"If the performance of the mass surpassed that of the requiem in intensity and in grandeur, it is because, after all, there are few compositions in all music that stand shoulder to shoulder with Beethoven’s. It does compass the sublime, in a spirit that is Michelangelesque. But it is seldom delivered in this fashion, because of difficulties almost insurmountable for the singers, and other difficulties, inherent in the nature of the music, which conductors seldom completely solve. Last night the fierce heat of Toscanini's inspiration and integrity of purpose pierced every problem and fused together the creative elements of a masterpiece so gigantic that it is seldom comprehended by either listener or performer." - New York Times, 1940
We recently completed the 6-concert 1939 Toscanini Beethoven Cycle, and last week had Jussi Björling in Puccini's Manon Lescaut, so what better time to bring the two supreme artistes together for this week's new release?
With soloists Zinka Milanov, Bruna Castagna and Alexander Kipnis, Björling complements Toscanini's white hot NBC Symphony Orchestra and the excellent Westminster Choir in this stunning 1940 performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, newly XR-remastered by Andrew Rose in unprecedented sound quality.