- Mass in B minor, for soloists, chorus & orchestra, BWV 232 (BC E1)
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Bach: Mass in B minor based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
If you would rather hear Bach's B-Minor Mass (or anything Baroque) on period instruments, then skip this review. If on the other hand you are open to a more traditional yet persuasive and mostly exciting view of this masterwork,then read on. This is Robert Shaw's second recording of the above-mentioned work. His earlier reading dates from the early 1960's with the Robert Shaw Chorale. What made this performance as well as the current recording un- der review unusual was that in the large choruses he used soloists in alternation with the full chorus in certain passages within said chorus, thus allowing novel changes in vocal texture and color. This practice has since been followed by other conductors, but none as persuasive as Shaw, and even more so in the present recording. What also helps in the lightness of texture is that Shaw uses a chamber choir culled from his Atlanta Symphony Chorus. While the texture is indeed light and transpa- rent,it is neither anemic-sounding nor lacking in vibrato. However, this quality allows the music to dance, a couple of exceptions notwithstand- ing. As noted above, Shaw's interpretation, aided by his excellent chorus and orchestra make the music sing and dance as few other recordings do. Tempi are slower than in the authentic period instrument performances but the great choruses are thrilling indeed, especially the ones with trumpets and timpani; note the closing choruses of the Gloria and Credo and see what I mean. The softer choruses are expressive without being overdone as in many older recordings. I was disappointed at Shaw's tempi in the Pleni sunt coeli and the Osanna - way too slow and static- why? These sections should be bursting at the seams with excitement especially given what came before. This is my only major quibble though and the rest of the performance is exalted indeed. The vocal soloists are superb throughout with no weak links, and the or- cestral soloists are equally inspired. Buy this recording and be glad you did.