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Ton Koopman & Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir

Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

General Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Warner Group Protest

Francine Renee Hall wrote (February 13, 2002):
I have an e-mail friend in England who is very much involved intimately in the music scene. He told me that writing mails to Warner in protest of Koopman's Bach cycle being cut short will, sadly, just be thrown "into the bin". The way things are with executives, this statement doesn't surprise me. Is anyone in the "know" feel this is a truly accurate situation?

Donald Satz wrote (February 14, 2002):
[To Francine Renee Hall] Personally, I see no point in the protest. Tiny minorities will not sway the decisions of corporations.

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 14, 2002):
[To Francine Renee Hall]
Firstly, thanks for the message you sent to the e-email address of the petition.

Secondly, I see some reasons to go along with the petition:

a. If we want to influence Warner's decision, is there a better way of doing it other than sending our reactions to the company? Do you believe that they do not care at all? After all, they are making records in order to sell them to the public and this is a way of showing them that the public is interested. Even if they do not mind, I believe that the image of the company is important to them. My intention is to make the petition public in order to encourage more music lovers to respond.
b. Even if Warner will not want to continue the project, it may help Koopman to find another record label. There are smaller labels, such as Hyperion, Opus 111, Auvidis, etc., which may want to use the opportunity and jump in. c. It will encourage Koopman and in forces to continue the project and finish it.

We need more of your opinions in the petition.

The e-mail address to which the mebers are invited to send their opinion regarding Werner's decision :
The messages are compiled in the page:

Most of the messages that have been sent so far are detailed, convincing and argued. But even short messages will serve the goal.

Ludwig wrote (February 14, 2002):
[To Donald Satz] [snip]
I am asking everyone on this list and the friends of friends to bombarde Warner with protest mail.

I also wish to remind Mr. Satz that the opinions of comsumers who foot the bills of large corporations do matter. A Corporation can not stay in business long if it is not supported by consumers.

While Warner represents many artists and rest assured that it is not wished to hurt these artists; it is necessary sometimes to launch a protest against an entire business economically to get their attention to stop and correct the harmful things a business does. IN this regard; until Warner and all of it's associated companies decides to continue what they started then Warner and all of their companies should be boycotted.

Donald Satz wrote (February 14, 2002):
[To Ludwig] [snip]
All the protesting planned doesn't change the fact that Warner did not consider the Koopman series sufficiently profitable. Also, regardless of the 'pie in the sky' view that Ludwig apparently possesses, the classical minority is here to stay.

If every record company that didn't finish what it started was boycotted, there wouldn't be much left to choose from. A little realism would be welcome.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (February 14, 2002):
< Donald Satz wrote: Personally, I see no point in the protest. Tiny minorities will not sway the decisions of corporations. >
That may not necessarily be true, Don. If it gets to the right person, it could give them ammo. Remember, not everyone in a company like Warner wants to cut out this type of project.

Johan van Veen wrote (February 14, 2002):
[To Kirk McElhearn] [snip]
I support the idea of a protest at Warner's. Even if it doesn't help, it is worth the effort. Whether I will join the protest is another matter, being rather negative about the artistic level of Koopman's recordings.

William D. Kasimer wrote (February 14, 2002):
< Donald Satz wrote: Personally, I see no point in the protest. Tiny minorities will not sway the decisions of corporations. >
I agree with Don. In fact, Warner's customers have already indicated their feelings about the Koopman series, in the way that counts most – they haven't bought it.

Johan van Veen wrote (February 14, 2002):
[To William D. Kasimer] That's what has been said here and in newsgroups. But do we really know how well or badly the CDs were selling? Are there any figures?

Koopman’s Petition – Update

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 14, 2002):
I was informed that one of the list members will have a chance to show the petition to Koopman during the weekend.

Furthermore, Koopman is now talking to some record labels which have shown interest in continuing the project of recording the complete Bach Cantatas.

Therefore, please continue to add your opinions to the petition, because it helps!

So far more than 30 members have sent their opinion to the petition.
The e-mail address to which the members are invited to send their opinion regarding Werner's decision:
The messages are compiled in the page:

Richard Grant wrote (February 14, 2002):
[To Aryeh Oron] I was alarmed and distressed to learn of Warner/Sony's plans to cancel the Bach/Koopman Cantata series in mid-project. It seems a great shame that an effort so boldly and brilliantly executed and so successfully received should end before the full impact of it's achievement can be appreciated. In addition to depriving current Warner/Sony customers of a series they have come to admire and anticipate stopping now would have the far more deleterious effect of depriving the the history of these recordings on disc of a worthy and unique contribution. I do hope they will reconsider.

