Mass in B minor BWV 232
Conducted by Paul McCreesh
Not recorded yet.
A Live MBM From McCreesh Review
Sw Anandgyan wrote (May 23, 2005):
B minor Mass
**** Christchurch, Spitalfields, London
Thursday May 19, 2005
Paul McCreesh's approach to Bach's last major choral work is about as far removed as possible from traditional heavyweight performances of the B minor Mass, and distinctly different from the approach of many of his period-instrument peers as well. For this superbly energised account, the Gabrieli Consort consisted of just 10 singers, divided equally into a ripieno, which provided the soloists, and a consort, which joined in for the large-scale numbers. The orchestra was just over twice that size. This
minimalist approach produced gains in equality between voices and orchestras, and marvellous clarity in the contrapuntal writing. It also enabled McCreesh to adopt tempi that would have had a larger choir tied in knots.
In one sense, though, the forces used to realise this work are irrelevant because the mass is a piece about possibilities far more than practicalities - designed not for performance so much as a thesaurus of the techniques available to composers of liturgical music at the mid-point of the 18th century. It's much more than that too, of course, but McCreesh was as concerned with it's the mechanics as with the
spirituality, and not at all with any evangelical piety.
With textures so spare, there were no hiding places, but then the members of the Gabrieli Consort hardly need them. The sound was lithe and full of detail; the
singing was always a tapestry of individually coloured vocal strands rather than a homogenised mass, and lines could be followed in even the densest passages.
It wasn't the kind of performance to spotlight star soloists either, but all five of them - sopranos Mhairi Lawson and Renata Pokupic, alto Diana Moore, tenor Charles Daniels and bass Peter Harvey - had their moments, often in partnership with some dazzling instrumental playing: the horn in Quoniam Tu Solus Sanctus in the Gloria, the two oboes d'amore at Et Spiritum Sanctum in the Credo and the flute hovering
around the tenor in the Benedictus were all outstanding.
Bob Henderson wrote (May 24, 2005):
[To Sw Anandgyan] Thanks Anangyan for the review. Since I like his SMP more and more I have been wondering about a MBM from him along the same lines. Nothing in the review about the organ, however. I wonder if he used the "big" church organ as he does in the SMP. Look forward to the CD. On my system lately are a number of reissues on CD of LPs I had loved as a young man: all strongly recommended and all in boxed sets:
Berlioz: Charle Munch
Wagner Orchestral, a memorial album: Klemperer
Brahms: Four Symphonys: Klemperer
John Pike wrote (May 24, 2005):
[To Sw Anandgyan] Wish I could have been there. Sounds like an evening in paradise.
John Pike wrote (May 24, 2005):
[To Bob Henderson] I am not aware that McCreesh has recorded the MBM yet. Anyone know of any plans to? Or has he already done it?
Sw Anandgyan wrote (May 24, 2005):
[To John Pike] As far as I know, there's no mention that there's a recording of the B minor mass from McCreesh on its way.
I'm 'looking forward' it too ...
...just as much as the one from Suzuki and the one, planned, from Bernius.
Paul McCreesh: Short Biography | Gabrieli Consort & Players | Recordings | General Discussions
Individual Recordings: Epiphany Mass - McCreesh | BWV 232 - McCreesh | BWV 243 & BWV 249 - McCreesh | BWV 244 - McCreesh | BWV 245 - McCreesh