program notes Archive

BEETHOVEN: Missa solemnis in D – Soloists/ Arnold Schoenberg Chor /Concentus Musicus Wien /Nicholas Harnoncourt ‒ Sony

BEETHOVEN: Missa solemnis in D – Soloists/ Arnold Schoenberg Chor /Concentus Musicus Wien /Nicholas Harnoncourt ‒ Sony

BEETHOVEN: Missa solemnis in D Major, Op. 123 ‒ Laura Aikin, sop./ Bernarda Fink, alto / Johannes Chum, tenor/ Ruben Drole, bass/ Arnold Schoenberg Chor /Concentus Musicus Wien /Nicholas Harnoncourt ‒ Sony 88985313592, 81:00 (7/15/16) ***1/2: Harnoncourt was a great Beethoven conductor, but his final recording is not entirely successful. Did you know that Beethoven notated over thirty different tempo markings in his Missa solemnis? Neither did I. That’s just one of the wonderful bits of information you can glean if you take time to read the program notes that come along with recordings. Another interesting fact is that Nicholas Harnoncourt’s first seven performances of the Missa solemnis were delivered not from the podium but from a chair in the cello section of the Vienna Symphony. Apparently, none of these performances seemed to capture the essence of the work for him. Indeed, only as he prepared for his own first performance of the work as conductor, in 1988, did he fully come to terms with Beethoven’s difficult masterpiece. Harnoncourt wrote about the experience, “All that had seemed to me to be empty bathos suddenly turned into the opposite.” Empty bathos? Wow! Those seven prior performances not only left him with […]