Can there ever be too many recordings of Bruckner's sacred music? For fans of the Austrian romantic mystic, the answer is no. After all, how could there be too many recordings of some of the most honest, most devotional, and most inspired spiritual music of the second half of the nineteenth century? And for them, this disc with Marcus Creed leading the SWR Stuttgart Vokalensemble in a selection of seven motets plus the E minor Mass will be a blessing. As listeners who have followed Creed's career know, he is a skillful choral conductor able to draw musically balanced but emotionally affecting performances from his singers, and this Bruckner recording proves no less impressive than his classic Brahms recordings. In the a cappella motets, Creed sculpts the Stuttgart choir's performances into warm-hearted hymns to God while in the wind band accompanied mass he creates a flowing five-movement monument to his Catholic faith. Older listeners may miss the spiritual passion that the great Eugen Jochum brought to these works in his classic Deutsche Grammophon recordings, but younger listeners will surely welcome not only Creed's smoother performances, but Hänssler's amazingly clean, digital sound.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Mass No. 2, for chorus & winds in E minor, WAB 27|