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Bach: Mass in B Minor


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Disc: 1
1. Kyrie: Kyrie eleison
2. Christe eleison
3. Kyrie eleison
4. Gloria: Gloria in excelsis
5. Et in terra pax
6. Laudamus te
7. Gratias agimus tibi
8. Domine Deus
9. Qui tollis peccata mundi
10. Qui sedes ad dextram patris
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Credo: Credo in unum Deum
2. Patrem omnipotentem
3. Et in unum Dominum
4. Et incarnatus est
5. Crucifixus
6. Et resurrexit
7. Et in spiritum sanctum Dominum
8. Confiteor
9. Et expecto
10. Sanctus
See all 15 tracks on this disc

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Fresh, Exciting, OVPP March 31 2009
By R. Gerard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It seems as though Joshua Rifkin's theory that Bach performed his choral works with one voice per part (OVPP) has been cemented in standard repertoire. This release is likely to be ranked among historically informed, though not OVPP, recordings generally regarded as gold standards: Gardiner and Herreweghe.

What sets this set apart from the rest is not simply it's use of OVPP (indeed, it's been done before: the very first OVPP Bach recording was Rifkin's B-Minor Mass, followed by Andrew Parrott, then Cantus Colln), but because the singers in Minkowski's consort have the ability to sing as a unit and as soloists. The fatal flaw on many OVPP recordings (McCreesh's St. Matthew Passion included) is the tendency to use singers who function well only as a soloist or part of the ensemble. Minkowski has chosen well-known singers, yet pays close attention to how well they blend together as a unit, while as soloists, they express with the most hearfelt devotion and understanding the text they are singing.

This is Minkowski's first recording of Bach, and what a spectacular debut! He's proven himself a competent Handelian, brilliant conductor of Rameau, and I can only hope he offers more Bach in the near future (a new St. Matthew or St. John Passion perhaps?)

As for the conducting itself, Minkowski is not one who is known for moderate tempi. The tempi here are brisk, but for some reason they do not seem rushed. They seem exciting. Compare for instance the opening chorus of the "Gloria," and how differently Konrad Junghanel and Marc Minkowski bring out the colors at relatively fast speeds. Many might criticize Junghanel (an excellent conductor nonetheless) of rushing and making the chorus seem underpowered and anemic, while Minkowski's never loses its majesty, forward momentum, and almost dancelike quality.

Like in Herreweghe's recording, Minkowski's basso continuo has real PRESENCE. A must for any concerted work of Baroque repetoire, the basso continuo line must have presence and the performers must be able to be creative- to improvise their parts with impressive originality. Such efforts have been made in the astonishing opera recordings by Rene Jacobs, and one would wish for the same efforts to be applied to religious music- and Minkowski has done it. Minkowski plays with the cello/bass accompaniment in the continuo a bit to a achieve a greater sense of variety and drama within the choruses, for example, in the Dona Nobis and Pleni Sunt Coeli fugues.

One could not wish for better soloists, and this is indeed the key to a good OVPP record. Special mention goes to bass Christian Immler and Nathalie Stutzmann, whose Agnus Dei is one of the most stunning I've heard.

It is easily one of my new favorites in the Bach discography, and no serious collector of 'the father of modern music' should be without it.
Excellent Jan. 12 2015
By enthusiast - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
(This review is from January 2010)

I have been looking for a while for a B minor Mass to complement Gardiner's set. Gardiner's set has always seemed to be to be particularly successful but almost too much so ... doesn't it sound just a little bit slick? Where is the heart and individuality? This Minkowski version is what I was looking for as an alternative. It is fresh, beautiful, alive and moving. The solo singers sing beautifully and with real conviction. The small choir and orchestra are also excellent and perform this great masterpiece as something fresh and exciting. The recording is beautifully clear.

The question of whether the B minor Mass needs a full choir or not does not interest me very much because I was actually looking for an alternative. However, on the basis of this (Minkowski) account, I am more convinced than previously by the argument for much smaller forces even in this very "choral" work. Minkowski's account is a fully convincing and involving one and even if it doesn't fully remove memories of the glories of a good choir - surely the real strength of Gardiner's recording - it is an alternative par excellence. But the strengths of Minkowski, the imagination and involvement of all (and especially the soloists), have pinpointed for me the weaknesses in the Gardiner account.

So Minkowski's Mass is a great alternative but I am now less convinced about Gardiner's claim to being the first choice or "default recommendation".
11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Bravo Minkowski...! March 31 2009
By dalmatian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The above review has said all I wanted to say...the most exciting and moving recording of Bach's eternal masterpiece I have heard in a long time!
10 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Best of the best Dec 28 2009
By L. Polgar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Don't even think about it: BUY THIS RECORDING TODAY! Truly amazing. The most beautiful music by Bach and a triumph for the music world.


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