MDG Release Beethoven’s ‘Missa Solemnis’ [HFR]

Beethoven’s ‘Missa Solemnis’ (op.123) is the latest DVD-Audio title from MDG. Performed by the Orchester der Beethovenhalle, Bonn, conducted by Marc Soustrot, the disc boasts both multi-channel DVD-Audio at 96kHz 24-bit, but also backward-compatible loss-less DVD-Video content, in the form of multi-channel 48kHz 20-bit PCM. For more information on this aspect of MDG’s releases, see our previous news story (link below).

The recording features top-ranking international vocalists, the Czech Philharmonic Chorus of Brno, and renowned soloists: Hillevi Martinpelto, soprano, Elena Zaremba, mezzosoprano, Herbert Lippert, tenor and Ronnie Johansen, bass.

From the information provided by Werner Dabringhaus of MDG: “Beethoven wrote the ‘Missa Solemnis’mass during what was for him a crazy period. Works regarded by him as insignificant such as ‘Wellington’s Victory’ (op. 91) met with storms of enthusiasm in Vienna, while he had to witness how his considerably more important Symphony No. 7 verged on failure. Beethoven withdrew from the compositional scene for quite some time, then to return in his late oeuvre with works transcending all that was usual: the Symphony No. 9, String Quartet in C sharp minor (op. 131), ‘Hammerklavier Sonata’, and ‘Missa Solemnis’.

Sensational Success

An orchestra and its master – the Beethoven Hall Orchestra together with Marc Soustrot – represent the very best of technical virtuosity and sensibility. Soustrot, whose conducting career has been accompanied by numerous recording prizes, has led the Bonn orchestra to sensational recording successes on MDG

About the Recording

Sacred music should be performed in an acoustic church environment, but because of its outstanding dimensions Beethovens Missa Solemnis traditionally was not performed as part of a service but in concert halls.

MDG made this recording in the natural acoustic of the Beethoven Halle in
Bonn. We optimised the acoustisc by putting away all the chairs of the audience with the result of much better church like reflections from the wooden floor which were recorded separately for the surround ambiance. (Normally these chairs are designed to simulate the damping factor of the audience which will reduce the reverberation by as much as three or four seconds.)

Werner went on to explain that… “…naturally we recorded the piece using six channels all at 96kHz 24-bit in the MDG 2+2+2 scheme, which means you can hear the music from the same track in stereo or in 5.1 surround or the three dimensional 2+2+2 alternative. The orchestra was situated on the stage and you will clearly hear the original positions. The choir is positioned right behind the orchestra – and in the 2+2+2 reproduction you can clearly discern their elevated 3D position. The organ is can be heard to the left, behind the choir, which reflects its actual location within the hall.

Beethoven’s ‘Missa Solemnis’ is available now, the catalogue number is: MDG 937 1128-5.