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Beethoven: Missa Solemnis Op.123 Import


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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
One of the greatest performances of anything ever recorded Dec 30 2009
By Long-time Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Despite its vintage 1940 sound, it was this performance that finally made me feel I understood--and was moved by--this great piece. I had heard Klemperer's and other highly regarded modern recordings, but Toscanini has a special way with this that really remains unmatched by anyone (even his own earlier or later performances). Under other conductors this piece can sound episodic and directionless, simply one swelling chorus after another with not much sense of contrast between each of the movements (e.g., Klemperer). But in the Gloria, for example, Toscanini presents a thrillingly dramatic performance in which tension never lapses and all of the episodes are united into a powerful whole, from the explosive opening to the final shout of "Gloria" by the chorus, and each movement of the work also has a more distinctive character than under other conductors. Toscanini's solists--such as Jussi Bjorling--are also some of the greatest of the age. Obviously you can't expect all the detail and presence of a modern digital recording, but with a single microphone placed behind and above Toscanini, this still gives you a fairly realistic idea of what this might have sounded like live. This remastering on the Guild lable has brought out even more detail than previous reissues.

Another reviewer that previously appeared here also had this to say:

"This CD preserves a live performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis given on 28th December, 1940 in New York with Toscanini and his NBC Symphony Orchestra. And what an awe-inspiring document it is!

... I found this performance to be magnificent in every respect. While there are other ways to interpret this work, the reading here is an electrifying and inspired one with fiercely committed performances by all concerned. Toscanini's grasp of the massive score is nothing short of magisterial. Not only has he fully realised the structure of the work, every bar, and indeed every note, leaps out with total conviction as well as a sense of musical coherence and inevitability. There is a fiery intensity in the Kyrie and Gloria that can instill a sense of awe and even terror in the staunchest of hearts whereas the Sanctus possesses an abundance of warmth, compassion and humanity which so soothes the soul. This must surely rank as one of the greatest (and most convincing) Beethoven performances ever captured on record.

The vocally luminous quartet of Zinka Milanov, Bruna Castagna, Jussi Bjorling and Alexander Kipnis makes heavenly contribution, especially in the Credo and the Sanctus. Not only is each of them in fine form (which already means a lot having regard to the reputation of these master vocalists), their voices blend beautifully in ensembles and they perform as a team, each complementing the other to great musical and dramatic effect. The Westminster Choir sings with profound dedication, as if their entire life depended on the music. Their accuracy and incisiveness are marvelous (especially in view of some rather fast tempos adopted by the conductor) and their sonority most impressive. The NBC Symphony Orchestra is also on imposing form, and one can easily glean from the recording that the players have all pricked up their ears and responded to the maestro's every inflection with lightning speed and total spiritual identification."
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A "Must have" June 1 2005
By J. Skenandore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Thi carefully and painstakingly s remastered 2003 release of a live 1940 Missa Solemnia with the pure and soaring voices of Minalov, Bjorling, Castagna,and kipnis rises to the heavens. It is truly the greatest performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis as conducted by Maestro Arturo Toscanini. I cannot put this music down once I begin listening. It is incredible and most highly recommended to the discerning music lover.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Incredible performance of the Missa Solemnis April 29 2009
By Long-time listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I can only echo others who say how great this performance is. Toscanini creates a performance of great dramatic power and beauty. Under other conductors this is often a rather episodic work, but Toscanini knits all the parts together into a strongly unified whole, while giving each part a high degree of characterization and expressiveness. The 1940 sound presents a quite realistic picture of the orchestra, chorus, and singers, though obviously less detailed than a modern stereo recording. I would give the Music and Arts release of this same performance a higher rating for recording quality, however. The severe clarity of this release means that in the quieter passages you hear more detail, but the compression of the passages with full orchestra and chorus only seems to become more apparent. There are also some good single-disc releases of this, such as one on the (as I recall) Italian IDI label.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Classic Toscanni and great performance Oct. 26 2013
By David Kelly - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I really didn't know this was out there. Not this cast. Awesome soloists. Toscanni turns Beethoven into a Verdi opera.

This is a great evenings listen.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
AHHH, Beethoven! Feb. 25 2014
By SL Hernlund - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
There is nothing so pleasing as listening to the masters, of which Beethoven was one of the greatest. This selection is wonderful and Toscanini does it proud.


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