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Christophe Coin & Ensemble Baroque de Limoges

Bach Cantatas

General Discussions


Ehud Shiloni
wrote (March 25, 1998):
Re Coin's cantata series on Astreé I would like to add to the points raised by Ryan and by Pieter-Jelle and quote from the accompanying booklet:

"..we thought it would be interesting to use the great organ even for the continuo. It thus becomes the main axis around which instrumentalists and singers then gather. That is not without its problems (especially for the microphone), the crampedness of the choir-gallery often making it necessary to divide the instruments or even the chorus between the extreme right and left, thus creating an unintentional but sometimes very apt stereophonic effect. The result may seem more 'dense', and sometimes more 'blurred' then usual' but it conveys quite faithfully the atmosphere and sound a member of the congregation would have experienced sitting down below in that small nave,..."

A lovely photo is included in the booklet, showing Coin and his group scattered along a narrow gallery with the Silbermann in the center.

The above quote may explain the specific effect of the music on these recordings.I have found the choir to sound very musical, with a lot of "feeling", but indeed somewhat "soft" and even "remote" at points. Overall I am happy to have these recordings, and I can definitely recommend them to any fan who wishes to try different versions of his/hers favourite cantatas.

I would like to discuss a specific cantata in this group: BWV 6 ("Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden" ).

Dr. Simon Crouch gives it only a 2+ rating, but I think the opening chorus alone makes this work deserve a rating of at least 1... For me it is one of those "Great chorus movements", and I am always strongly influenced by these outwardly expressive pieces. In this particular case I feel that Bach penetratingly captured the emotions which are involved in the subject story, and which I feel to actually "radiate" from the music.

However, when it comes to recordings of this piece I am still looking for "the ultimate performance", and the ones I have are unfortunately not completely satisfying. Here they are:

1. Coin (on Astreé) - as discussed above: The choir sound is not "big" enough for what I feel is called for.
2. Harnoncourt (Teldec) - the sound here is much "bigger" to the point of almost too much echo, alas - the boys high voices occasionally "shrill" and "shriek" and do whatever else boys voices do, and that is n o t what this music needs (IMHO).
3. Rilling (Hänssler) - is not bad, but the "modern" approach lacks what I call "the clear brightness" of the good HIPs. (A small note for those who asked about buying seperate CD's of Rilling's cycle: Be warned - no written material whatsoever is included! Not even the soloists names!).

So, to some it up:
- A great piece of music (ready to read differing opinions, though)
- But where is the "ultimate" recording? Can anyone point me to another existing version? I know Koopman and Suzuki are not there yet, but perhaps someone else?


Todd Michael Billeci wrote (September 1, 1998):
< Ryan Michero wrote: There's a lovely and rewarding series of cantata recordings on Auvidis Astreé featuring the Concerto Vocale de Leipzig and the Ensemble Baroque de Limoges conducted by Christophe Coin, the wonderful period cellist. The quality of the vocal soloists is quite high, with Barbara Schlick, >
This was a valuable recommendation from Ryan. To those unfamiliar, Coin was a student of Harnoncourt & Savall, & is the cellist in Quator Mosaique. He's got an outstanding discography. I'm a big fan of his HIP Beethoven, Haydn & Mozart. This is the only Bach from him I've heard & it's stellar!

< Coin decided to record every cantata with an aria featuring the smaller, 5-stringed relative of the cello, the violoncello piccolo, which he himself plays >
...very well! The instrument is richly-toned, and sings out during arias, accompanying the solo voice. Bach scores the v. pic with each of s, a, t, b soloists at one time or another, so there's interesting variety.

< they were recorded in a little church on the borders of Saxony and Thuringia that has a nicely preserved organ made by Silbermann. The organ is used as a continuo instrument (giving readings a nice warmth and never overpowering the rest of the group) and as an obbligato instrument in Cantata BWV 49, >
Also, the entire ensemble is placed up in the organ loft flanking the organ & microphoned from below, affording an intimate sound & some fun stereo effects. The organ is tuned at a'=460, but the organist transposes down a tone. Coin sites that this was common practice in JSB's days. Wish Bach Collegium Japan did that! Another interesting feature of the set is use of male Counter-tenor Andreas Scholl as alto soloist. He's outstanding.

< As far as other arias go, there are nice solos for recorders, oboes, oboes d'amore and da caccia, and transverse flute. A gorgeous set! >
Absolutely! There's enough variety, in the music and in the nifty little instruments, I suggest getting the 3-CD set if you can rather than picking through the CD's individually. Warning: there are authentic period brass instruments used in a few numbers that, well, sound like 300 year old brass instruments. *:|

If you're interested, here are some non-Bach Coin CDs to try, that I have & like very much.