Michael Grover wrote (February 15, 2002):
[To Aryeh Oron] Wow -- someone on our list is going to show the petition to him personally? I wonder which member is so fortunate..

Kirk McElhearn wrote (February 15, 2002):
[To Michael Grover] I would hazard a guess that it is Cor Knopps, the webmaster of the Koopman web site...

This said, Cor, if you are reading this, it would be very interesting if we could submit some questions to Ton about his music...

Philip Peters wrote (February 15, 2002):
[To Kirk McElhearn] I read in the paper today that the three next volumes of the Koopman cantatas are already recorded and that Warner have Koopman permission to have them issued by another label. Koopman was quoted as saying this. He also said that he is in touch with several companies and has comfidence that the cycle will be taken over by one of them. Conclusively he said that he was sure to finish the project, even if he had to take a second mortgage on his house to do it. The series has been selling reasonably well, he said, each volume sold 40.000-50.000 items. That Warner would discontinue the cycle was made clear to him by a fax....

Kirk McElhearn wrote (February 15, 2002):
[To Philip Peters] Interesting. That's the first time I have seen any sales figures. I can't see Warner's decision as an economic one, then - you can be sure that they are making a profit with that kind of sales

Johan van Veen wrote (February 165, 2002):
[To Philip Peters] I have read several times here and in usenet-newsgroups that the reason for cancelling the project was that it didn't sell very well, but I have never read any figures. So what do Warner think is an acceptable figure for classical recordings? Considering the fact that it is religious vocal music, not easily accessible to the average lover of classical music, and German to boot, and is sold in boxes of 3 CDs - which make them relatively expensive - I can't see how 40 - 50.000 copies can be really disappointing. If Waexpect more, they are in the wrong business.

< That Warner would discontinue the cycle was made clear to him by a fax.... >
Typical. Why don't people like that have the decency or the guts to tell him that in person?

Dick Wursten wrote (February 15, 2002):
< The series has been selling reasonably well, he said, each volume sold 40.000-50.000 items. >
... are the words of Koopman, who is now back on the market... selling himself and his project. So I also would be interested in the figures of the Warner Brothers.

Ludwig wrote (February 15, 2002):
[To Dick Wursten] Thanks for the information about Mr. Koopman.

Irregardless; Warner (and Time-Warner) needs to be taught a lesson about being unkind to their customers and the composers they represent. (Have you ever tried to write or complain to them about why a certain product is not on the market or if you can order directly since local retailers will not stock the item??? I have and it was and is a bureaucratic nightmare)

Looking as far back to the 1970s; I have noticed a pattern in which they offered the entire known works of Beethoven on the 200th Anniversary on LP. Shortly thereafter they withdrew this set before the average buyer/ could finished purchasing the set without going into debt for it. To the best of my knowledge they never transfered this set to compact disc format.

More recently they bought up the rights from Kalmus (printed music)too just about every work that Kalmus published of JS Bach's. This included the entire Cantatas in pocket score format which Kalmus was selling very reasonably for the complete set (around $60 US at my local print music dealers). Shortly after aquiring the rights; Warner took everything that they had acquired off the market (and I am assuming they used it as a tax write off which in my opinion is an abuse of the priviledge ).

Warner then bought out Teldec's Bach series (I am skipping over other such things) and initially took off the market the very fine set (that included complete scores and other accessory data) of Bach's Das Kantatenwerke which was in LP format. They then apparently retracted this decision (as best I can determine) and re-issued in CD format without the the accessory items in the LP set (regretably). It seems that no sooner than they had done this that this set was taken off the market in spite of product demand from those collecting the CD format version (these were selling at around $20 US). They then confused the issue by re-issuing the set in 6 CD's per box at a much higher price ($60.00 US).

I do not understand their logic in behaving as they do when it comes to fine arts ("classical") music. Their behavior seems to be self-serving and damn the rest of us who make it possible for them to operate as a business. IS it that they do not know how to sell to those of us who love the fine arts and especially JS Bach and think marketing to us is the same as marketing to Pop music fans (Rock and Roll, Rap, Hip
Hop,etc) wherein the song today is forgotten the yesterday of the next day.

