wed 17/10/2018

BBC Proms: Missa Solemnis, London Symphony Orchestra, Davis | reviews, news & interviews

BBC Proms: Missa Solemnis, London Symphony Orchestra, Davis

BBC Proms: Missa Solemnis, London Symphony Orchestra, Davis

A sober Beethoven offers a topical mass for an age of war

Sir Colin Davis: 'failing to reach the top of Mount Everest'

While revered and respected, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis has never inspired audiences with the same affection as Bach’s B minor Mass, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, or even Mozart’s Coronation or C minor settings. Perhaps it’s the austerity, the monumentality of the work Beethoven knew to be his greatest that rejects the easy assimilation into secular concert life, perhaps it’s more simply the lack of big tunes to wash down all that liturgy. Furtwängler famously drew back from the work’s sacred challenges as he grew older, but Sir Colin Davis is evidently determined to keep tackling a work whose performance he has likened to “failing to reach the top of Mount Everest”.

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