Also: thanks, Ryan!

1. Beethoven, L. v., Cello Sonatas Op. 5, Nos. 1 & 2.
Cristophe Coin, Patrick Cohen.
HM 1901179 (1 CD)

2. Beethoven, L. v., Piano Trios Op. 1 Nos 1 & 2.
Patrick Cohen, Erich Hoebarth, Christophe Coin.
HM HMA 1901361 (1 CD) ***

3. Beethoven, L. v., Piano Trios, Op. 1 No. 3; Op. 11 (Gastenhauer); Op.
post. 154 (WoO 39).
Wolfgang Meyer, Patrick Cohen, Erich Hoebarth, Christophe Coin.
HM HMC 901475 (1 CD)

4. Haydn, J., Six Quators, Op. 20.
Mosaiques Qt.
Auvidis E8784 (2 CD) (rosette)

5. Haydn, J., String Quartets Nos. 38 in E flat (Joke), 39 in C (Bird), 41
in G, Op. 33/2, 3 & 5.
Mosaiques Qt.
Auvidis E 8569 (1 CD) ***

6. Mozart, W. A., Clarinet Quintet K. 581, Clarinet Trio K. 498
Wolfgang Meyer, Patrick Cohen. Mosaiques Qt.
Auvidis E 8736 (1 CD)

7. Mozart, W. A., The Quartets Dedicated to Haydn.
Mosaiques Qt.
Auvidis E 8596 (3 CD)

Ensemble Baroque de Limoges Cantata

Randy Lane wrote (June 21, 2005):
The NAIVE label has just released a third CD of Bach Cantatas, BWV 49, BWV 115, and BWV 180. Previous issues had BWV 6, BWV 41, & BWV 68, and BWV 85, BWV 175, BWV 183 & BWV 199. All 3 are with the Ensemble Baroque de Limoges conducted by Christoph Coin. I am particularly attracted by tenor solist Christoph Pregardien, who has also been featured on one or more of Tan Koopman's recordings.

Has anyone heard any of the above 3 recordings entirely? If so, what can you share with the rest of us about their overal character?

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 21, 2005):
[To Randy Lane] That disc of BWV 180/BWV 49/BWV 115 was recorded November 1993 and has been available before on Astree 8530 (1994). Glad to hear it's reissued!

Some samples of that earlier one:

Does the new issue of it still have the 36-page booklet, or have they reduced it to a web link? The original has a good long bit about the violoncello piccolo.

Randy Lane wrote (June 21, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman] Thanks Brad.

I don't know about thbooklet. I have not bought the disk yet, and the online details say nothing about the booklet. I've heard some samples. They sound very cavernous and overly reverberant. Samles only tell so much though. That's why I'm looking for some overall impressions from experienced listeners.

Aryeh Oron wrote (June 21, 2005):
[To Randy Lane] The details of these albums can be found at the following pages:

Most of these recordings have been discussed in the 1st round of the weekly cantata discussions. The link of the each Cantata BWV Number in the recording page above will lead you to the relevant cantata page. There you will find a link to the discussion page of the cantata.In this page search for Coin.

Another option is searching for "Christophe Coin" by using the Search function of the BCW. You will get a list of all the pages in which these recordings are mentioned.

Enjoyable browsing,

Henri Sanguinetti wrote (June 21, 2005):
[To Randy Lane] I guess this is a re-issue of older recordings. I have the two first released. The very first one is the one I preferred. Certainly there is some original atmospher in this record; cetainly Christoph Pregardien sounds very good, but above the magics of the piccolo and above the whole cast, there is for me something unforgettable: it is the voice of Barbara Schlick at her deeper best. I go back often to that record for her.

Sw Anandgyan wrote (June 21, 2005):
[To Randy Lane] I see you've been told about the reissue thing.

I'll simply say that it was this recording of BWV 115 that seduced me into the world of Bach vocal music only four years ago.

There is a definite intimacy to the sound, I'm too apprehensive to mention OPPP but
it sure ain't gigantic and thus, draws me into the musical landscape. Neatly both solemn and a tiny bit rugged.

It made me curious of other CDs by this ensemble and I picked up Grands Motets by Mondonville, another one by Brossard and I'm aware of a Buxtehude CD existing.

Maybe some will have pointed out the presence of Andreas Scholl on two of those Bach cantatas albums and indeed on that one you asked about.

Most likely this is a bargain priced item and I'd take this opportunity gladly.

- happy listening -

Christophe Coin: Short Biography | Ensemble Baroque de Limoges | Recordings | General Discussions

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