Ludwig van Beethoven
Opus 123, Missa Solemnis
Helmuth Rilling, conductor
Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
Angela Denoke- soprano, Michelle DeYoung- mezzo
Stephen Gould- tenor, Alexander Vinogradov- bass baritone
January 20th, 2005
Symphony Center, Chicago, Il
Always having been drawn to this strangely unpopular Beethoven architectural myriad, I think this performance gives it due brawn, impetus, restraint and balance.
The start is such a hustle. You think "oh, another one of the missa solemnis perfs," and settle in for a snooze. Then, Helmuth nudges the accelerator by the barest hint, bringing it into 'wide awake and playing for keeps' territory. His command over the orchestra is Mengerbergian at moments. While backing the solists in the Kyrie he keeps injecting just enough storyline details to make it hard to lose attention, and that sets the standard throughout.
Listening in the wee hours of the dark, I heard an incredible treatment of my favorite episode in the Missa, the "war interruption", always about eight and a half minutes into the ending movement. Here, even upon a repeat listening to it in the light of day (and with the fancy HD590 cans on), the set piece was intact: a far off hint of the change to come in the Agnus Dei.
Then the clear, rude drumblasts, held off by increasingly fervent spasms of focused yelling, the apparent understanding and cooperation of the martial elements, then, a giant rearing up -and brutal, inexorably paced ritardando- which is done by rending the surface sheen of spacetime... the uneasy compromise that follows leads to the fugal dissociation, more fury and the restatement of warlike intent, renegotiations,..
The balance of voices is always palpable, producing a clear texture that I can just tell will continue to withstand repeated listenings, renewing the store of interpretative delights it keeps reeling out.
I found this one while rifling through concertarchives, again! Thanks to those folks.
If you listen to this (loud enough), you'll understand why it is IMPERATIVE to go see the Chicago Sym when they're in town!