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CD Review

Ludwig van Beethoven

Missa Solemnis, Op. 123

Susanne Bernhard, soprano
Anke Vondung, alto
Pavol Breslik, tenor
Yorck Felix Speer, bass
Orchester und Kammerchor der KlangVerwaltung/Enoch zu Guttenberg
Farao Classics B108053 75m DDD
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Also available on Blu-ray Audio A108054 w/ CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe - JPC

This is another new German label which is quite enterprising but which returns with a classic recording of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. Always a hugely difficult work to bring off, this mammoth mass has been recorded many times by the great masters so Enoch zu Guttenberg has a rather hard act to follow.

Recorded live at the Hercules Concert Hall of the Munich Residence, March 7, 2010, how does this South German recording fare on balance? Guttenberg certainly knows his Beethoven and his soloists rise to the occasion with Bernhard particularly enticing with her silky smooth dulcet tones. The pacing of the work is also quite good with the acoustics extremely tangible and the well trained chorus obviously sings the music to the manner born.

Although this will not displace the famous Klemperer or Karajan recordings from their rightful perch, Farao's new Missa will certainly win several admirers. I am told that a Blu-ray audio version will shortly become available so that is certainly something to watch out for. Otherwise this is a viable alternative in the pantheon of giants.

Copyright © 2010, Gerald Fenech