Having made the acquaintance of Maestro Bosch in the Brahms SACD I just reviewed, I was looking forward to the Mozart with great expectations. By and large, the performances are excellent—not top of the line, and hardly best-ever, but more than serviceable, and good enough to convince me that he has some outstanding Mozartian credentials. The tempos are on the speedy side, but no more so than many traditionally-inclined conductors, and his sense of pacing and drama are first rate.
But these issues were recorded in two different settings, and the “Coronation” Mass suffers the most. I simply cannot hear a distinct and clearly enunciated soprano line, and the chorus, while certainly more than capable, sound diffuse and inarticulate, a problem I believe we can lay squarely at the feet of the engineers. What might have been an otherwise exciting performance drowns in a sea of blurred sonics, and even stereo alone doesn’t help much.
The Vesperae fares much better; I can hear much better diction and clarity in the line, both in the chorus and in the soloists (who sound better than the chorus in the “Coronation”). It is a stylish reading, completely persuasive, and of what we might term “old school”, which is fine with me. Unfortunately, there are so many great recordings of this music that a new recording has to be simply outstanding to register, and while this one is worthy of a hearing, it does not compete with the greats if the past. I will take only one conductor, Colin Davis, as an example. His readings of both these great works (the “Coronation” on Philips, and the Vesperae on DGG) are among the finest ever made, and his soloists, the likes of Kiri Te Kanawa and Helen Donath, are tough to top.
I could have done with something besides the over-recorded Exultate, Jubilate, and every great soprano who ever lived, and some not so great, has recorded it. This one cannot compete, though it is fine in and of itself.
So three stars for the performances, but the sound dissuades me from offering a general recommendation in lieu of the previously-recorded legacy.
— Steven Ritter