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Paul L Althouse
American Record Guide, March 2014

Both works are quite well done.

The soloists, six altogether, are all good…The Arnold Schoenberg Choir is excellent in every respect, and the orchestra sounds fine. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Matthew Richard Martinez, December 2013

SCHUBERT, F.: Mass No. 6, D. 950 / MOZART, W.A.: Missa solemnis in C Minor, `Waisenhausmesse` (Abbado) (Salzburg Festival, 2012) (NTSC) ACC-20261
SCHUBERT, F.: Mass No. 6, D. 950 / MOZART, W.A.: Missa solemnis in C Minor, `Waisenhausmesse` (Abbado) (Salzburg Festival, 2012) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) ACC-10261

This enticing release captures a most momentous occasion: Claudio Abbado’s return to the Salzburg Festival after a 10 year absence. Combined with the impeccable Arnold Schoenberg Choir, the single performance, captured live here, bubbles with occasion but soars with inspired musicality.

Among the most impressive aspects of this performance is the balance Abbado achieves between expressivity and historically-informed performance practice. The relatively small forces achieve a chamber-like ensemble, not just across the orchestra, but between orchestra, chorus, and soloists. Phrasing is uniform across the groups and the results are breathtaking. These two works are performed with the utmost attention to textual detail and rhetorical flow.

Combined with the Orchestra Mozart, the beauty of the total sound is stunning. Strings are liquid, supremely legato while maintaining a warm straight tone. The interplay between the woodwinds and chorus is breathtakingly taught, particularly in the Schubert. The soloists are all quite satisfactory, with soprano Roberta Invernizzi leading the way in the Schubert with sumptuous tone. Tenor Javier Camarena sings here with an expressive quality…Soprano Rachel Harnisch contributes wonderfully in the Mozart with a sparkling and agile voice. Alto Sarah Mingardo has an earthly but fresh voice and Alex Exposito a youthful, sonorous bass. Tenor Paolo Fanale has a dark hue which provides a wonderful contrast to Camarena in the Schubert.

Picture quality is outstanding with some of the finest contrasts I’ve seen in a live concert picture. Camera work is outstanding and interestingly done…the surround sound is very detailed and the transparency of the ensemble is pristinely captured on a packed soundstage.

In the end, it is Abbado who shines through. Never a conductor to make a show about himself, he conducts from memory with earnest gestures that result in a spontaneous flow to the music. Some of the tempi in the Schubert, particularly the “Gloria,” are on the slow side, but the expressively of the results are beyond reproach. Abbado’s innate musicality and sheer joy of music making inspire his musicians to give a spectacular performance—highly recommended. © 2013 Read complete review

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