Horenstein, Jascha

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Soprano: Wilma Lipp
Alto: Elisabeth Höngen
Tenor: Murray Dickie
Bass: Ludwig Weber

Choir: Wiener Akademie Kammerchor
Orchestra: Wiener Symphoniker
Conductor: Jascha Horenstein

Date: 1952

Label: Tuxedo Music
Cat No.: 1051
Released: 1990
vox781Label: Vox Classics
Cat No.: 781
Released: October 16, 2001
This recording’s severely limited dynamic range gives the impression of a rather small chorus, in line with today’s authentic practices, but then you realize that it’s just placed far back in the acoustic mix. The orchestra also is very much in the background, though in quiet passages you can hear the fine solo work offered by some of the players. The close miking of the vocal soloists brings a feeling of intimacy that’s not always to the singers’ advantage. Alto Elizabeth Hoengen sounds quite past her prime under this scrutiny, just as Ludwig Weber’s tentative lower range is cruelly exposed by the Tuba Mirum’s famous low notes. Wilma Lipp’s youthful-sounding soprano becomes a bit shaky in Lux Aeterna, while tenor Murray Dickie’s pinched, narrow-bore tone sounds like a vocal caricature. Horenstein’s tempos fit well within tradition, imparting a devotional air to the piece–quite the opposite of the fearful and more dramatically declamatory approaches found in latter day readings by, for example, Peter Schreier and Bruno Weil. Horenstein’s Lacrymosa is particularly beautiful and comforting. However, this consistently soft-edged manner can become tiresome, not to mention dull–a factor that when combined with the dim mono sound restricts the appeal of this disc to Horenstein fans only.

Victor Carr Jr, Classics Today