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  Naxos -
  6.110102-03 (2 discs)
  Bach: Mass in B minor - Müller-Brühl
  Bach: Mass in B minor BWV 232

Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo-soprano)
Ann Hallenberg (mezzo-soprano)
Sunhae Im (soprano)
Hanno Muller-Brachmann (bass-baritone)
Markus Schafer (tenor)
Dresden Chamber Choir
Cologne Chamber Orchestra
Helmut Müller-Brühl (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Vocal
Recording type:
Recording info:
  Recorded by Deutschlandfunk, Sendesaal Köln, in November 2003
Producer: Ludwig Rink
Balance engineer: Stephan Schmidt
Assistant engineers: Ernst Hartmann and Hans Martin Renz

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Related titles: 2

Reviews: 1

Review by synthy June 12, 2005 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
This new B-minor mass has a lot to offer, and comes up just shy of being a perfectly satisfying experience.

Performance: Generally excellent. The conductor does an excellent job of keeping the pace right, and it’s obvious that the orchestra, choir, and conductor are in good communication throughout, making transitions and dynamic changes uniformly. The Dresden Chamber Choir really shines through as superb, and the Cologne Chamber Orchestra plays on modern instruments “to meet the needs of modern concert halls.” According to the booklet, the orchestra played on period instruments from 1976 to 1987, and as an amazon uk reviewer accurately pointed out, the orchestra still plays with a historical performance-practice. The soloists are also generally good, although I find soprano Sunhae Im a little bothersome with her rapid vibrato. She is clearly opera-influenced, a little less pure-voiced than current baroque sopranos from, say, Concerto Italiano or the King’s Consort. It’s purely a matter of taste however, and she sings very well overall. Another side note, this recording doesn’t have a harpsichord in it. Compared to Gardiner’s 1980s B-minor Mass (arguably the de facto standard), this performance is slightly less energetic, however has a bit more “flow” and consistency to it.

Sound: The surround program is very well imaged, fully enveloping and sumptuous and one can really “feel” the concert hall. The soloists are well recorded without overly excessive spotlighting. I feel the recording is a little “murky,” though. The trumpets sound a little muffled, and the choir sometimes gets smothered in loud sections, losing clarity. Stereo is pretty much the same story. The recording was also mastered at a very low level, so you’ll have to turn things up quite a bit. I got a bit shocked when I switched to Gardiner’s B-minor Mass redbook CD and almost got blown off my couch by the change in loudness, and the increase in clarity. Gardiner’s is a little dry and bright, but still sounds fantastic.

The Gardiner version will remain my favorite, and I’ll still listen to that more often, despite being a low-res recording. This, however, provides a nice alternative in sound and style, and is definitely a keeper

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Works: 1  

Johann Sebastian Bach - Mass in B minor, BWV 232