Mozart: Mass in C minor, K427 (Great); Exsultate, jubilate, K165

Reviewed on Mon 27 Mar, 2017

The Exsultate, Jubilate makes an ideal filler, not least for the further opportunity it provides to hear soprano Carolyn Sampson, here on excellent form.

Masaaki Suzuki’s soft-grained period instrument sound is ideal for Bach cantatas, but for Mozart’s large-scale choral music it lacks punch. Suzuki also takes surprisingly slow tempos, at least by period performance standards, and the results are sometimes sluggish. But he has a great feeling for the shape of this music, carefully grading the long crescendos and always ensuring the chorus has space to breath between phrases. The instrumentarium is at the strict end of the period performance scale, with the wheezy-sounding brass a regular presence. But playing and singing are excellent throughout, especially from the vocal soloists, all giving florid and characterful performances. The Exsultate, Jubilate makes an ideal filler, not least for the further opportunity it provides to hear soprano Carolyn Sampson, here on excellent form. The SACD audio is atmospheric and clear, giving an ideal audio image for the orchestra and soloists, although the choral sound could do with a little more detail.
–Gavin Dixon