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Reinhard Goebel & Musica Antiqua Köln
Wedding Cantatas


Bach: Wedding Cantatas

Cantatas BWV 210, BWV 202, BWV 51

Reinhard Goebel

Musica Antiqua Köln

Soprano: Christine Schäfer; Trumpets: Hannes Kothe, Ute Hartwich

Deutsche Grammophon

Jan 1999

CD / TT: 65:23

Recorded at Sendesaal, DeutchlandRadio, Köln, Germany.
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Schäfer and Goebel Perform Bach Wedding Cantatas

Donald Satz wrote (October 18, 1999):
Most Bach cantata recordings have multiple vocal soloists with the result that no one soloist will either ruin the performance or make it an outstanding one. But, in the new DG Bach cantata recording, Christine Schäfer is the only soloist, and the recording falls or rises on her shoulders.

As for non-vocal particulars, Goebel and his group do a fine job as I expected they would; Goebel has recorded many Bach works, and his Orchestral Suites and Brandenburg Concertos are about as good as I could want. The recorded sound is excellent - crisp with plenty of richness.

Back to Schäfer. I consider her voice relatively dark and husky in Bach. That's no problem, but there was a "hooty" quality to her singing on the disc, which did distract from my enjoyment.

For cantata BWV 51, I compared Schäfer/Goebel to Gardiner on Philips, which was coupled with the Magnificat (BWV 243). Gardiner is better, and the singing is also. Gardiner is more expressive and digs below the surface to a degree Goebel does not engage in. I do emphasise that Gardiner's BWV 51 is the best I've heard, so Goebel is being compared to tough competition.

Overall, the new disc is a fine one, but neither the orchestral support nor the singing meets the highest standards of competition.

Don's Conclusion: Worth Sampling

Jeff Leone wrote (October 19, 1999):
I think the recording is great. Schäfer adds an interesting element to these favourite Cantatas. Goebel and MAK are excellent! Goebel has slowed down a bit from his usual tempi, which I usually like, and he still sounds great. Also, its nice to see that he has been playing the violin lately in his recordings since he wasn't a few years ago.

On another note, (already discussed in earlier threads) this recording is extremely important (in my perspective) because it really brings EM and HIP to mainstream classical music. Just one quick note on that: it wasn't even released under the Archiv label, just the popular DG label. Very interesting. I think DG is really coming along by trying to "mainstream" HIP though integration into its main label (like Decca), but they still leave Archiv in existence for those more "scholarly" recordings (like McCreesh's Bach) and the less well known works. Great job DG! (IF only they'll release everything in the US!)

Simon Crouch wrote (October 19, 1999):
I'm afraid that there is rather prosaic reason for releasing this on the main DG label - The Archiv label has been dropped altogether! To quote Hugh Canning in this week's Sunday Times: " dotty to drop the premier brand name in early-music recording!" BTW, Canning's review of this disc is rather damning of Schäfer's singing but praises Goebel and his orchestral forces.

Donald Satz wrote (October 19, 1999):
I'm glad Jeff likes the recording so much. Jeff, could you tell me about that "interesting element" Schäfer provides? Maybe I'm missing something in her interpretation.

Yes, Goebel did slow down for this recording. I wish he had taken more risks in his performance. But, he is an excellent Bach conductor, and I'll continue to get his recordings as soon as they are released.

Jeff Leone wrote (October 19, 1999):
I wouldn't be afraid of that. I really don't think that will happen. Archiv is set to release new CD's this month, as they did last month. A new Minkowski CD of Händel Latin works from Rome (Should be amazing!) and a CD of Bach Arias with a new ensemble I've never heard of and soprano Kožená. So looks doubtful that they will drop it. But... if they do, who cares? Look at Decca, for example. Since they've drooped L'Oiseau-Lyre, several good HIP recordings have been released, and by being merged with Decca, I believe the resources (i.e. performers, soloists) available to Early Music have increased greatly. Also, these CD's have become somewhat readily available, unlike before. So maybe it is not a bad idea.

Luis Villalba wrote (October 19, 1999):
Are you sure the Archiv label is dead? Excuse me for the grandiloquence, but it would be the end of an era.

Jeff Leone wrote (October 19, 1999):
The Archiv Label is still going strong and there are no signs that DG will drop it, to my knowledge at least.

Simon Crouch wrote (October 20, 1999):
(Archiv label) Well, I'm not sure - I've just relayed what I've read in the Sunday Times. But, adding to that, Archiv seems to have disappeared from DG's Website.

New releases are trickling out, but one would expect that as the funnel empties.

Luis Villalba wrote (October 20, 1999):
(Archiv label) Thanks for the info, as well as for your frequent very insightful entries.

