Considerable critical attention has been focused on Marek Janowski's recordings of Anton Bruckner's symphonies for PentaTone, but this 2013 SACD offers an account of the Mass No. 3 in F minor that is sure to surprise skeptics. Conducting Bruckner's greatest choral work is a real change of pace for Janowski, who gets to show another side of Bruckner with fewer attendent problems of versions or editions, and almost no question of interpretation. Curiously, the Mass No. 3 was revised four times, yet Bruckner's slight differences in orchestration are not as major as his wholesale changes of content in the symphonies, and most listeners will likely have few quibbles about the edition used here. Even better for Janowski, the noble and lucid performance by the Rundfunkchor Berlin and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande is so compelling and clear, the performance inspires confidence in the conductor's choices. The singing by the quartet of soprano Lenneke Ruiten, mezzo-soprano Iris Vermillion, tenor Shawn Mathey, and bass Franz Josef Selig is well-matched in vocal quality and absolutely clear in the close-up DSD recording, and the choir is full sounding and wonderfully expressive. Because Bruckner's masses tend to be a specialized interest that fans of the symphonies sometimes overlook, this recording is a great introduction, and listeners who have been following Janowski's symphonic series would be wise to include this in their rotation. Highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Mass No. 3 in F minor|