Notes & Reviews:
In December 2015, Nikolaus Harnoncourt announced that he was stepping down as head of the Concentus Musicus. It was his expressed wish to release the broadcast recording of Beethoven Missa solemnis as his personal legacy. Harnoncourt passed away shortly after on March 5, 2016, Missa solemnis is the maestro's final album. Concentus Musicus Vienna is the orchestra that Harnoncourt founded in 1953 and is the longest existing period instrument ensemble.
When Nikolaus Harnoncourt retired from the stage in December last year, it was his expressed wish to release the broadcast recording of his last project, Beethoven's monumental Missa solemnis as his personal legacy. The Missa solemnis concerts at the Styriarte Festival Graz and the Salzburg Festival in summer 2015 were his last public performances. This recording of Beethoven's late masterpiece was made from material captured at the Graz concerts and rehearsals. As a result of his life-long research on Beethoven, he conducted the work for the first time with the Concentus Musicus Wien on period instruments. The Concentus is joined by the Vienna based Arnold Schoenberg Choir featuring Laura Aikin (soprano), Bernarda Fink (alto), Johannes Chum (tenor) and Ruben Drole (bass). Nikolaus Harnoncourt was born in Berlin in 1929 and grew up in Graz, Austria. He has performed and recorded Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Brahms together with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He has received numerous international awards for his work. There are nearly 500 recordings in his discography, which have been awarded all the major international Classical prizes, including a Grammy AwardŽ in 2002 for his recording of the St. Matthew Passion. In December 2015, the legendary maestro announced his retirement from performing and recording and passed away on March 5, 2016.
Sunday Times, 26th June 2016
It's not perfect - the violin solo in the Benedictus sounds scrawny - but no performance of this daunting masterpiece can be. The soloists, Laura Aikin, Bernarda Fink, Johannes Chum and Ruben Drole, blend wonderfully.
Gramophone Magazine, August 2016
This is a remarkable account of Beethoven's Missa solemnis and, in one important respect, an unusual one. For though it is in no sense lacking in drama, it is in essence a deeply devotional reading...Harnoncourt's performance has an atmosphere you might more normally expect to encounter when listening to a piece such as the FaurT Requiem.
The Guardian, 21st July 2016
Unsurprisingly for Harnoncourt, there is a sense of searching throughout the performance...it's a gentle performance overall. But Harnoncourt's masterly control of the larger structure means that within those parameters, the moments of jubilation make all their impact.
Recording information: Stephaniensaal, Graz, Austria (07/03/2015-07/05/2015).
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Works DetailsBeethoven, Ludwig van : Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123
- Performers: Laura Aikin (Soprano); Johannes Chum (Tenor); Ruben Drole (Baritone)
- Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
- Ensemble: Arnold Schoenberg Chor
- Notes: Stephaniensaal, Graz, Austria (07/03/2015-07/05/2015)
- Running Time: 9 min. 56 sec.
- Period Time: Classical
- Form: Choral
- Written: 1819-1823