Beethoven's great setting of the Mass was in fact his second - though this one, composed around the time of his Ninth Symphony, is counted by many among the most remarkable of his creations. The Missa Solemnis was for Beethoven – as it remains for the listener today – a profoundly spiritual work. The Amsterdam-based Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is indisputably one of the world's leading ensembles, while conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt has attained legendary status in his lifetime, his expertise ranging from the Baroque repertoire where he first earned his reputation to more recently, and delightfully unexpectedly, Gershwin. His Beethoven recordings remain among the most revered in the catalogue, while his live performances of the composer's music are always counted among the most eagerly anticipated of any season's events.
'The orchestra, with its luscious welter of strings, coloured the music with captivating and near-immaculate brilliance.' The Scotsman