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Schubert: The 6 Latin Masses

1 rating: -3.0
An album by Alejandro Ramirez, Bach Collegium Japan, Berlin Bach Collegium, Christian Schlicke, Elisabeth Thomann, Eva Csapo, Franz [Vienna] Schubert, Hamburg Vocal Capella, Hans Gillesberger, Kari Lovaas, Karl-Ernst Mercker, Leverkusen Capella Vocale,
1 review about Schubert: The 6 Latin Masses


  • Jul 28, 2010
Unbelievably bad, that is! The sound quality is hideous, as if the single microphone had been swathed in compost. The instruments, when they can be distinguished from the general rumble, are nearly unrecognizable. Choirs are the hardest thing to record effectively anyway, but this recording failed more painfully than most.
However, it wouldn't have mattered, since the performance is totally flawed, inept, misbegotten. The sopranos and altos, especially soprano Eva Csapo, are so consistently out of tune that I have to suppose they didn't know any better. They quaver shrilly like a loose fan belt in a 1950s jalopy. The conductor, Martin Behrman, wallows in the thickest sludge of spent romanticism. Choir and instruments are all just a feed lot bellow of noise.

And that's a shame. A waste, not only of my money and my listening time, but also of an opportunity to introduce another facet of the brilliance of Franz Schubert to the public. I'm sure there are devoted Schubert fans, people who love the piano songs and symphonies, who aren't even aware that Schubert composed seven masses over the course of his short life. The masses reveal a lot about their composer. For instance, in the Latin masses, the phrase "unam sanctam catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam" is conspicuously omitted from the Credo. Schubert in effect denied the rightfulness of "one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church", which of course meant that his masses could never be used in Roman Catholic worship. They were "unsellable" therefore. Was Schubert a Christian believer? His friends didn't consider him one. It's an interesting question, but listening to these performances will NOT suggest any answer.

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