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A masterful recording to luxuriate to.
Composer: Schubert, Gounod
Repertoire: Mass in G major (Schubert); Saint Cecilia Mass (Gounod)
Artist: Luba Orgonášová (sop), Christian Elsner (ten), Gustáv Beláček (bass); Bavarian Radio Symphony Choir and Orchestra/Mariss Jansons
Label: BR KLASSIK 900114
The Music: Schubert made his mark in Vienna as a teenager with a mass for choir and symphony orchestra. The young composer completed his Second Mass in G major in 1815, crafted as a lyrical offering to the congregation of his home parish church.
The Performance: Although Mariss Jansons deploys a substantial orchestra in Schubert’s Mass, the conductor tames its power to favour tonal depth and richness. The approach provides a sumptuous foundation for the work of the Bavarian Radio Choir and a splendid solo team. While I prefer chamber-scale performances of the work, Jansons’ refined phrasing and lyrical sensibilities ensure that the music flows with effortless freedom and grace: listen, for example, to the opening of the Credo, with its elegantly crafted choral articulation and expressive ebb and flow.
The Verdict: The ravishing beauty of the choral and orchestral sound and Jansons’ clear belief in every bar of the piece deliver unalloyed pleasure. Fire up your music system and wallow in this majestic live performance.