The Collegium Vocale Gent and Orchestre des Champs-Elysées interpret Beethoven's Missa Solemnis for PHI. This major work of the sacred repertoire, high on the list alongside Bach's Mass in B minor and the Mozart Requiem, is Beethoven's longest work and assuredly the one that demanded the most work. The composer even considered the Mass his finest work.
Beethoven had little liking for organised religion, but he was deeply spiritual, believing in God as an all-powerful, loving Father. The awesome, sublime Missa Solemnis is one of his supreme achievements, which he headed ‘From the heart – may it in turn go to the heart!’ In this live concert recording, the fervour of Beethoven’s vision is powerfully realised by conductor Christoph Eschenbach with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir.
Beethoven's Missa Solemnis was performed on 13 and 14 February, 2010 at the traditional memorial concert to commemorate the bombardement of Dresden during the last weeks of World War II. Under Christian Thielemann, the Staatskapelle Dresden proved itself exeptionally qualified to master this work´s magnificent challenges. Thielemann “conjured up the gigantic cosmos of the Missa with such lightness and grace that its mystery seemed to reveal itself”, wrote the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
"Leonard Bernstein succeeded superbly in conveying his own intellectually ferocious vision of what the Missa solemnis truly signifies. His 1978 Concertgebouw performance is one of the greatest utterances of Bernstein's Indian summer on the Yellow Label." (Classics Today.com)
Karajan surmounted this pinnacle of the choral-symphonic repertoire - which Beethoven himself called "the greatest work I have composed" - no fewer than four times in the recording studio, but only once live and on film: in this unique document from the 1979 Salzburg Easter Festival. The atmosphere of Salzburg's Festspielhaus and festival audience adds a special frisson to this conductor's classic interpretation of the Missa solemnis.