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ClassicsOnline Home » PRAETORIUS, M.: Easter Mass (Cordes)
A priceless addition
This is a fairly new offering, having been issued on April 3, 2012. As such, being a complete Praetorius Mass, it is always going to be compared to that other Praetorius Mass released in 1994 (the Christmas Mass on the Archiv label). Being on a smaller label than Archiv, it might be considered to suffer by the comparison. However, it more than holds its own on listening.
Manfred Cordes has a terrific catalogue of Protestant Church Music recordings, particularly the early Lutheran composers, who all culminated eventually in J.S. Bach. This is a fine addition to the Church music catalogue.
The Bremen-Weser Renaissance ensemble do a fine job in bringing the majesty of the Easter service as it would have been celebrated in Praetorius' time to our ears. While it lacks the supreme sound of the Christmas Mass, we must remember that this is an Easter Mass, and so is designed to be more circumspect.
In line with that, this is not a disc for easy listening or background music. Like most of Praetorius' Church music, it requires your undivided attention to get anything out of it. It is my opinion that the listener thus needs to be empathetic to the nature of the music and the reason for it in order to listen to it with understanding. If you don't have the same religious presuppositions as Praetorius, you'd be unlikely to want to listen to this in the first place anyway.
The quality of the recording is better than what one would expect to hear were it performed in a Church or Cathedral with a full house. However, due to the reverb, it still sounds authentic, and the singing and instruments fairly bounce around the walls, which is what you want in a recording of this kind. So turn it up!
It's my opinion that the Church has suffered over the intervening centuries, having lost its precious musical heritage, or in some cases, denied it altogether. That's why recordings such as this one are so important for the future. This is a fine addition to the vast number of recordings of Church music, and one that all lovers of Church music should have. As per the Praetorius Christmas Mass, this recording is priceless, and should be more expensive than it is.
One criticism I would have is the lack of a downloadable booklet to go with the music. It would be great to be able to read the liner notes, let alone the chorales, while listening.more....
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PRAETORIUS, M.: Easter Mass (Cordes)