05/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Surprisingly could not find this recording listed in any of my guides...not sure why it's missing.
I did find it in a used record store and decided to take a chance...I find the sound and performances wonderful, although admittedly I can't say that I can compare and contrast between other renditions. No need to worry about sound quality or quality of performances.
I do find the Mass in C especially compelling and a worthy accompanient to the Missa Solemnis."
My favorite Missa Solemnis
Steve E. Martin | Port Orchard, WA | 12/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maestro Giulini knocks it out of the park with the Philharmonia. I have recordings of this piece with Jochum, Bernstein, Klemperer and Jochum. None come close, why EMI hasn't reissued this is a mystery. I was very happy to see it available at a reasonable price."
A bad Missa Solemnis (for me)
Ryan Kouroukis | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 01/05/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I know that I will offend some of you with this review but I will make up for it with a recommendation at the end...
This is one of the WORST recordings of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis i've ever heard in my entire life! Why?? No Structure, No Grandeur, No Breadth, No Religiosity, NO Solemnity, No Epic Vision...you can't even sense a musical line! He's just got some beauty and lyricism, but you can't just have that...Just compare this attempt to KLEMPERER'S, WALTER'S, HORENSTEIN'S, TOSCANINNI'S, LATE KARAJAN'S or even BERNSTEIN'S and you'll understand what I'm talking about!!!
The orchestra and chorus sound nice and basic, but you wouldn't believe they were the same orchestra and chorus after listening to Klemperer who uses the same forces!
Now let me get me started about the sonics on this recording...Coming from EMI it's absolutely pitiful! Someone screwed up big time, and I tell you it's not me! I spend most of my time studying recordings. Whoever was engineering these sessions should have been fired! It's almost as bad as Karajan's EMI Mozart symphonies! Dim, Low, Distant, Unfocused, Undetailed. I couldn't believe my ears! (And again, just compare it to say Klemperer's or Bernstein's). That's why I give 2 stars.
However I give Giulini's Mass in C, 5 STARS. Best I've heard alongside Gardiner's version!
-I do appreciate Giulini's art because he is a very special conductor, who's art happened not to come accross in his studio Missa Solemnis...
BUT...his live recording of it on BBC Legends is utterly transcendant!
It is so profound and so moving, with so much mystery and magic spontaneity that I can't believe it is the same Giulini! (With exceptional stereo sound!) He actually takes Beethoven's words seriously "From the heart - may it return to the heart"! Best Missa Solemnis for me alongside Klemperer's.
Forget Giulini's studio recording and go straight to his live one, where you can finally understand Giulini and Beethoven! "