Masaaki Suzuki has done a great deal for the cause of Bach over many years, but his way with Mozart is no less persuasive. Not only does he imbue the “great” but unfinished C Minor Mass with equal measures of grandeur, exuberance and other-worldliness, but he is one of those rare conductors (Boulez was another) who can impart to the listener great textural clarity plus an unclouded sense of the musical architecture.
From the opening, rather old-fashioned Kyrie, Suzuki carefully paces the unfolding drama, allowing each part to play its role. The opening chorus of the Gloria (with its none-too-subtle references to Handel’s greatest hit) is joyfully dispatched, as are the succeeding solo opportunities. Sopranos Carolyn Sampson and Olivia Vermuelen are well matched in the Domine Deus; both having an excellent sense of phrasing. Sampson negotiates the justly famous Et Incarantus Est of the Credo with grace and ease.
Suzuki’s careful attention to detail ensures beautifully shaped singing and playing throughout and a clear sense of how each part contributes to the whole. This is particularly true of the majestic brass in the Sanctus and the vocal intricacies at the end of the Gloria.
To finish on a lighter note, we are blessed with Sampson’s stylish account of Exsultate, Jubilate which comes with two different orchestrations of the final Alleluia. BIS’s engineering is exemplary: lucid, but not at the expense of colour or warmth.