|Comments:||D. D. Martinez said:|
Two ends of the spectrum meet here, and work rather well together. On the one hand, we have an ensemble performing on period instruments; on the other hand, they've released a recording that takes advantage of technology. A strong performance is enhanced by subtleties---making the most, for instance, of stereo separation so the listener gets from the chorus something much closer to what he would experience in the concert hall.
The question of authenticity nearly always comes up. Opinions will differ and theories will keep appearing. Though not absolutely necessary, it is interesting to know what research takes place before a recording is made, what decisions are made, and how those decisions affect the performance. Maestro Pearlman, in his comments, addresses the "many theories about using solo voices for sections of certain choruses" and explains why these were used in only two sections of the Boston Baroque recording.
There's something relaxed about this particular rendition---a sense that each performer falls into place very comfortably. This does not mean it's a casual recording: Bach's symmetry in the writing of the Mass in B minor is mirrored by all involved, especially the soloists, who treat the work with much reverence while keeping alive the drama and pathos of it.