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Beethoven: Missa Solemnis / Schwanewilms, Jahns, Schukoff, Henschel, Eschenbach

Album Summary

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Christoph Eschenbach has a longstanding association with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and this release adds to critically acclaimed recording of Bruckner Symphony No. 6 released in 2011. A prolific recording artist over five decades, Eschenbach has recorded as both a conductor and a pianist on labels including Deutsche Grammophon, Sony/BMG, Decca, Ondine, Warner and Koch. The stellar quartet of soloists includes the great lyric soprano Anne Schwanewilms, who enjoys an unparalleled reputation for her performances of Strauss and Wagner, and tenor Nikolai Schukoff who is destined to become a leading voice of his generation.

"The conductor is Christoph Eschenbach, and the performance has his trademark fondness for sonic beauty. Surprisingly, for a conductor often associated with slowish speeds, it's also uptempo and volatile. There's real elation in the outer sections of Gloria and Credo and the Agnus Dei, with its vision of impenitent, warring humanity, is tense and querulous... There's fire and commitment in the choral singing and playing, and apart from Annette Jahns's occasionally plummy alto, the soloists are superb." -The Guardian

BBC Music Magazine
This may not be the finest performance of Beethoven's most forbidding work on disc, but it certainly ranks with the best...Eschenbach is his own man. In his hands, the work is more questioning than devout, though it has passages of unbridled jubilation...The London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir are on top form...And the soloists - not all familiar names - make a great team.

American Record Guide, September / October 2012
This recording has a lot going for it: Eschenbach's large, expansive view; a fine group of soloists; and finally the LPO in fine form - in particular concertmaster Pieter Schoeman, who plays the violin solo. The real stars for me, though, are the chorus members, especially the sopranos, who pump out Beethoven's outrageously high writing with full energy and complete assurance. When the Gloria had finished, I wondered if, like a sports team, they would send in subs for the Creed since they were, after all, in a concert rather than a studio. In any case they surmount the rest of the piece without ever sounding tired. To be sure, there are moments when the intensity sags a little (the reprise of "Credo" and perhaps during the "Dona") and we can find some small spots of shaky ensemble (as are common in concert performances of big choral works). The overwhelming impression, though, is one of great strength and conviction in tackling this gigantic, unwieldy work.

Fanfare Magazine, November/December 2012
Somewhat unusually, the interpretation offered here sets contemplative devotion at its core; it partakes more of a liturgical act than a concert performance, and the audience is utterly noiseless. Eschenbach accomplishes this partly by emphasizing lyrical elements over dramatic ones, and by a balance of orchestral sound that gives somewhat greater prominence to woodwind instruments... This recording is nonetheless worthy to join this distinguished field, and is warmly recommended.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, London (10/18/2008).


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Works Details

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123
  • Performers: Dietrich Henschel (Baritone); Annette Jahns (Mezzo Soprano); Nikolai Schukoff (Tenor); Anne Schwanewilms (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
  • Ensemble: London Philharmonic Orchestra Choir
  • Running Time: 79 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1819-1823
  • Studio/Live: Live