A release of historical proportion
Jean-Baptiste OUDAR | France | 04/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rudolf Tobias was born in Estonia (in 1873, same year as Rachmaninoff) and he had quite an unfortunate short life (he died in 1918). His vision and ambition in Music was not necessarily shared by others and his Oratorio was never performed in full during his lifetime and was soon forgotten. Thanks to the enormous work of Musicologist Vardo Rumessen who has restored after a considerable work. In some ways his destiny reminds me of the one of Charles Tomaslinson Griffes who had to copy by hand his "Pleasure-Dome Of Kubla Khan" for a performance by the BSO and shortly died after. But Tobias had himself no chance to see a complete performance during his lifetime. And it was not until 1989 that the complete version was ever performed, thanks to Rumessen, the famous Musicologist, and his restoration work done on the score. Three choruses are staged for "Des Jonas Sendung", 150 chorists are used in the main and there is an addition of children's choir. A female choir is acting as the "Mystic Chorus". The Orchestra is deployed in full proportion.The Oratorio itself is a very well balanced between huge, grandiose moments (the Sanctus reminds me of one movement of Elgar's "The Spirit of England"), intimacy with parts that could be Chamber Music and fast, muscular transients (like in the opening bars). It is sad that such a discovered work, neglected or even unperformed during their time, reveals to be a major landmark in the entire Oratorio output and ranks among the best Choral works ever written : Beethoven Missa Solemnis, Haendel Messiah. This is also making every audition of this CD an unforgettable experience."