Donald Satz wrote (February 15, 2002):
[To Ludwig] I understand and share Ludwig's concern about the lack of goodwill exhibited by Warner, but this company is hardly alone in giving its classical customers the shaft. I also regret many of the deletion decisions of the once 'major' companies: Sony, RCA, Universal, EMI, etc. Ludwig asks if Warner thinks that marketing to the classical customer is treated in the same manner as marketing to the pop customer.I'd say the thought process is about the same. Even if Warner and other large companies recognize any difference between the classical and pop customer, their aim is to eventually having us think like the pop customer. The fallacy in their approach is that classical customers are probably the most demanding and stubborn types around.

The 'Majors' are no longer major to me. Labels such as Naxos, Hyperion, MDG, etc. are now my main source of supply. And that's how the market works. Giant companies retrench, and smaller ones rise to pick up the slack. Personally, I don't care what the once-major companies are up to; as long as our small minority is buying music with intensity, there will always be companies to serve our interests. Warner isn't going to take Koopman's series back, but I'd bet that more than one other companies would love to embrace the remainder of the series. Once again, we don't need Warner, EMI, or any of the other retrenching corporations; Capitalism will take care of the problem. The market economy is good in some respects.

Peter Bright wrote (February 16, 2002):
< Kirk McElhearn wrote: I also note that, while I am a staunch supporter of small, independent labels, I also recognize the excellent released that do come from Archiv, Virgin, DG, etc. So we do need to keep that in mind. >
Yes - I have been most impressed with some of the EMI References series (though I suppose most of these should never have been out of print), such as the Schwarzkopf and Fischer-Dieskau cantatas discs. DG were sensible enough to rerelease Tureck's Well Tempered Clavier, Archiv remain faithful to the Richter Bach series - these were just the examples that came immediately to mind in the few seconds it took me to decide to respond. However, I also tend now to concentrate on the smaller labels (particularly Hyperion, Chandos and BIS) for new recordings. Of the majors, I am particularly strong on Archiv and DG (e.g., the Kozena recordings) and Sony (sure it's mainstream but I love those Perahia discs...).

Pablo Fagoaga wrote (February 16, 2002):
[To Dick Wursten] Good point.

Anyway, we have to admit that large labels have been dopping themselves with the outrageous figures of Rock & Pop markets. So nowadays, 50000 copies is what they expect from some minor, south american country market, but clearly not worldwide sales. It's a shame they don't distinguish one thing from another. Sometimes I wonder if they consider they are selling music, or plastic jewel boxes.

Richard Grant wrote (February 19, 2002):
[To Donald Satz] Ditto and amen!

Koopman’s Petition – Update 2

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 21, 2002):
In 'Ha'aretz' of today you can find the following article about Ton Koopman and the Complete Cantatas Project (by Haggai Hitron):

Warner Music calls halt to epic Baroque project.
But conductor Ton Koopman vows recording of 200 Bach cantatas will continue.

So far more than 50 members have sent their opinion to the petition.
The e-mail address to which the members are invited to send their opinion regarding Werner's decision:
The messages are compiled in the page:

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (February 22, 2002):
< Aryeh Oron wrote: In 'Ha'aretz' of today you can find the following article about Ton Koopman and the Complete Cantatas Project (by Haggai Hitron): >
I am confused about two distinct data.

Let me cite the relevant portions of the article first:
"Koopman: "Albums No.13, 14, and 15 have been completed, and we are presently in the process of recording album No.16. The recordings are still being funded by Erato, according to the agreement, but they will not be releasing the albums. I am looking for another company that will enable us to continue, and I am now negotiating with one. We have permission from Warner/Erato to reissue all the albums already completed, under a new label."

How were the sales?

Koopman: "The first edition of each box was sold in 9,000 to 12,000 copies, and afterwards another few thousand were sold, with about 45,000 copies of the first album sold so far"

(1) Someone here recently, was it Harry on the petition?, said he had spent $600.00 on the Koopman set so far. But if only 3 albums X 3 CDs have been re, how is that possible? I am sure I misunderstand something.

(2) 9000-12000 sounds like a huge amount for classical music, let alone baroque music. But classical music is being discontinued all over.

