This may not be the first Bruckner disc to hear. Surely one of the massive and monumental symphonies is more appropriate. This may not even be the first Bruckner sacred disc to hear. Surely one of the mighty and moving masses is more apposite. But if you really love Bruckner -- and how could anyone resist his formal integrity, his contrapuntal ecstasy, and his spiritual intensity? -- sooner or later you're going to want to check out his Motets. But which of his Motets: there are dozens of them ranging from a Pange Lingua from 1843 to a Vexilla regis from 1892, and while some of them are nearly on the same level of inspiration as the masses and symphonies, many of them are more mundane than memorable, less Te Deum than tedium.
This disc with Petr Fiala leading the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno presents a representative selection of the better-known motets -- the stupendous Christus factus est from 1884 and the awe-inspiring Virga Jesse from 1885 -- along with some of the lesser-known works -- the five settings of the Tantum ergo from 1846 and the Ecce sacerdos magnus with trombones and organ from 1885 -- in superb performances -- under the leadership of their founder, the Moravian singers are skillful, soulful, and deeply dedicated to the music -- and fabulous sound -- Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm's sound puts the listener right there in Brno next to them. Whether it's the one and only recording of Bruckner's Motets one ought to hear is debatable, but it's a fine place to start.