David Saemann | 08/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The repertoire on this disc was mostly unfamiliar to me, as I suspect it may be for many collectors. Schubert's church music is a genre that is very much something unto itself. Not being a great opera composer like Mozart, Schubert's masses lack the concision and lyrical elegance of the great Mozart works. Nevertheless, they have much fine music, especially the writing for solo voices, where Schubert's skill as a lieder writer comes through especially. The performances on these discs appear to be excellent. I have some Schubert Symphonies recorded by Sawallisch on LP, and his sympathy for this composer is very striking. The performances here are warm and beautifully detailed, with the superb Bavarian Radio Symphony Chorus making a great impact. The soloists, with the exception of one little known tenor, are all excellent, with especially fine contributions by Helen Donath and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Only one of the masses, the second one, is a digital recording, and it noticeably has better balances and more air around the ensemble than the other recordings. Those are late analogue, and they certainly sound very good, if obviously multimiked. From my perspective, this set is an excellent addition to a Schubert collection if you are interested in fleshing out your experience of this composer."