Donald Satz wrote (February 22, 2002):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] I think that 12 volumes have been released so far, and each volume has 3 CD's (one even had four). At $50 a pop, that comes out to $600. So Harry is mathematically correct as well as politically correct.

T. Marcot wrote (February 23, 2002):
[To Aryeh Oron] Thank you for your actions and your information. I hope the project will continue soon

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 23, 2002):
[To T. Marcot] Thanks for your encouraging words.


Moira Laidlaw wrote (February 27, 2002):
I happened upon the website this evening, as I was listening to Ton Koopman's (in my opinion definitive) interpretation of Bach's cantata BWV 127. I prefer to listen to Bach's (sacred) cantatas than any other music, although I love much other classical music. I am shocked to hear that Koopman's versions may be being discontinued.

Here's to some interesting exchanges about Bach's cantatas.

Ludwig wrote (February 28, 2002):
[To Moira Laidlaw] This may not be true. There is considerable controversy on this issue and for the time being you will have to hold your breath and pray that Warner either continues the series or allows other companies to issue it.

Moira Laidlaw wrote (February 28, 2002):
Ludwig writes that he is not sure whether Warner will discontinue the Koopman recordings. I hope they continue. Not coincidentally, I am listening to Volume 11, BWV5. The utter joy of the 'ergiesse Dich reichlich!' aria is breathtaking in its scope and passion. I don't know any other recording that expresses so much of the profound diversity of Bach's emotional, psychological and intellectual genius. And, I would suggest, intentions. If Bach wrote to glorify God, then surely these recordings are seminal. I dont believe in God except when I listen to these recordings. That's very special!

Ton Koopman statement (February 26, 2002)

From Ton Koopman Website (managed by Cor Knobs)

Tom Hens wrote (February 28, 2002)
< Kirk McElhearn wrote: Can someone who reads Dutch give us the gist of the statement by Ton Koopman at: >

"At the end of my holidays I received a fax from Warner Classics International / AOL Time Warner Company (owners of Erato and Teldec, a.o.), with the news that they had decided to cancel the almost complete Bach cantata series with immediate effect. Behind-the-scenes diplomacy followed, as there were also people within Warner who wanted to help us in completing this wonderful project. The end result, however, was a final decision: Warner won't continue with the Bach cantatas.

Consultations with lawyers and contacts with other record labels followed. At this moment, we are recording Bach XVI according to earlier agreements. Who will be the successor company, whether we will be recording it ourselves or in cooperation with others, I am not allowed and as yet unable to say, but this will definitely be known before the end of March. One thing is certain, we're carrying on: the Bach cantatas will appear complete on CD. The company that completes the cycle will also re-release the boxes I to XII currently sold by Warner. Boxes XIII to XXII will appear at the normal rhythm of 2 boxes a year."

Mario Zama Escalante wrote (February 28, 2002):
[To Kirk McElhearn] I have read the translation and it seems that it was not only Mr. Koopman who had this kind of experience. Something similiar happened with Mr. John Elliot Gardiner's cantata's set.

Hans Valeton wrote (February 289, 2002):
[To Kirk McElhearn]Yes I read Dutch and you're completely right in your summation of the content of Ton's statement.

I'll paraphrase:
"At the end of the holidays I received a fax from Warner announcing that the almost completed Bach cantata series was to be discontinued as of that day. Some silent diplomacy ensued. Even within the Warner organisation some employees tried to reverse the decision and complete this fantastic series anyway. At last a definitive decision followed: Wraner will discontinue the Bach cantata series.

Consultations with lawyers and newly made connections to other CD companies was the next step. As I write, we are recording Bach XVII as scheduled. Who the successor to Warner is going to be, or if we might do it ourselves or in some form of collaboration, I cannot yet say, but this will be known before the end of March. One thing is for sure: the Bach cantatas will be issued on CD completely. The company who will finish this project will also reissue the boxes I-XII that were produced by Warner. The boxes XIII-XXII will appear normally at the regular intervals of 2 boxes per year."

Ton Koopman

Mario Zama Escalante wrote (February 28, 2002):
I think this decision to stop cantata's sets recording by different labels, resides on the sometimes light reviews there were publish. I think people like Koopman and others deserve the chance to show their art and although there are different approaches in interpretation of Bach's work, thay have the right to finish their projects.

