Magazine article Gramophone

JS Bach: Mass in B Minor, BWV232

Magazine article Gramophone

JS Bach: Mass in B Minor, BWV232

Article excerpt

JS Bach: [DVD]

Mass in B minor, BWV232

Christina Landshamer sop Anke Vondung mez Maximilian Schmitt ten Andreas Wolf bass-bar Bavarian Radio Chorus; Concerto Koln; Peter Dijkstra

BR-Klassik (F) [DVD] 900516 (106' * NTSC * 16:9 * DTS5.1 & PCM stereo * 0 * T) Recorded live at the St Lorenz-Kirche, Nuremberg, June 3, 2016

The filming of this B minor Mass operates under some confusion as to whether the music is there to illustrate the St Laurence Church of Nuremburg or vice versa. Showing the church roof and then a slow credit roll is no way to treat the grand opening statement of the Kyrie, and the camera looks heavenwards just when all voices and instruments are going hell for leather at the climax of the 'Cum Sancto Spiritu'.

Musical direction is handled by Peter Dijkstra, artistic director of the Bavarian Radio Choir until last year, and it's a choirmaster's sort of performance, bouncily articulated, disciplined and well-mannered to a fault, with the first-class members of Concerto Koln left largely to sleepwalk through some of the most vital counterpoint ever conceived by mind of man. Even the trumpets are subtle. The 'Osanna' fugue has rarely sounded so relaxed, or so inconsequential. The audio production is excellent, lending equal weight to strands of instrumental and choral argument so that the vital moving part of the violas in the 'Qui tollis' cuts through the texture.

The choir is slimmed down from its usual Resurrection Symphony-size to eight or so voices to a part, with an all-female alto section that has no trouble asserting itself. …

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