Caligula | George, Western Cape South Africa | 03/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being long under the impression that Bruckner's major achievement lay in his symphonies, the motets and the Te Deum, this CD-set came as quite a revelation to me.Being a very devout Catholic, Bruckner left us with sublimely beautiful music in these Masses. Although al three masses were composed in his forties, the music strongly bears his signature: elements of mystery, striking thematic material, and deep spiritual devotion.Jochum has a powerful vision, the singing of the choir is ethereal, and the recording after all these years retains a vivid presence.The music has a strong emotional effect on me; listening to it is a spiritual experience.Someone once said that God gave us music so that we could pray without words. This is the music I would expect to hear upon arrival in Heaven."
Not to be missed
Ray Barnes | Surrey, British Columbia Canada | 01/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I tend to echo the sentiments of the prior reviewer. The Masses are some of Bruckner's greatest compositions and deserve the same level of respect as do his symphonies. When I was listening to the Mass No. 3 in E minor I could have sworn there was a rolling orchestral crescendo that was also used at least in part in the great adagio of his Symphony No. 7 (also in E). The texts of the Roman Catholic liturgy are delivered entirely in Latin and the choral and soloist contributions are impeccable in phrasing, diction and beauty of tone. The Benedictus passages have some extremely beautiful parts for the voice and the string sections, and nothwithstanding the lack of a violin solo can be mentioned in the same breath as that of the Beethoven Missa Solemnis. The Et Resurrexit sections of the Credos have thundering power and majesty. In some respects the Masses are a bit more closely argued in terms of musical structure and cohere better than the earlier symphonies. Eugen Jochum conducts with selfless dedication, letting this powerful music speak for itself. The playing of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is superb, and the highly individual sound of the Mass No. 2, written solely for brass and wind instruments, almost (as the documentation implies) feels like Palestrina brought into the Romantic era. The remastering from the original issues, from 1962 to 1971, is very successful and there is a wonderful bloom on the choral sound. The spacious acoustics of the Herkules-Saal, which was also one of the venues for Jochum's first survey of Bruckner's symphonies with the same orchestra (and the Berlin Philharmonic), are heard to very good effect. Full translations of the Liturgy are printed in German, English and French.This issue is a classic and its release as part of Deutsche Grammophon's Originals series cannot be too strongly welcomed."
Very Poor Remastering job compared to the original
Ryan Kouroukis | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 10/20/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is the finest complete set of the Masses. However DG's remastering is atrocious compared to the original release of this set (a beautiful 4cd box set).
The balance is off, the warmth, depth and breadth are lost and there is plenty of digititis (a noticible digital signal/distortion throughout the listening experience).
Never have I felt that the same recordings could sound SO different!! As if they were conducted by two different conductors, played by two different orchestras and choruses, and recorded by two different companies! I own both sets, and have listened to them for years on different systems, and the results I just mentioned are always the same.
I normally like getting discs remastered but I've only felt this disappointed once before on a remastering job (Karajan's remastered '63 Beethoven set).
Not only that but on this set there is a break between the first and second disc in Mass No.2, which is a bit annoying. DG wanted to squeeze everything on two discs....whereas the other set has each Mass on it's own disc coupled with a few motets, and the Te Deum with the Psalm 150.
The investment of Jochum's grand, noble and beautiful choral Bruckner in the original Box set is without question the one to own. And worth the asking price. The difference is staggering in all areas!"
Excellent Introduction to Bruckner
R. Albin | Ann Arbor, Michigan United States | 01/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For someone like me, unfamiliar with Bruckner, this recording is an excellent introduction. These masses are a large amount of lovely, heartfelt music in a late Romantic idiom. The performances are excellent. The E minor Mass appears to be the most popular but I found the F minor Mass to be the most interesting of the three. Definitely whets your appetite for more Bruckner."
An excellent set
G.D. | Norway | 12/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Compared to the symphonies, Bruckner's masses have much of the same smoldering power and sense of grandeur, but in a far more serene - angelic - framework. They do perhaps lack the grand sense of purpose of the symphonies, but pretty much manage to make up for that with different means, proving without a trace of doubt that Bruckner was a master without peers when it came to writing for choral forces. And these performances are indeed heavenly, absolutely not to be missed. In many ways the second is perhaps the greatest among them, but its winds-only accompaniment - despite the fact that Bruckner's imaginative (maybe `infallible' is a better word) and effective use of the forces is marvelous - might be a little too austere for some, at least when compared to the lush opulence of the first and third ones.
The recordings were made between 1963 and 1972 and while I may not bee Jochum's biggest fan when it comes to the symphonies, I couldn't imagine a better advocate in these works. And he has quite simply stunning soloists and choral and orchestral forces at his disposal, creating the most exquisite of textures and most marvelous, flaiming colors and intensity (Kim Borg should be mentioned in particular among the soloists). The sound quality is pretty good as well, with none of the details lost, but it is unfortunately just a little tame and chilly. A splendid set, nonetheless."