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Beethoven: Mass in C; Elegiac Song; Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage

Beethoven: Mass in C; Elegiac Song; Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage

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by Robert Shaw

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Related Subjects


  1. Mass for soloists, chorus, & orchestra in C major, Op. 86
  2. Elegiac song (Elegischer Gesang) ("Sanft wie du lebtest") for 4 voices & string quartet, Op. 118
  3. Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage), cantata for chorus & orchestra, Op. 112

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Beethoven: Mass in C; Elegiac Song; Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Let me first begin with the Mass in C, the main work on this recording. This is the lesser known and earlier of Beethoven's two Masses - the great Missa Solemnis is the other. The earlier work is a precursor in mood and structure to the more popular later one. Listen to both side by side and you will hear what I mean. The Mass in C is alternately gent ly lyrical as in the Kyrie and turbulent to the bursting point in sec- tions of the Credo and Agnus Dei. In the Gloria one also hears Beetho- ven the titan-to-be especially in the closing fugue, and the Sanctus has modulations foreshadowing what Berlioz would use in his Requiem. That Beethoven has been called a revolutionary is certainly no acci- dent - listen to this work and then compare it to what came later to see how his style developed in his own inimitable way. Now to the present recording. As always, Shaw and his Atlanta forces present a beautiful sounding, professional,immaculate performance. But in the case of the Beethoven Mass in C these qualities sometimes over- whelm the brute force this work should have. For example, the closing fugue of the Gloria should be a fast thrilling romp that will leave you breathless - here, it just dutifully plods to its inevitable conclusion at a tempo which is nowhere near the Vivace that Beethoven indicated. Also, the diction is occasionally too "mushy" to properly articulate the music and let it flow. The vocal soloists are as usual excellent, as they are from Shaw's "home team" so to speak and the orchestra is in fine form. But on balance, you would be better off finding Karl Richter's old DG recording with his Munich forces - a much more excit- ing performance overall, albeit a rougher, more brutal sounding one which, however fits the mood of the Mass perfectly. The Shaw recording also includes two other short works- the popular Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage persuasively done, and the frankly me- diocre Elegiac Song. So take your pick according to what pleases you.