Bernstein: Mass

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Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Leonard Bernstein's voracious musical appetite allowed him to draw freely on nearly any style he heard, classical to jazz, Broadway to rock. The most openly eclectic of all his works is the Mass 1971, "A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers." Its catchy pop tunes especially "A Simple Song" and jazzy rhythms provide an appealing point of entry, but overall it offers less of a feel-good vibe than a radical examination of faith in modern life. Musically, the Mass is a montage in which an intense Mahlerian orchestral interlude can segue to a chantlike chorus, which in turn can blur seamlessly into a boisterous refrain for rock band and singers. The composer also ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Leonard Bernstein's voracious musical appetite allowed him to draw freely on nearly any style he heard, classical to jazz, Broadway to rock. The most openly eclectic of all his works is the Mass 1971, "A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers." Its catchy pop tunes especially "A Simple Song" and jazzy rhythms provide an appealing point of entry, but overall it offers less of a feel-good vibe than a radical examination of faith in modern life. Musically, the Mass is a montage in which an intense Mahlerian orchestral interlude can segue to a chantlike chorus, which in turn can blur seamlessly into a boisterous refrain for rock band and singers. The composer also ingeniously uses technology -- prerecorded tape and other electronics -- to play with time and space; naturally this works best in the concert hall, but Harmonia Mundi's sonics capture just the right effects of distance here. Until now, the work has been represented on disc only by the composer's own powerful recording. But Kent Nagano is the ideal choice to conduct this competing version, bringing a keen sense of theatricality to Bernstein's music; he also has the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester of Berlin swinging in perfect American style although the German choristers are a bit stiff by comparison. As the Celebrant, Jerry Hadley strikes just the right note, more common man than opera star, the slightly fragile quality of his voice making the climactic spiritual crisis "Things Get Broken" all the more effective. The Mass has undeniable interest as a period piece, but this recording's greatest merit is to prove that it also has undimmed relevance for today.
All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
For more than three decades, Leonard Bernstein's "Mass" has only been available in the Columbia Masterworks and Sony editions, conducted by the composer. Kent Nagano's ambitious recreation for Harmonia Mundi provides an alternate interpretation, varied here and there in tempi, in minor changes of lyrics, and in slightly different characterizations of the various "street" soloists. But on the whole, it offers no important musical improvements over Bernstein's rendition, and may even be judged inferior for its sterile imitation of the earlier recording's social outrage and ecstatic ecumenical love-fest. The 1971 recording is certainly over the top in all of its emotions, but this 2004 version is too careful to avoid giving offense. In the role of Celebrant, Jerry Hadley almost copies Alan Titus point for point, yet brings to his performance an obvious love for the sound of his own voice and a preciousness that is annoyingly off the mark. Titus may have been a weaker singer, but his raw performance was far superior to Hadley's operatic preening. Boasting DSD sound and hybrid multichannel reproduction, the spacious recording captures "Mass"' enormous forces with fidelity, but also seems excessively resonant and indistinct in instrumental solos. In the end, despite Nagano's earnest attempt to get it note-perfect, this set is no substitute for Bernstein's inimitable original.
Philadelphia Inquirer - David Patrick Stearns
Nagano doesn't downplay the cheesy vulgarity [of the Mass]. Instead, he cranks it up to the point of becoming downright brutal, creating a panorama that updates Hieronymus Bosch, with the grotesqueries of The Garden of Earthly Delights outfitted with platform shoes and polyester-print shirts.

Nagano doesn't downplay the cheesy vulgarity [of the Mass]. Instead, he cranks it up to the point of becoming downright brutal, creating a panorama that updates Hieronymus Bosch, with the grotesqueries of The Garden of Earthly Delights outfitted with platform shoes and polyester-print shirts.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/11/2005
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • UPC: 794881752362
  • Catalog Number: 801840

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–32 Mass, theatre piece for singers, players & dancers - Leonard Bernstein & Paul Simon (105:41)
    Composed byLeonard Bernstein, Paul Simon, Stephen Schwartz
    Conducted byKent Nagano
    Performed byAdrienne Albert, Betty Allen, Tom Carpenter, Jerry Hadley, Jerry Hadley, Simon Halsey, Simon Halsey, Tobias Lehmann, Kent Nagano, Rundfunkchor Berlin, Maeretha Stewart, Michael Timm, Michael Timm, Dominic Cossa, William Elliott, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Pacific Mozart Ensemble, Katy Stephan, Isabelle Voßkühler, Isabelle Voßkühler, Karen Altman, Charles Magruder, June Magruder, John Manno, John Manno, Raymond DeVoll, Marc Accornero, Kate Berenson, Doug Boyd, Lark Coryell, Lark Coryell, Angela Doctor, Eric Freeman, Benjamin Grant, Jim Hale, Kai-Uwe Jirka, Kimberly Keeton, Kimberly Keeton, Eric Lipsitt, Eric Lipsitt, Kathie Longinotti, Kathie Longinotti, Bryan Matheson, Marie-Louise Modersohn, Nile Norton, Nile Norton, John Paddock, John Paddock, Larry Rose, Larry Rose, Benjamin Scott, Benjamin Scott, John Stenzel, John Stenzel, Frazier Stevenson, Frazier Stevenson, René Voßkühler, René Voßkühler, Tom Carpender, Julian Frischling, Richard E. Grant, Jim Hale, Maretha Stewart, The East Berlin Radio Choir, William Elliot
    1. 1 Devotions before Mass. 1. Antiphon. Kyrie eleison
    2. 2 Devotions before Mass. 2. Hymn and Psalm. A simple song
    3. 3 Devotions before Mass. 3. Responsory. Alleluia
    4. 4 First Introit (Rondo). 1. Prefatory Prayers
    5. 5 First Introit (Rondo). 2. Thrice - Triple Canon. Dominus vobiscum
    6. 6 Second Introit. 1. In nomine Patris
    7. 7 Second Introit. 2. Prayer for the Congregation
    8. 8 Second Introit. 3. Epiphany
    9. 9 Confession. 1. Confiteor
    10. 10 Confession. 2. Trope. I don't know
    11. 11 Confession. 3. Trope. Easy
    12. 12 Meditation No. 1
    13. 13 Gloria. 1. Gloria tibi
    14. 14 Gloria. 2. Gloria in excelsis
    15. 15 Gloria. 3. Trope. Half of the People
    16. 16 Gloria. 4. Trope. Thank you
    17. 17 Meditation No. 2
    18. 18 Epistle. The Word of Lord
    19. 19 Gospel-Sermon. God said
    20. 20 Credo. 1. Credo in unum Deum
    21. 21 Credo. 2. Trope. Non Credo
    22. 22 Credo. 3. Trope. Hurry
    23. 23 Credo. 4. World Without End
    24. 24 Credo. 5. Trope. I Believe in God
    25. 25 Meditation No. 3 (De profundis, part 1)
    26. 26 Offertory (De profundis, part 2)
    27. 27 The Lord's Prayer. 1. Our father...
    28. 28 The Lord's Prayer. 2. Trope. I Go On
    29. 29 Sanctus. Holy! Holy! Holy!...
    30. 30 Agnus Dei
    31. 31 Fraction. Things Get Broken
    32. 32 Pax: Communion. Secret Songs
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Kent Nagano Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

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