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Bruckner: Motets - Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno

Bruckner: Motets - Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno

MDG Gold  922 1422-6

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Vocal


Bruckner: Motets

Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno
Petr Fiala (conductor)

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Review by John Broggio - January 5, 2007

A collection of Bruckner's motets is still comparatively rare and given performances like these, it is hard to understand why. Each motet is like a movement from a Bruckner symphony that has been pared down to the briefest exposition of the musical arguments and contains much of the tension and resolution that Bruckner wrote in his finer moments.

There are instances when the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno are cruelly taxed (such as in the climax of the magnificent Ecce sacerdos magnus) but on the whole they sign with clarity and unforced tone. However, whilst they currently face no competition (I would imagine that Paul Hillier or Ed Spanjaard would fancy this repertoire at some point for example) on SACD, inevitably these accounts will be compared to the finest available (such as Jochum's outstanding choral cycle on RBCD). On the whole the accomplishment of this choir is high, with fine direction from Petr Fiala who is ably accompanied by Jirí Vydra, Jaroslav Zouhar, Pavel Vydra (trombones) and Martin Jakubícek (organ). There is a tangible sense of emotion in the pieces which lesser conductors would struggle to find or relate to the audience. This emotion is all too often obtained at the expense of secure intonation in these extraordinarily taxing works. This unappealing feature does not apply to the soloists drawn from the body of the choir.

When one compares this to other accounts, it is apparent that one can marry the emotion in the music without sacrificing the notes of the score, so it is with regret that one cannot recommend this without reservation.

The sound is clear but recorded in the 2+2+2 system and perhaps this is why it is relatively tricky to identify the positions of the sections of the chorus when it splits into more than the standard four parts unless one re-configures ones set-up just for these MDG recordings.

Copyright © 2007 John Broggio and HRAudio.net

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2+2+2 Recording