This is the second disc of motets that I have reviewed in as many months. The first was a Hyperion release of his titanic Mass in E minor, with the motets as filler. That is a fine release, and I stand by my comments about it. But here we have all motets, including every single one found on the Hyperion, plus many more, and in stunning surround sound! What to do! Listen, listen, listen…
It was a pleasure of an unexpected sort spending two or three hours listening to this music. Far from inducing any sort of slumbering (as I had expected, because of the similarity of the type of music), this proved a remarkably exhilarating experience. The reason may be because of the varied instrumentation—trombones and organ may not seem like much of an addition, but believe me, when Bruckner writes for them you know the difference! Much of the music assumes orchestral proportions, and though it still strikes one as mainly meditative music, the beauties just keep on coming, and one comes away from the occurrence feeling spiritually nourished and even cleansed. Going back to the everyday chores of life seems even more of an intrusion.
The surround spread is wonderful, and the acoustics of the Husuv Church in Olomouc, Czech Republic are managed with great skill and understanding, though I find it somewhat amusing that Bruckner’s music (a Catholic) is recorded in a Hussite church. Never mind—they can record anything they want if the results are as fine as they are here. This program might not interest everyone, and even Bruckner fans might not know a lot of this music. But they won’t be sorry if they try.
— Steven Ritter
[This is one of many “2+2+2” releases from MD&G on both SACD and DVD-A. They feel that for music in surround the center and subwoofer channels are not important, and instead they use those two channels for left and right height mics/speakers high above the front left and right speakers. The signals are compatible in standard 5.1 playback. We will shortly be featuring some feature review articles covering the 2+2+2 system and most of the discs using this alternative approach – which works well but takes some effort to set up…Ed.]