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Philippe Herreweghe / Collegium Vocale
Bach: Mass in B minor

Originally recorded in 1988, this was one of the recordings that made historical performance practice the mainstream when it came to Bach's major choral works. Every moment of the mass was thought through anew, every bit of conventional piety purged. Major B minor mass recordings in the following years have developed one aspect or another further than conductor Philippe Herreweghe does here; Masaaki Suzuki's Bach Collegium Japan chisels out the counterpoint in greater detail, and for grand reverential warmth there's always John Eliot Gardiner. But for a constant sense of wonder that makes even the larger harmonic structure of the mass seem surprising as it unfolds -- for a real sense of a group responding not only to a conductor's control but to his artistic vision -- this reading by Herreweghe and his Collegium Vocale Ghent remains unexcelled. Herreweghe returned to the Mass in B minor in 2000; that later recording features soloists who are sublime (Véronique Gens, Andreas Scholl) rather than merely good, but it does not exceed the marvelous freshness of this release, which is holding up well close to a quarter century later. This can't be beat. The recording was also a milestone in its engineering technique; the choir and soloists sound natural and clear in the Ghent church where they were recorded. Basic booklet notes are provided in English, German, and French.

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  • Seller location: Lower Hutt City, Wellington, NZ

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