Mozart: Great Mass in C minor - Suzuki
Classical - Vocal
Mozart: Great Mass in C minor, Exsultate Jubilate
Carolyn Sampson (soprano)
Olivia Vermeulen (alto)
Makoto Sakurada (tenor)
Christian Immler (bass)
Bach Collegium Japan
Masaaki Suzuki (conductor)
Review by John Broggio - February 23, 2017
A review of this music from these forces is almost superfluous but here goes...
After the success of tackling Mozart's Requiem (in another new performing edition, Mozart: Requiem - Suzuki), Masaaki Suzuki turns his welcome attention to Mozart's Mass in C minor. The forces involved are the same apart from Olivia Vermeulen taking the mezzo-soprano role instead of Marianne Beate Kielland: Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Makoto Sakurada (tenor) & Christian Immler (baritone) once again join the Bach Collegium Japan.
If anything, these performances are more involving than their earlier Bach Cantata cycle and Mozart's Requiem. All the utterances are almost unbearably direct from all concerned and gain from the transparency of textures afforded by employing period instruments and a varied use of vibrato (so that it is a genuinely expressive performance device, not a permanent gloss). The dynamic range of the BCJ is a joy to the ear and shocks the listener as surely intended at key moments in the text: a particularly fine example is the closing pages of Qui tollis peccata mundi. The solo vocal quartet then prove how well the sing together and individually in Quoniam tu solus sanctus; at once blended but distinctive threads of fugal glory. Suzuki's pacing is in the "Goldilocks zone" - neither too sluggish nor harrying the music - and audibly relishes the many fugal movements of this great work, leading to glorious conclusions of each but also the Mass as a whole.
Special mention needs to go to Carolyn Sampson for, apart from taking two large solos in the Mass (Laudamus te & Et incarnatus est), she delivers a glorious account of Exsultate, Jubilate as an "encore" with two variants of the opening movement (with an encore of the encore of a revised text and flutes taking the place of oboes in the first movement, somewhat softening the majestic mood). As in the the Mass, Sampson is in radiant voice and makes light of the tremendous demands placed upon her voice by Mozart's devine compositions. Not just in the outer allegro movements but the more reflective & poetic side of this music in the central Tu virginum corona is fully conveyed but all concerned.
With such high quality music making, one seeks the highest of technical standards & fortunately the engineering team deliver just that in a wonderful acoustic (Saitama Arts Theater, Concert Hall, Japan). The usual high quality, informative notes in the booklet complete an exemplary release from BIS - high recommended indeed.
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