I've heard Reuss in Stravinsky and Poulenc and admired his interpretations of both. Some reviewers find his Stravinsky too restrained, but I find his understatement eloquent in its own way. His version of Les Noces, for instance, gets its energy from crisp attacks and firm rhythms, rather than furious banging from the four pianos.
All the same, I wondered whether understatement could work with the Missa Solemnis. But it does! By using period instruments and a modest sized orchestra, Reuss reveals the interplay of voices in passages that can feel like an opaque wall of sound when pushed harder. His soloists have voices distinguished more for beauty and purity of pitch than for imposing size. When they sing together without the chorus they seem to be listening to each other--it's like hearing a string quartet. By getting his forces to play and sing really quietly, Reuss can do justice to the many sudden shifts in dynamics without requiring his singers to strain. His performance reveals an intimacy that I hadn't been able to hear in this piece before.
There's still much to be said for the classic Klemperer recording, but to this listener at least, the new version was a revelation.
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