Koopman’s Bach Cantatas – Response of Warner Music

Aryeh Oron wrote (March 22, 2002):
Today I received the following message from Warner Music, regarding the Koopman's Bach Cantatas project.

Dear Mr Oron

Mr Matthew Cosgrove, the head of our UK-based classsical division, forwarded to me your correspondence and petition concerning the Ton Koopman recordings of the Bach Cantatas. Below you will find a statement which I would ask you to please forward, via your website, to your fellow supporters and petitioners.


Warner Classics took the decision not to continue with the recording of the Bach Cantatas, featuring Ton Koopman, for sound commercial reasons in the light of the declining sales of the first 12 volumes.

However, we do hope to reach an agreement with Mr Koopman which will allow him the rights to re-release these 12 volumes alongside the remaining volumes as and when they are recorded and assigned to another record company.

We appreciate your interest in, and enthusiasm for, these recordings of the Bach Cantatas but our decision not to continue with this project is final. We now consider this matter at a close and respectfully advise you that we are not able to enter into any further dialogue on the subject.


I hope you feel able to forward this statement from Warner Music International to your website.

With thanks and best regards
Brian Southall


I am very grateful to every one of you who has joined the petition.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (March 22, 2002):
[To Aryeh Oron] Well, at least they replied.

Dick Wursten wrote (March 22, 2002):
[To Kirk McElhearn] ..and were honest 'sound commercial reasons' & 'declining sales'

Anthony J. Olszowy wrote (March 22, 2002):
...and it sounds as if they're serious about releasing re-issue rights, which is good.

Pablo Fagoaga wrote (March 23, 2002):
So, seems to be that "Warner dixit"...
I assume their "kind warning" about further dialogue as a compliment.
Obviously they noticed we are "fans"...

Koopman’s Cantates

Marijke Y. wrote (August 1, 2002):
TVery good news in my opinion from the Ton Koopman Cantates project! A newsletter was sent today with this message:

"Ton Koopman has succeeded in finding a new company to continue the Bach Complete Canatas Series. As you might know Warner Classical discontinued the series earlier this year after the release of Volume 12. We are happy to announce that in october 2002 Volume 13 will be released under a new label. Details can not be given at this time but will be in due time. You will be informed via this newsletter or directly on our website."

As a lot of you may know this website is: . (There you can subscribe to the newsletter too)

Jeff Burton wrote (August 7, 2002):
[To Marijke Y.] When I started collecting Koopman's Bach cantatas, the Suzuki set was also just starting and it was a toss-up for me. I confess that I didn't listen to a sample of Suzuki before deciding and that prejudice played a part in my decision. I have noticed that most native Japanese speakers speak western languages (at least English) with a distinct accent. I imagined myself trying to enjoy the Bach, but anxiously awaiting the distractions of an occasional accented German pronunciation. There, it's out and I feel better for getting that off my chest.

Meanwhile Suzuki's efforts have garnered good reviews and Koopman was almost derailed. But I am glad to hear that more Koopman is on the way; I really enjoy the 12 volumes released so far.

Koopman cantata series

Ken Nielsen
wrote (February 7, 2002):
Warner Brothers have announced cancellation of this series.

Zachary Uram wrote (November 13, 2002):
[To Ken Nielsen] I liked his recording of BWV 54, but all-in-all I prefer the Suzuki
series of Bach kantate recordings.

Koopman’s Bach Cantata Series

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 20, 2002):
I received lately two complementary messages regarding the Koopman's Bach Cantata Series. I was very sad to read the first. Then the second one arrived...

Kazumi Umeda [Label Coordinator, andante] wrote (December 18, 2002:
I have some bad news, which you may have already heard from other sources: the Bach Cantatas project has fallen through; andante will not be able to do it. I understand Ton Koopman is already searching for other means by which he can continue the series. I feel very disappointed by this turn of events, as it would have been our first-ever release of new, rather than historical, recordings. Thank you very much for your help and interest, and my apologies to all who may have been looking forwards to these releases.

Samuel Bar-El [Opera in Hebrew Website] wrote (December 20, 2002):
Ton Koopman Will Release Bach Cantata Series on His Own Label Guido van Oorschot - 20 December 2002

The Dutch keyboard player and conductor Ton Koopman, whose 22-volume edition of the complete Bach cantatas was dropped by Warner Classics in 2001, will start his own CD label to release the series. The new label will be called Antoine Marchand, the French translation of Koopman's name.

