One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and we have not even reviewed it yet. Multiple copies sold.

La Mer Ticciati




simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin

Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive

Cantatas for Soprano


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Great Mass in C minor (1783)
Sarah Wegener (soprano), Sophie Harmson (Mezzosoprano), Colin Balzer (tenor), Felix Rathgeber (bass)
Kammerchor Stuttgart, Hofkapelle Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius
rec. July 2016, Evangelische Kirche Gönningen, Germany
CARUS 83.284 [56:06]

Here is an enjoyable performance of Mozart’s Great C Minor Mass by the veteran choral conductor, Frieder Bernius. There are many outstanding recordings of this popular work, so the competition is quite fierce. Performances by Masaaki Suzuki (BIS), John Eliot Gardiner (Philips), and Louis Langrée (Virgin) make more compelling claims.

I do not wish to dismiss Bernius’s performance, which gives a lot of pleasure, and it is difficult to imagine anyone regretting having it in a music collection. Sarah Wegener excels in the ‘Christe’, an ardent love song, first sung by Constanze (Weber) Mozart on her visit to Salzburg to meet her new in-laws. The duel of the two sopranos in the ‘Domine’ is thrilling, but so it is in several other versions. More distinctive is the ‘Qui Tollis’, where Bernius captures a steady tread that calls to mind a procession of penitents. The ‘Credo’ has a wonderful Handelian grandeur, full of trumpets, drums, and majesty. The choir is quite exciting in the ‘Sanctus’.

But this new recording does not dislodge Langrée as my favorite, with his stellar cast of soloists (Dessay, Gens, Lehtipuu, Pisaroni). For Bernius, Sarah Wegener sings very well in the great ‘Et incarnatus es’t, but she is not quite so fine as Natalie Dessay. Some object to the Langrée version for its speed, especially in the ‘Credo’. I thought Langrée’s ‘Credo’ sounded absurd the first few times I listened, until I was won over by the sense of urgency which the faster tempo gives to the choir’s declaration of faith.

Carus’ recording captures choir and orchestra quite satisfactorily, until you play it alongside the Langrée, which has a brilliant clarity that makes the performance more gripping.

Bernius offers a modest reconstruction of lost details of orchestration in the Credo and Incarnatus est, but the differences from many other versions are not dramatic. As a bonus for the curious, Bernius has recorded a barebones version of the Credo in its surviving orchestration.

Richard Kraus

Previous review: Leslie Wright



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger