BEETHOVEN: Missa Solemnis, Op. 123
Ann-Helene Moen, soprano. James Gilcrist, tenor. Benjamin Bevan, baritone. Bach Collegium Japan / Masaki Suzuki, cond,
BIS SACD 2321 TT: 74:07

Music of Handel, Vincenzo Ciampi (1719 0 1762(. Thomas Augusine Arne (1710 - 1778). John Christopher Smith (1712 - `795). Philip Hayes (1738 0 1797).
Ruby Hughes, soprano. Orchestra of the Age of Enlightement / Laurence Cumnugs, cond.
CHANDOS SACD LC 7038 TT: 78:25

Hoff Ensemble
2L 145-SABD Blu Ray audio disk 145 TT: 46 min app.

Masaaki Suzuki and his splendid Bach Collegium of Japan, after dozens of recordings of Bach, now turn their attention to music on a grander scale: Beethoven's mighty Missa Solemnis. Perfection in concept and performance is what we have come to expect from Suzuki and his dedicated ensemble. Here they are joined by four outstanding soloists, particularly soprano Ann Helen Moen, and tenor James Gilchist The recording was made January / February 2017 in Japan's Kawaguchi Lilia Music Hall. The BIS engineers have captured a most realistic balance throughout. This is a beautiful presentation, with a three-fold out jacket, profuse program notes and the complete libretto with translation. A major issue!

Italian Giulia Fraci (1740 - 1772)\, was a leading soprano in mid-century London, admired for her clear sound and virtuosity. She was a favorite of Handel, who wrote some of his works for her. This famous soprano of the past is celebrated on this Chandos SACD dedicated to her. Featured is the new British baroque soprano Ruby Hughes who in the past few years has performed a wide variety of music to great acclaim. Here she concentrates on early music witf resounding success. Her voice is strong, agile and pure, and she is perfectly at home in this demanding music. Strong support is provided by the period-instrument Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment directed by Laurence Cummings. The recoding, made July 2017 in London's Church of St. Jude-on-the-Hill, is well-balanced. Complete texts and translations are provided.

Famous Norwegian jazz pianist/composer Jon Gunnar Hoff (b. 1958) has made many recordings, some as solo jazz pianist, many with other leading musicians. His latest disk, Polarity,should be of particular interest to audiophiles. It offers listening channels few collectors are abe to hear There are two disks, a CD and a Blu Ray audio. On these we have the program in 5.1 surround sound, 7.1.4 Auto-3D and SACD 7.1. A diagram shows speific location of each instrument. Recordings were made in the rich acoustics of Norway's Sofienberg Church in September 2017. Also performing are Audun Kleive and Anders Jormin. There are 12 brief sections: Innocence Revamp, The Elder, Polarity, Beginning, Justice, Moving, Euphoria, Within, Sacred, Pathway, and Home. The booklet includes specific descriptions of each. Audio is ultra-clear, appropriately spacious and defined. An outstanding issue for those who enjoy jazz.

.R.E.B. (June 2018)