Koopman has been recording the Bach cantatas with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra since 1994. When Warner's sub-label Erato decided to end the project in 2001, 12 volumes had been released; volumes 13 through 15 had already been recorded.

Since then, Koopman has discussed restarting the project with several record companies, but to no avail. "Major labels are in serious trouble," he said, "and smaller labels can't afford the investment. So now I have decided to proceed on my own."

According to Koopman, the long-awaited 13th volume of the Bach cycle will be available in March 2003. He is planning to release two new volumes per year, and says he is negotiating with several partners for worldwide distribution of his CDs.

Koopman has already reached an agreement with Warner that will allow him to release the earlier Erato recordings on the Antoine Marchand label. "They fulfilled the contract very neatly," he said, "and have returned all tapes, booklets and films of the first twelve volumes."

The complete Bach cantata series will be available in 2007. After finishing the Bach cycle, Koopman says, he intends to record all 110 cantatas of Dietrich Buxtehude (a composer Bach was known to admire), as well as the 17th-century Danish organist's keyboard music.
© andante Corp. December 2002. All rights reserved.

Article from

Jill Gunsell wrote (December 21, 2002):
The following article was sent to you by Jill.

Koopman launches his own label for the cantatas

Ton Koopman Will Release Bach Cantata Series on His Own Label - <b>andante</b> - 20&nbsp;December 2002

[If you cannot click on this link, please copy and paste it into your Web browser.]


Olly Fox wrote (March 17, 2003):
I have just joined the group, and I am sorry if this question has already been answered.

Are there specific dates when the next volumes of Koopman's cantata series will be released on Antoine Marchand? Will they be available in the UK or just from the Netherlands?

Dave Harman wrote (March 18, 2003):
[To Olly Fox] Someone posted on this list that Volume 13 would be released in March under the new label name. I haven't heard anything yet. Anyone have further news ?

Riccardo Nughes wrote (March 18, 2003):
[To Olly Fox] According to march remains the scheduled date for release of vol.13.

Ton Koopman

Hen Dreyer [South Africa] wrote (April 6, 2003):
Did Ton Koopman play his Cantatas on modern instruments or HIP performance ?

Who did the Cantatas on HIP performance ?

Who did a complete Cantatas series ?

Johan van Veen wrote (April 8, 2003):
< Hein Dreyer wrote: Did Ton Koopman play his Cantatas on modern instruments or HIP performance ? >
Koopman usually uses period instruments, at least when he plays with his own orchestra, the Amsterdam Baroque Soloists.

< Who did the Cantatas on HIP performance ? >
There are quite a lot of recordings on period instruments available.
Conductors who - with all their differences - use period instruments are
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gustav Leonhardt, Ton Koopman, Masaaki Suzuki, Philippe Herreweghe, John Eliot Gardiner, Andrew Parrott, Joshua Rifkin, Pieter-Jan Leusink, Christophe Coin.
Those are the conductors who have recorded a number of cantatas. There are more, of course, but these are the one's I can think of now.

< Who did a complete Cantatas series ? >
There are currently three complete recordings available:
- Helmut Rilling (non-HIP) (Hänssler)
- Nikolaus Harnoncourt & Gustav Leonhardt (HIP) (Teldec)
- Pieter-Jan Leusink (HIP) (Brilliant Classics)

Two complete recordings are still underway:

- Ton Koopman (HIP) (Warner; from vol. 13 on: Antoine Marchand, sub-label of Challenge Classics)
- Masaaki Suzuki (HIP) (BIS)

Koopman Cantata Series

Aryeh Oron wrote (April 12, 2003):
Attached is a message I received earlier today from Ron van Eeden of Antoine Marchand Records:

2 weeks ago we (BV Antoine Marchand) released Volume 13 of the Complete Bach Cantatas. From May 2003 every month, Volume 1-12 will be re-released. In the fall of 2003 Volume 14 will be there and the complete series of 22 Volumes will be on the market by the end of 2006.

Koopman Gets Back on His Bach Cycle

Neb Rodgers wrote (June 30, 2003):
Koopman Gets Back on His Bach Cycle
Fri Jun 27, 5:41 PM ET
By Steve Smith

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Two years ago, noted Dutch conductor and early-music specialist Ton Koopman was well into the recording of what he deems the project of his lifetime: a complete cycle of the cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by his much-admired Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir.

