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Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, March 2014

In this great spaciousness Harnoncourt…brings about one of the most intimate readings I have ever heard, doing all he can to stay out of the way of the music, and even seeming to let the players themselves dictate much of the tone. It works well, and I doubt anyone but Harnoncourt could have managed such a feat. I enjoyed it greatly…

The camera work is very good, non-obtrusive, and the sound is terrific… © 2014 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, December 2013

I reviewed a number of DVDs and Blu-rays this year, but nothing that moved me as much as Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s wonderful performance of the Missa Solemnis. Harnoncourt combined period practice with modern resources and four world-class soloists, resulting in a truly spiritual experience. Both video and audio leave nothing to be desired, either. © 2013 MusicWeb International

James A. Altena
Fanfare, November 2013

The vocal quartet is among the strongest ever assembled for a recording of this work…Elisabeth Kulman is a fine new young alto…Werner Güra is excellent in the tenor part…it is attractive and he sings with sound technique and intelligence…the extraordinary Gerald Finley hardly needs me to sing his praises…He is one of the very greatest vocal artists of our time…

The recorded sound displays the marvelous acoustics of the Concertgebouw; the film quality has the usual sharp resolution and rich colors of the Blu-ray technology. The camerawork is unusually fine, almost always finding exactly the right person or group on which to focus and not jumping about from one shot to another every two seconds… © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, October 2013

Watching and listening to this blu-ray moved me immensely. I expected nothing less from the wonderful orchestra, but the choir surpassed my expectations. What a beautifully blended sound they make and nowhere more so than in the “dona nobis pacem” refrains. Absolutely spine-tingling moments! The four well-matched soloists are superb both in their individual solos and as a group—less operatic than some others I’ve heard, including Bernstein’s, and all the better for it.

Visually, the production is also a success. The camerawork is some of the best I have seen in such concert videos. No section of the choir or orchestra has been slighted. When there is a solo the camera usually focuses on the soloist, whether vocalist or instrumentalist. There are several shots of the performers as a whole and more of Harnoncourt conducting, but those are not overdone. The video director, Joost Honselaar, deserves much credit for this production.

Technically, the blu-ray video is first-rate both in sharpness and colour and the sound also leaves nothing to be desired. I listened to the disc separately on my stereo equipment without video and was impressed with the quality—as to dynamic range, depth of sound, and clarity.

In sum, there are many well-known and highly respected performances of Beethoven’s choral masterpiece available on CD, including Harnoncourt’s earlier performance, but I cannot imagine any surpassing this new one especially when it comes to the visual medium. As video and audio this represents state of the art. © 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

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

Lawrence D. Devoe, MD, June 2013

Two years ago I had the wonderful experience of reviewing the Missa Solemnis, conducted by Christian Thielemann, his Dresden Staatskapelle Orchestra, and four outstanding soloists. I was so taken by this Blu-ray recording (with its 96kHz/24-bit sound) that I awarded it a rarely given 5-disc rating. The current performance with an equally strong quartet and chorus and one of the best Beethoven ensembles on the planet receives a very personal, often introspective reading from Harnoncourt. Although the running time is nearly the same, there is a greater sense of gravitas and a slower, more reverential pace. From a sight and sound perspective, this Missa is certainly the equal of its predecessor, and, its overall effect as moving. A true masterpiece can receive different treatments, each capable of effectively conveying the composer’s intent. This is certainly the case with the present disc. If asked to pick one performance over the other, I would be hard-pressed to declare a winner. In both instances, the audiences are held in rapt silence at the piece’s conclusion, a sign that the ultimate message of life, death, and resurrection has been delivered. This is another 5-disc winner and, alongside its predecessor, should be in the library of all true music lovers. © 2013 Read complete review

Jeffrey Kauffman, June 2013

Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra offer a resplendent accounting of Beethoven’s immortal score. It…offers some lustrous solos from Marlis Petersen, Elisabeth Kulman, Werner Gura and Gerald Finley. Harnoncourt nicely traces the architecture of the piece while delivering some spectacular climaxes along the way. The RCO plays with its typical splendor, with the really incredible brass section sounding especially luscious in this performance.

This is generally a very sharp and nice looking high definition presentation…

This Missa Solemnis…[is] hugely enjoyable. Harnoncourt delivers a solid, often moving, performance that shows off the RCO in excellent light, and which also features some superior vocalizing by the Netherlands Radio Choir and some stellar soloists. Recommended. © 2013 Read complete review

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