Rheinische Post
Monday, October 30, 2006

Brief Review

Missa Solemnis

Porträt Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven

The choir of the Johanneskirche and their conductor Wolfgang Abendroth had risen to the challenge of the “Missa solemnis”, the solemn mass, Beethoven's late opus of sacred music. And the result must be considered as a great performance. Not only has Abendroth guided the choir through all the difficult passages of the enormous chorus part, but he navigated the whole crew — like a captain — unerringly through all tempo and character changes of the score. Besides the Johanneskantorei, singers of the Reading Festival Chorus were part of the cast, and the guests had arrived well-prepared. Both choirs formed a perfect unity and interpreted the music concertedly.

The orchestra of the “Altstadtherbst” provided a reliable sound fundament. Together with the conductor they created a basic atmosphere, in which choir and soloists could thrive. The four soloists had been carefully selected and in view of their good ensemble performance it would not be right to set apart one of them. Erica Eloff, soprano, Ulrike Kamps-Paulsen, alto, Bernhard Gärtner, tenor, and Thomas Laske, bass presented a balanced vocal entity.

The performance of this major opus by Beethoven was not only marked by a perfect command of the score, but it also conveyed a heartfelt religious message.

Deutsche Fassung NORBERT LAUFER