Twelve three-CD sets had already been issued when Koopman received word that Erato, the label for which he was recording the monumental cycle, had been dissolved by corporate owner Warner Classics.

Not surprisingly, Koopman encountered more than a few difficulties in securing a new home for the widely acclaimed project, which finally resumes this month with the July 1 release of "Volume 13" on the Netherlands-based Challenge Classics label, exclusively distributed by the Portland, Ore.-based Allegro.

Koopman says there was never a doubt in his mind that he would see the cycle through to completion.

Comparing the project to "bringing a child into the world," he explains, "if the child is ill or has problems growing up, as a father, you have to take care of it. I felt that I was really the father of this project, and I should finish it."

Ironically, when Koopman was notified that Warner was abandoning the project, he had just spent three weeks of vacation time planning logistics and booking soloists for the remaining 10 releases. Cancellation was out of the question.

Still, in a period of tightened belts and considerable competition in the marketplace, a project of this magnitude predictably proved hard to sell, no matter how celebrated the music and participants were. Facing rejection by every label with the financial means to support his dream, Koopman reached a bold resolution.

"I decided, optimist that I am, that I should go to a bank and get a loan to finish the cantatas," he says.

Koopman started his own Antoine Marchand label imprint and, with the help of a financier friend, revised his search for an existing label that would take on finished master tapes for manufacturing and distribution.

He also obtained exclusive rights to reissue the 12 volumes previously released by Erato.

Koopman very nearly secured a deal last summer with American label and Web site Andante, before finally reaching an agreement this year with his countrymen at Challenge.

What once had been a hardship suddenly became a boon, as Koopman was able to exert complete control over both the recordings and their packaging.

The cover art for "Volume 13" is a realization of the design concept that Koopman originally proposed to Erato. As the first 12 releases in the series are reissued, they will also be repackaged to match the new look.

Allegro will release the repackaged "Volume One" in August; Koopman hopes to have all 12 back on the market by this time next year. "Volume 14" is due in U.S. stores in November.


Walter Meyer wrote (July 1, 2003):
[To Neb Rodgers] I was able to obtain volumes 1 through 8 at great price reductions from BMG, which thereafter no longer offered the later volumes. W/ resources somewhat reduced by virtue of retirement and stock market losses, and as a natural cheap skate, I balk at paying list price for CDs and even aside from all this, I haven't seen any of the remaining existing volumes offered for sale.

Does anyone here know of a source (even at list price) for any of the later volumes?

Michael Cervin wrote (July 1, 2003):
[To Walter Meyer] Try or

Steve Schwartz wrote (July 3, 2003):
[To Walter Meyer] Walter, I had the very same thought for the very same reasons. In fact, surfing the web for any signs of Koopman's Bach, I found only volume 5 (the secular cantatas) at Berkshire (although I also found the St. Matthew and St. John Passions). Looking at, I found only volumes 12 and 13 at roughly $100 for the set. Too expensive for me.

[Both #12 & 13 are listed as available through Amazon. FWIW, here are the links:


Yöel L. Arbeitman wrote (July 3, 2003):
< Neb Rodgers wrote: Ironically, when Koopman was notified that Warner was abandoning the project, he had just spent three weeks of vacation time planning logistics and booking soloists for the remaining 10 releases. Cancellation was out of the question. >
The remaining 10 added to 12, if I reckon correctly, we are speaking of 22 volumes at c. $45.00 (Allegro Discounted Price!) which is a lot of money for what I believe to be the fourth complete cantata set. And does this even include the secular cantatas? I am aware that you simply forwarded the NY Times article which is appreciated.

Dave Harman wrote (July 5, 2003):
FWIW, HBDirect lists Vol 1,3,5,6,7 and 12 as available.

