25 Essential Beethoven Recordings: Missa Solemnis

Monday, November 12, 2012

The ORR's recording of Beethoven's choral masterpiece was made the very week of November 1989 that the Berlin Wall came down, and as conductor John Eliot Gardiner later claimed, that seemed to heighten the spiritual experience of the performance. Featuring a choir of 36 and an orchestra of 60 period-instrument players, it's also a leaner, meaner version than was commonplace in the late '80s.

The assembled forces deliver a fresh and vital interpretation of this sometimes forbidding work, taking some of the accumulated-by-time thickness out of it. The solo quartet, appropriately lighter voiced, comprises Charlotte Margiono, mezzo Catherine Robbin, tenor William Kendall and baritone Alastair Miles. 

When this recording finally hit store shelves in 1991, it bumped Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio from the number-one position on the classical charts – no easy feat and it won several industry awards, including "Record of the Year," from Gramophone magazine.

Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123
John Eliot Gardiner

Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Monteverdi Choir

Alastair Miles (Bass), Charlotte Margiono (Soprano), Catherine Robbin (Mezzo Soprano), William Kendall (Tenor)

Available at Arkivmusic.com

The Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique will perform the Missa Solemnis at Carnegie Hall on Nov. 17, which WQXR will broadcast live.


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Comments [1]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Beethoven's universal scope in symphonies, concertos, sonatas and chamber music generally and song literature is so pervasive and his world consciousness and basic humanity construct an icon unparalled to and past his own era. At Juilliard, I studied his oeuvre and , in those days, all singers learned the concert rep of Beethoven , Schubert , Schumann, Wolf and Grieg, whether they would be opera singers or concert singers. So much of our treasured masterpiece, vocal and instrumental, are unknown quantities to most Americans. THANK YOU WQXR FOR CELEBRATING BEETHOVEN !!! Beethoven's symphonies are the ABCs of most essential single composers' oeuvre of the symphonic literature. Who ever having heard the Waldstein well performed can ever forget its beauty and nuanced scope of emotions. Wagner and his contemporaries and their successors all recognized the epic achievement of Beethoven. I am a romantischer Wagnerian heldentenor and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute at 418A Main Street, Boonton, NJ .I have sung four solo concerts in four solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. As part of my Ten Language Solo Debut concert at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, I sang the Gott ! welch dunkel hier ! aria of Fidelio. it can be heard from the live performance on my three websites. It received rave critical notices in newspapers and magazines.

Nov. 12 2012 08:20 AM

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About Beethoven Awareness Month

No composer impacted the course of Western music like Ludwig van Beethoven. The events of his life are the stuff of Romantic legend, his works permeate concert halls and he remains a cultural icon outside of classical music, turning up in movies, TV soundtracks, commercials and pop songs. Throughout November, WQXR celebrates Beethoven's work through concert broadcasts, multimedia projects, marathons and other features.