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Cat. No. CHAN 9863 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9863 - Bruckner: Masses
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Available From: 23 November 2000
Bruckner was at the age of thirteen already an accomplished musician and, following the untimely death of his father, he became a chorister at the Augustinian monastery of St Florian, which boasted a magnificent organ of some seventy stops. The grandeur of the organ, the kindly attentions of the monks who oversaw his education, and the atmosphere of the studiousness and devotion became the dominant influences on his life as he passed through adolescence to early manhood.

On completing his formal education at the age of seventeen, Bruckner became an assistant schoolmaster in the tiny village of Windhaag, and unhappy appointment where he was mercilessly exploited. As ever he found his greatest solace in music, and it was there that he composed the first of his seven masses. The Mass in C major is for an unusual combination, dictated by the forces available to him: alto, two horns, church choir and organ. Like all his masses, this shows the clear influence of Gregorian chant and his partiality to chromaticism as a pictorial device.

For all his fabled lack of self-confidence, Bruckner was an individualist with a musical voice like no other. At once archaic and progressive, he could draw together the disciplined purity of sixteenth-century polyphony and the grandiosity of nineteenth-century romanticism with no sense of incompatibility. Nowhere is this more richly evident that in the Mass in E minor, whose unique sonorities arise from the combining of an eight-part chorus with an ‘orchestra’ consisting entirely of wind and brass.

Though he wrote no opera, and his songs are few (only five), Bruckner repeatedly demonstrated his very great sensitivity to words, not so much for their poetic qualities as for their conceptual power. The two songs recorded here are seldom heard.
Reviews

‘The Russian State Symphonic Cappella are in rich and confident voice…’
International Record Review on CHAN 9802 (Rachmaninov)

‘…outstanding performances..’ ***** Performance *****Sound
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9824 (Glazunov)

‘Excellent Russian forces directed by Valeri Polyansky in vividly full-blooded Chandos sound.’
Gramophone on CHAN 9709 (Glazunov)

 

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