Steven L. Guy wrote (October 19, 1999):
I too like Schäfer - I think she is happily yet another one of those singers like Anne Sofie von Otter, Cecilia Bartoli and Dawn Upshaw and so on, who are quite at home with period ensembles as well as modern orchestras.

I also agree that it is a good idea to release the Schäfer/Goebel CD on DG rather than ARCHIV. To some extent the DG label has become rather hum-drum and predictable is recent years - so many re-releases and newer pianists and violinists covering the same old repertoire.

What with ARCHIV creeping up well into the 19th Century with its HIP recordings of Beethoven, Schumann and Schubert, it doesn't seem unreasonable for DG to release HIP recordings of J.S. Bach's music. (If we think about it there really aren't many new recordings of Bach by non-HIP groups or soloists anymore - yes, I know there are some! But these are few and far between.) DG should have a new HIP recording of the Brandenburgs or the Ouverturen on its label too. I would really like to hear Goebel/Musica Antiqua make a new recording of these works - just to see how Herr Goebel's ideas about this music has changed (if at all, of course). I liked his earlier recordings and Pinnock with his new Ouverturen recording has proven (at least to me) how interesting it is to hear how an ensemble and its director have developed in their approach to (even familiar) music. DG should encourage Goebel to look at these works again. I'd also like to hear (and buy!) recordings of the Gabrieli Consort in Bach's Passions. Does anyone think this is likely?

By the way, I bought the McCreesh Epiphany Mass and the Pinnock Overtures on ARCHIV in Australia shortly after it was released overseas. Both these and other ARCHIV recordings are readily available over the counter in Australia. Why is the US being penalised?

I believe that John Eliot Gardiner is due to release a new recording of Verdi's Falstaff on DG or ARCHIV (!!??). Can anyone tell me if this is going to be a HIP extravaganza with the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique or with it be with a "normal" orchestra? The information on the DG Website is decidedly cryptic at times.

Ferdinando Boccazzi Varotto wrote (October 20, 1999):
I think that the reason for the publishing of Goebel's new recording on DG, instead of Archiv, as it used to be, it's very simple: if you take a look at the DG catalogue you can hardly find recent baroque music recordings (there are some Karajan's recordings of popular works like 4 seasons or Brandenburg concerts and few others works), 'cause most of all the recent recordings have been published for Arc. To make an example, in the Decca catalogue there is a much larger choice, Philips too, and so on.

But there is a lot of people who's not very into classical music, but who sometimes buy some classical music records, who consider "the yellow label" as a "sign of quality", but who don't know Archiv is a DG label too. The DG administration made this consideration and started publishing new issues of baroque music. All in all it's just a question of usual But I never heard anything about the dead of Archiv label: I think it'll be still around, just like L'Oiseau-Lyre or seraphim as a "sub-label" of the main label. (To close Archiv would be a suicide for DG: they should have to renew all the contracts of all the artists who signed for Archiv!)

Donald Satz wrote (October 20, 2000):
I thought that Decca had announced many months ago that the L'Oiseau-Lyre label was being retired, and I've noticed since then that Decca has not released any early or baroque music on L'Oiseau-Lyre. What's the scoop?

Jeff Leone wrote (October 21, 1999):
(To Donald Satz) Correct. Decca is now all by themselves, but they are still releasing some great CD's. I wouldn't worry about Early Music disappearing from Decca, either, since they just signed Andreas Scholl on their label. I'm sure there will be some great stuff to come.

Ferdinando Boccazzi Varotto wrote (October 21, 1999):
[To Jeff Leone] Are you sure? Here in Italy L'Oiseau-Lyre still exist and Decca has recently renewed all the packaging of their records...It seems strange for a label that is "nearly dead", isn't it? Anyway who said that Archiv is disappeared from the DG web site? I connected and I saw the presentation of all the Archiv new issues... My opinion is clear: I think (and I hope) that Archiv will survive as a specialised "sub-label" as it used to be, maybe that DG will publish for the yellow label some recording of works of large popularity, but it doesn't have to worry us. Anyway there could be another interpretation: O-L will die in the States but will survive in Europe; it wouldn't be so surprising. We have several examples of differences between the catalogues (I think that in the USA still exist The "London" label that in Europe is included in the Decca catalogue, but I could be wrong).


Reinhard Goebel: Short Biography | Musica Antiqua Köln | Recordings of Vocal Works | Recordings of Instrumental Works | General Discussions
Individual Recordings:
Wedding Cantatas - R. Goebel | Bachiana - R. Goebel | Bachiana Volume 3 - Lamento - by M. Kožená w/ Musica Antiqua Köln & R. Goebel

Conductors of Vocal Works: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Singers & Instrumentalists


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