Related Reviews
The Consort
"...the beauty alone of many of the solo numbers would make it worth buying."
more >>
ClassiqueInfo Disque
'La qualité de l’orchestre, notamment est étonnante et...Les tempos sont toujours justes, les soli d’une justesse miraculeuse...'
more >>
Toccata-Alte Musik Aktuell
"...eröffnet ein Feuerwerk an Klangfarben..."
more >>
SoundStageExperience.com
"Great sound and great performance in one recording. That's rare."
more >>
ClassicalNet
...this account is full of expression and articulations of the divine...the choral singing is uniformly uplifting
more >>
Concerto Das Magazin fur Alte Musik
"Und emfehlen kann man diese Aufnahme uneingeschränkt: Die Arien sind ebenso ansprechend geraten wie die teils mit, teils ohne die Ripienostimmen gesungenen Chöre; das Instrumentalspiel ist vom Feinsten."
more >>
Musik an sich...
"...die reicher instrumentierten, konzertanten Sätze..."
more >>
Early Music Review
"There have been many recordings...but in my opinion the Dunedin is the first to come anywhere near challenging it."
more >>
Audio Video Club of Atlanta
"This recording will provide abundant pleasure to Bach lovers..."
more >>
Early Music Review (Live)
"Every now and then there is a concert that just blows me away..."
more >>
Klassik.com
4½ Stars
"...Diese Einspielung sollte..."
more >>
The Guardian
4 Stars
"...this is a fascinating and hugely rewarding account..."
more >>
ClassicsTodayFrance.com
4½ Stars
"Fervente, parce que l'expression est très étudiée et travaillée."
more >>
Classic FM Magazine
4½ Stars
"The awe-inspiring intricacy of Bach's part-writing has been wonderfully magnified..."
more >>
BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
No performance could better justify small-scale Bach than this convincing marriage of scholarship and inspiration.
more >>
Gramophone
Editor's Choice: "This performance demands to be heard."
more >>
Sunday Herald
"...this B minor Mass is special."
more >>
Audiophile Audition
5 Stars
"...there is much to recommend here, and no one purchasing will be disappointed."
more >>
Sunday Times
"[The] performance is powerful and beautifully shaped..."
more >>
North London News
"Sharp, pointed playing and singing in a recording that is a hallmark for authenticity in Bach performance."
more >>
The Times
4 Stars
"Surely no other recording of Bach's B Minor Mass bounces along with such joy as this..."
more >>
Sound and Music
"...una delle novità più interessanti della discografia bachiana degli ultimi anni."
more >>
Independent on Sunday
"Bach's B-minor Mass has many attractive features..."
more >>
Financial Times
"The result is clean..."
more >>
International Record Review
"...spine-tingling..."
more >>
Philadelphia Enquirer
"...radiant vocal timbres and airtight blends."
more >>
Opus Musica
"Se obtiene una evidente claridad de texturas y se gana en ligereza y flexibilidad..."
more >>
BBC Online
"...lovers of this great work will find much to appreciate - and even discover anew."
more >>
ClassicsToday.com
4½ Stars
"...you can really lose yourself in this performance..."
more >>
The Observer
"A definitive recording."
more >>
Musical Pointers (Live)
"A very distinguished production..."
more >>
Rondo
4 Stars
"Interpretatorisch gibt es sehr viel Schönes in dieser Neueinspielung..."
more >>

Bach Mass in B Minor - Dunedin Consort - McAlister Matheson


07 June 2010
McAlister Matheson
Ann McAlister

For the Dunedin Consort's latest recording, director John Butt has opted to use Joshua Rifkin's 2006 Breitkopf & Härtel edition of Bach's Mass in B Minor. It is the first fully scholarly edition of the Mass as Bach left it on his death, with subsequent ‘improvements' (mostly by CPE Bach) removed, and taking account of various refinements that Bach is known to have made that, for various reasons, never reached his own score. This is the first recording to be made using this edition, and John Butt's booklet essay is a fascinating synopsis of the evolution of Bach's most spectacular choral work, drawing on Butt's own encyclopaedic knowledge of Bach's output, followed by a summary of the issues surrounding performance practice. The actual number of singers Bach might have used is discussed, particularly in relation to the doubling of vocal lines; Butt makes the point that Bach may have been more casual about this issue than many of today's scholars! The end result is a performance involving tens singers, with the basic one-to-a-part chorus doubled at strategic points by ripienists. As Butt points out, the effect of the doubling is this recording is an increase in sonority rather than volume. Any doubts that the use of smaller vocal forces might result in an under-nourished performance are swept away within the first few seconds. Clever balancing of the voices with the instrumentalists means that all parts are heard clearly; moreover, the singers' interpretation enhances the listener's sense of involvement. The singers do not have to be accommodated by means of employing faster tempi - indeed, the opening Kyrie and the Gratias were slower than I expected. However, an undeniable advantage conferred by smaller numbers is the degree of incisiveness and sense of uplift achieved in sections such as the Cum Sancto Spiritu at the end of the Gloria. In the Credo it would be difficult to imagine a more vibrant Et resurrexit - punchy, hard-edged singing, trumpets almost screaming, timpani thwacked mightily, all physical resources being flung into the music. The moments of repose are sweet - try Thomas Hobbs' tranquil Benedictus, or the ravishing flute-playing and singing (Hobbs again, with Susan Hamilton) in the Domine Deus. Matthew Brook manages to be both laudatory and expressive in the Quoniam tu solus sanctus, and second soprano Cecilia Osmond is a very good match tonally with Hamilton. But the discovery of the disc for me was Austrian alto Margot Oitzinger, her voice clear and flexible with a lovely bloom. Her solos (the Qui sedes and Agnus Dei) are gravely beautiful, while in the choruses her part shines through without disturbing the overall balance. This recording deserves a place in everyone's CD collection.
Bookmark and Share


Related Links

Dunedin ConsortDunedin Consort
J.S. Bach Mass in B Minor - Breitkopf & Härtel Edition, edited by J. Rifkin (2006)J.S. Bach Mass in B Minor - Breitkopf & Härtel Edition, edited by J. Rifkin (2006)