Texte paru dans: / Appeared in:


GRAMOPHONE (12/2023)
Pour s'abonner / Subscription information

Alia Vox

Code barres / Barcode : 8435408099561

Outil de traduction
Translator tool

Reviewer :
 Peter Quantrill


Jordi Savall’s pacing of the Missa encompasses splendour as well as vigour. It is a minute or two longer than Gardiner in each movement, and he uses this extra time profitably, most of all in the Sanctus and Praeludium, handled like a grail. Pivotal transitions turn on their axis patiently, so that the outbursts of ‘Quoniam’ and ‘Osanna’ (sung by the choir, not soloists) arrive with all the requisite brilliance. I like the bubble of down-to-earth optimism as the tempo surges forwards for ‘Et homo factus est’ before lapsing into something much nearer Beethoven’s (and his contemporaries’) operatic idiom for the ‘Crucifixus’. ‘Et resurrexit’ rather jerks into action, though the overall tempo scheme for the movement is perfectly coherent, and takes in a plausible gabbling of those doctrinal elements that reportedly discomfited the composer.


The recording takes in the piece from a fair perspective without obvious highlighting, leaning in to the spacious (five-second) acoustic of the same Catalan church used to record the nine symphonies. The advantage of this approach is that the balancing of forces is obviously Savall’s work and not the producer’s. The drawback is an occasional lack of immediacy (rather than clarity) to contrapuntal lines. Leading entries by flutes and mezzos, for example, come off second or third best in an unequal struggle against subsidiary brass punctuation and amid the general clamour of exaltation.


Vibrato and coloration of voices, solo and choral, are especially well matched with each other and with the instrumental resources. A 36-strong choir more than hold their own against a 47-strong band. At every turn, voices and instruments serve the text together: tenors and lower strings planed down to chant-like homophony at ‘Et incarnatus est’; Manuel Walser and a complementary trio of bassoonists in the Agnus, probing every corner of doubt in notes and words. The whole band becomes an organ during the Praeludium, with Savall’s direction pressing a steady foot on the swell pedal.


All these virtues combine in an exceptionally attentive account of the Agnus, dramatic and devotional by turns, which is rivalled among modern versions only by Harnoncourt’s envoi on record, my final choice for the Missa in a Collection survey (12/20). Indeed, the principal deficiency of Savall’s Beethoven project is not any of its constituent elements but that the Missa marks its conclusion where Fidelio would have made a logical next step.

Sélectionnez votre pays et votre devise en accédant au site de
Presto Classical
Livraison mondiale


Choose your country and currency
when reaching
Presto Classical
Worldwide delivery


Cliquez l'un ou l'autre bouton pour découvrir bien d'autres critiques de CD
 Click either button for many other reviews