Vol 5 goes for $62.28
Vol 12 for $44.73 and the rest for $46.71 each

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (July 5, 2003):
[To Dave Harman] I have no connexion with anyone, but this from the Allegro site and their newsletter (with my caveat that this may refer only to their current summer sale):

J.S. Bach: Complete Cantatas, V.13 (Challenge Classics)

The acclaimed Bach Cantata Project conducted by Ton Koopman, suspended last year when the Erato label was discontinued by Warner Classical, has been revived in Maestro Koopman's native Holland by Challenge Classics. The series had stopped after the release of Volume 12. This month, Challenge Classics and Allegro pick it up where it left off, and continue with the brand new Volume 13, containing the third series of "chorale cantatas" from the second annual cycle Bach composed for Leipzig in 1724 and 1725. While the project continues forward with the remaining cantatas, the original 12 volumes will also be re-released by Challenge Classics. 25% OFF: $42.71 (Reg. $56.94)

Yöel L. Arbeitman wrote (July 7, 2003):
Of course there's also the interrupted JEG (John Eliot Gardiner) Bach Pilgrimage traversal of all the cantatas. Yes, there are persons who collect each and every set. I am not a millionaire and with such things as complete cantata sets, I took advantage after years of lust, of Berkshire's offer of the Leonhardt-Harnoncourt complete set of Sacred Cantatas some time ago at $300 for the historic set. I also bought the 1/2 of the Leusink set they offered as they constantly promised to have the other 1/2. Of many of the cantatas I have other individual recordings and both financial and spatial realities dictate that I end there. Best luck to Ton and John.

Erato Records Demise

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (July 8, 2003):
Does anyone on the list know the history of Erato Records? I really only learnt of the label's demise with all the recent talk of Ton Koopman's Bach Cantata cycle. It is so sad to know that such a fine label with a long history can be wiped out in the wink of an executive's pen in Los Angeles.

Nonesuch was started by Jac Holzman I know, but who started Erato? I would love to know the history behind this label.

Thanks so much,

Ton Koopman–Ottobeuren/Germany

Santu De Silva wrote (August 4, 2003):

10th to 13th september 2003 Basilika Ottobeuren (BRD)

Masterclass with Ton Koopman on the Riepp organs in the Basilika of Ottobeuren
Selected organ works by J.S. Bach and Fr. Couperin
Opening: wednesday, 10th september, 10h in the townhall by mayor Schäfer; presentation of the three organs of the Basilika
end: saturday, 13th september, 16h concert with Ton Koopman
daily lessons with 7-8h, concert, lecture, organ visits:
Rot (Holzhey), Eldern (Riegner/Friedrich), Ollerzried (Weber), Memmingen
Lecture: The musictradition of the monastery Ottobeuren
visits of the birth house Riepp and Holzhey
The active places are occupied.
auditor EUR 150 (students EUR 130)
only organ visit and concert on saturday EUR 15 (organ trip) EUR 10 concert
(sponsored by Gerhard Grenzing, Orgelbau Barcelona) + Bärenreiter-Verlag,

The three organs of the Basilika Ottobeuren:
Dreifaltigkeitsorgel Karl Joseph Riepp IV/47; 1766)
Heilig-Geistorgel (II/27; 1754)
Marienorgen (Steinmeyer-Klais V/91; 2002)

Our next projects:
4. - 5. Oktober 2003 Klang- und KulturReise "Auf den Spuren Albert
Schweitzers" Schwarzwald + Elsaß
Frühjahr 2004 Klang- und KulturReise Süddeutschland
Weingarten, Rot, Ottobeuren; Neresheim - die Orgelbauer Gabler, Riepp,
14. - 18. April 2004 Orgelstudienreise nach Paris (Osterwoche)
22. - 26. Sept. 2004 Olivier Latry in Ottobeuren (Kurs + Konzert)
06. - 10. Okt. 2004 Ben van Oosten in der Basilika Waldsassen (Kurs +

ORGANpromotion * mg-music * Kulturmanagement
Schlossplatz 5 * D-72172 Sulz a.N.
Tel. +49 (0)7482 / 913 930 Fax 913 929
eMail: *
Internet: *

Continue on Part 4

Ton Koopman: Short Biography | Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Koopman’s Petition | Newsletters
Vocal Works:
Koopman on TV | Cantatas Vol. 1 | Cantatas Vol. 6 | Cantatas Vol. 9 | Cantatas Vol. 10 | Cantatas Vol. 13 | Cantatas Vol. 14 | Cantatas Vol. 17 | BWV 247 – Koopman
Instrumental Works:
Ton Koopman’s Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 | Bach Sonatas for Gamba and Harpsichord | Review: Bach Orchestral Suites DVD
Bach’s Choir and Orchestra [by Ton Koopman]
Table of recordings by BWV Number

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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