BBC Music Magazine Hails "Missa Solemnis" DVD as "Magnificent"

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Soli Deo Gloria's release of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis DVD has received high praise from the distinguished BBC Music Magazine.  In the March 2012 issue, reviewer Michael Tanner declares it "the most impressive I have ever heard."

BEETHOVEN
Missa Solemnis
John Nelson, conductor
Tamara Wilson, soprano
Elizabeth DeShong, alto
Nikolai Schukoff, tenor
Brindley Sherratt, bass
Gulbenkian Choir
Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Filmed live in the Grand Auditorium of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal, February 2010, by Idéale Audience. Directed by Rhodri Huw.


“A Monumental Vision”

Michael Tanner hails a magnificent Beethoven Missa Solemnis

For me the Missa Solemnis is Beethoven’s most forbidding and difficult work, the one I am most conscious of not being able to rise to. I suspect that the performances and recordings I have most enjoyed have been slightly mellower than the composer intended. No one could say that of this recording, made in 2010, and I think the most impressive I have ever heard, though Colin Davis’s at the Proms last year was in this class. The Chamber Orchestra of Europe plays magnificently, never tiring. And the same goes for the chorus, a professional body, all of whose members have other jobs in the day, but meet each evening to sing. They are fearless, as they need to be. They not only cope with Beethoven’s often absurd demands, they seem to exult in them, though they don’t forget to impart that sense of effortfulness which is so large an element in the score. The soloists are placed behind the orchestra, because as John Nelson explains in an exceptionally helpful interview in the extras, they are not in fact soloists but a quartet—though I must mention that the tenor, Nikolai Schukoff, is outstanding.

John Nelson, of whom we in the UK see and hear very little, clearly has the measure, as much as anyone, of this score, and succeeds in conveying the urgency of his view with gestures and expressions that are eloquent and undemonstrative. It seems unlikely that Beethoven’s vision in this work will ever be more completely captured.

PERFORMANCE  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

PICTURE & SOUND ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

EXTRAS ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Michael Tanner, DVD Choice, BBC Music Magazine, March 2012. Reprinted by permission of BBC Music Magazine.

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