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John Quinn
MusicWeb International, October 2013

This is a fine performance of Missa solemnis…overall I take a very great deal from his account of this compelling masterpiece and I think that he conveys at all times the spirit of the music, inspiring his performers to do likewise. The execution of the music is superb from all the performers…the camera direction is excellent; the shots are relevant and unobtrusive and there’s absolutely no gimmickry. The sound quality is very good.

I think anyone acquiring this DVD will be very satisfied. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Christopher Dingle
BBC Music Magazine, October 2013

BEETHOVEN, L. van: Missa Solemnis (Petersen, Kulman, Gura, Finley, Netherlands Radio Choir, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Harnoncourt) (NTSC) 712608
BEETHOVEN, L. van: Missa Solemnis (Petersen, Kulman, Gura, Finley, Netherlands Radio Choir, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Harnoncourt) (Blu-ray, HD) 712704

There are certainly many different valid ways to perform the Missa solemnis, but it’s hard to imagine they will surpass this outstanding version © 2013 BBC Music Magazine



Tim Pfaff
Bay Area Reporter, August 2013

What makes [Harnoncourt] such a sage guide to this vast tapestry of a Mass is his long familiarity not only with it but with its liturgical music predecessors Beethoven would have been delving into to set the foundation for what he knew would be one of his greatest works, if not the greatest. Harnoncourt’s got the long line of the piece, and when he interrupts the legato of its dense interweave of harmony and counterpoint with staccato phrases, they leap out at you. It’s leadership so great that the unexpected intervals that haunt this work front to back are just as surprising on this outing.

The Netherland Radio Choir is superb and focused, and the vocal soloists—soprano Marlis Petersen, mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Kuhlman, tenor Werner Guera, and bass Gerald Finley, exemplary singers in ideal ensemble—perfectly capture both the solemnity of this music and its spiritual uplift. When Petersen’s silvery voice lifts off the rapturous, endlessly unfurling solo-violin obbligato in the Benedictus, angels hover nearby.

Joost Honselaar’s camerawork is model, leading listeners to the instrumental details that conspire to make this literally splendid work in synch with the music. …Harnoncourt’s new Missa Solemnis becomes the choice recording. It’s less massive than some, but more Mass as meaningful ritual. © 2013 Bay Area Reporter Read complete review




Robert Levine
ClassicsToday.com, August 2013

I’ve rarely thought that DVDs/films of non-operatic events were valuable, but here you can see the reasoning and can appreciate the effects Harnoncourt is aiming for, and gets. With the violins split on opposite sides of the podium and the other strings fanned out in a semi-circle in front of him, he has un-muddied some of Beethoven’s thorniest counterpoint; I’m certain that other conductors have done the same, but being able to see it helps to hear it. And indeed, the clarity is evident here, and throughout Harnoncourt’s aim would appear to be to add air to what sometimes can feel suffocating. The overall effect of the Missa under Harnoncourt is one of a ceremony, one in which there are emotional outbursts that nonetheless are part of the structure and fabric. To put it more colloquially, it’s a helluva ride. © ClassicsToday.com Read complete review




Richard Lawrence
Gramophone, August 2013

BEETHOVEN, L. van: Missa Solemnis (Petersen, Kulman, Gura, Finley, Netherlands Radio Choir, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Harnoncourt) (NTSC) 712608
BEETHOVEN, L. van: Missa Solemnis (Petersen, Kulman, Gura, Finley, Netherlands Radio Choir, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Harnoncourt) (Blu-ray, HD) 712704

…there’s nothing average about Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s conducting.

And the camerawork, under the direction of Joost Honselaar, is satisfying in its sheer unobtrusiveness. The Concertgebouw Orchestra play with exemplary clarity: a beautifully blended woodwind section, noble trombones, strings that are both lean and fiery. The crescendo from the wind and horns at the introduction to ‘Qui tollis’ in the Gloria is but one instance of their responsiveness to Harnoncourt’s direction.

They [soloists] are wonderfully vehement at ‘miserere nobis’ in the Gloria and at ‘Crucifixus’ in the Credo. Gerald Finley, singing with burnished tone, has no problem with the low notes of the Agnus Dei; Werner Güra and Elisabeth Kulman are memorably strong. Above all, the way Marlis Petersen launches ‘Pleni sunt coeli’ will have you on the edge of your seat. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, June 2013

This latest performance of the mighty Missa Solemnis is edited from concerts in the Concertgebouw…Nikolaus Harnoncourt…is on home ground here in this glorious performance. Soloists are perfect, the chorus committed, and the famous orchestra gives their best. An outstanding release. © 2013 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review



Hank Zauderer
My Classical Notes, May 2013

This is a stunning performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. © 2013 My Classical Notes Read complete article





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