39 Songs, 1 Hour, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bernstein’s Mass may be based on the traditional Catholic order of service, but it’s anything but conventional. Its riot of colors, styles, and voices form a vast musical feast showcasing the composer at both his most daring and most intimate. The wildly ambitious score calls for large orchestra, two choruses, children’s choir, marching band, and rock group—and it draws on musical theater, jazz, gospel, and rock. Of all the complete recordings of the Mass, this is a performance of rare virtuosity and chutzpah, topped by Nézet-Seguin’s skill at drawing Bernstein’s disparate worlds together.

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bernstein’s Mass may be based on the traditional Catholic order of service, but it’s anything but conventional. Its riot of colors, styles, and voices form a vast musical feast showcasing the composer at both his most daring and most intimate. The wildly ambitious score calls for large orchestra, two choruses, children’s choir, marching band, and rock group—and it draws on musical theater, jazz, gospel, and rock. Of all the complete recordings of the Mass, this is a performance of rare virtuosity and chutzpah, topped by Nézet-Seguin’s skill at drawing Bernstein’s disparate worlds together.

Mastered for iTunes
TITLE TIME
2:04
4:21
1:08
5:07
0:32
2:04
1:20
0:56
2:09
1:36
5:02
5:35
1:50
1:13
0:59
2:50
3:40
6:30
4:16
1:09
2:19
1:17
1:34
2:05
2:51
2:02
1:23
2:53
5:08
3:36
2:43
4:28
2:36
1:39
2:09
4:08
1:25
6:33
2:14

Ratings and Reviews

Amazing!!!!

Kierra8921

Kevin Vortmann is AMAZING!!!!!!! Fantastic artist! #USC #Bernstein #MASS #BestCelebrant

Not Qute Right

EMBWC

While a new recording of this work has been needed for many years, this live recording isn't anywhere near being an engineering marvel. I believe a studio recording with this cast and ensembles would have provided the listener with a more balanced and enjoyable listening experience. Overall, the gain is too low. I had to crank up the volume on my receiver in order to hear all elements. In some cases, spoken words and singing from the cast is inaudible. The highlight of the recording is the Philadelphia Orchestra. Bravo to them for providing an exceptional performance!

About The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra has been called the Rolls Royce of orchestras. Its many partisans assert that it is, and has been for nearly a century, the finest orchestra in the world.

The Philadelphia Orchestra was founded in 1900. Fritz Scheel was appointed the ensemble's first music director and served until his 1907 death. In its earliest years, the orchestra could not boast the exalted reputation it would develop just two decades later, but it did manage to attract some notable figures, including Richard Strauss who guest-conducted, and Artur Rubinstein who appeared as soloist in 1906. Scheel was succeeded by Carl Pohlig, a Mahler protégée.

In 1912, the orchestra management appointed the young and then-obscure conductor, Leopold Stokowski, to be music director. By 1920, the orchestra had become widely recognized as the finest on American shores and among the greatest in the world. Stokowski had transformed a merely talented ensemble into a world-class orchestra in less than a decade. He attracted the leading artists of the day and regularly conducted transcriptions of his own devising (often with the aid of Lucien Caillet) of works by Bach and others. More importantly, he led the Philadelphians in numerous recordings in the 1920s and 1930s for RCA, far outpacing most other conductors and orchestras of that period in this endeavor. Also under Stokowski, the orchestra became the first to have its own radio broadcast underwritten by commercial sponsors and to perform on a movie soundtrack, The Big Broadcast of 1937. Among Stokowski's innovations in the playing style of the orchestra was the introduction of "free bowing" for the string players, which resulted in a lusher, fuller sound.

In 1938, the management appointed a new music director, Eugene Ormandy, who had become assistant conductor in 1936. Stokowski still led performances and made recordings with the orchestra until 1940. Ormandy dispensed with Stokowski's "free bowing," and, many have claimed, fashioned an even greater collective virtuosity from his players. The leading musicians of the mid-20th century regularly played and recorded with the Philadelphians, including Rachmaninov (who died in 1943), Horowitz, Van Cliburn, Szigeti, and Oistrakh. Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra continued to make recordings with RCA in the beginning of his tenure, but switched to Columbia in the 1940s. They would return to RCA, however, in 1968. For both labels they made recordings mainly from the standard repertory and its fringes, but paying particular attention to the works of Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev. They also played and recorded a fair amount of American music, including works by Copland, Harris, Piston, and Gershwin.

Ormandy selected his successor, Riccardo Muti, who became music director in 1980. Muti also made a large number of recordings during his 10 years in Philadelphia, including a well-received cycle of Beethoven symphonies for EMI. Some view the Muti years negatively, but overall the orchestra maintained its generally high reputation.

Wolfgang Sawallisch was appointed music director in 1990 and served in that capacity until 2003. He was succeeded by Christoph Eschenbach, and then by Charles Dutoit.

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