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Ton Koopman & Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir
Bach Cantatas - on TV

D-1

Bach Cantatas

Cantatas BWV 106, BWV 131 [23:00], BWV 140, BWV 147, BWV 211, BWV 56

Ton Koopman

Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir

See Episodes 1-6 below.

Kultur Video

1997

DVD / TT: 178:00

Buy this album at:
DVD: Amazon.com [DVD]

1

Ton Koopman conducts J.S. Bach - Episode 1

Cantata BWV 106

Ton Koopman

Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir

Soprano: Els Bongers; Alto: Elisabeth von Magnus; Tenor: Lothar Odinius; Bass: Klaus Mertens

NVC ARTS

1997

VHS / TT: 19:47

Total time of the programme: 29:30

2

Ton Koopman conducts J.S. Bach - Episode 2

Cantata BWV 131

Ton Koopman

Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir

Tenor: Lothar Odinius; Bass: Klaus Mertens

NVC ARTS

1997

VHS / TT: 23:00

Total time of the programme: 28:47

3

Ton Koopman conducts J.S. Bach - Episode 3

Cantata BWV 140

Ton Koopman

Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir

Soprano: Lisa Larsson; Tenor: Lothar Odinius; Bass: Klaus Mertens

NVC ARTS

1997

VHS / TT: 25:46

Total time of the programme: 30:40

4

Ton Koopman conducts J.S. Bach - Episode 4

Cantata BWV 147

Ton Koopman

Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir

Soprano: Lisa Larsson; Alto: Elisabeth von Magnus; Tenor: Lothar Odinius; Bass: Klaus Mertens

NVC ARTS

1997

VHS / TT: 30:14

Total time of the programme: 32:06

5

Ton Koopman conducts J.S. Bach - Episode 5

Cantata BWV 211

Ton Koopman

Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir

Soprano: Anne Grimm; Tenor: Lothar Odinius; Bass: Klaus Mertens

NVC ARTS

1997

VHS / TT: 24:27

Total time of the programme: 28:45

6

Ton Koopman conducts J.S. Bach - Episode 6

Cantata BWV 56 [18:35]

Ton Koopman

Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir

Bass: Klaus Mertens

NVC ARTS

1997

VHS / TT: 18:35

Total time of the programme: 28:46

D-2

Bach: Cantate 'Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten”

B+U NEW

Cantate Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten, BWV 202 [24:31]

Ton Koopman

Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra

Soprano: Dorothee Mields
Catherine Manson (Concert-master); Joseph Tan, Benedicte Pernet, Eunjung Anna Ryu en Maite Larburu (Violins 1); David Rabinovich, Marc Cooper, Ann Roux en Liesbeth Nijs (Violins 2); Deirdre Dowling en Yoshiko Morita (Violas); Werner Matzke en Robert Smith (Cellos); Michele Zeoli (Double-bass); Antoine Torunczyk en Matthieu Loux (Oboes); Rebecca Mertens (Bassoon); Dave Hendry (Trumpet)

YouTube

June 10, 2012

Video / TT: 24:31

Recorded live at Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
2nd recording of Cantata BWV 202 by T. Koopman.
Watch this video on YouTube: Complete Cantata [24:31]

Cantatas

Ehud Shiloni wrote (June 14, 1998):
(Snip) I take the opportunity to "report" that I saw a TV broadcast of two Bach cantatas performed by Koopman with ABO+C, in what seems to be part of a series, although no details about its future scope were given. Anyway, this was a most exciting event!

The cantatas performed were BWV 106 (Gottes Zeit) and BWV 131 (Aus der Tiefen).
Each performance was preceded by a short didactic talk by Koop, who gave some historical background as well as some details about Baroque performance practice, and then - on to the music! Koopman's conducting style appears somewhat "dry" to the unschooled (like myself..), but it was obvious to see that the choir members are deeply involved emotionally, and the entire experience was very moving. The quality of the sound coming from a TV set was obviouly not the top, but the camera work, which was excellent, made up for that.

This performance was NOT the same as the one recorded on the Erato series (although it took place in the same church, I believe ), and mostly different soloists were used, except Bass Klaus Mertens whom I had the chance to visually see for the first time and found him very impressive.

Has anyone seen this performnce, or knows more about the TV series? (Snip)

 

Koopman on TV

Ehud Shiloni wrote (June 23, 1998):
This past Friday I saw the second installment of the Cantatas series on TV. This time the performance included BWV 140 and BWV 147. As the instrumental forces are considerably larger than in BWV 106 + BWV 131 from the first broadcast, the camera this time gave considerable time to the key players, especially to the chief violonist (was this Margaret Faultless?) and the leading oboist (was this Marcel Poncelee?).
A splendid performance, to watch and to listen.

Again, no details at all were provided. I looked up the ABO home page and indeed it mentioned that a series of six cantatas program was produced by NCRV television in Holland. I sent NCRV an e-mail asking for more info, but so far have received no answer.Any help from the list?

Finally, this series is clearly not in step with the major cantata project, as both pieces in this broadcast have not been recorded yet, and BWV 140 is indeed a very "late" Leipzig cantata.

That's my "report"

Ehud Shiloni wrote (June 28, 1998):
Although my postings on this matter drew no responses, I feel obligated to complete my "report" on this series...

I saw the last "installment" this past Friday. It included the "Coffee Cantata" (BWV 211), staged with acting and all in a coffee house, complete with a bar and a waiter serving coffee to the actors/singers... "Coffee" is not my favourite music, despite the acting effort, so I concentrated more on the last piece of this series - solo bass cantata BWV 56. This one was really beatifull. Bass Klaus Mertens is very convincing, definitely one of the best in this repertoir. The "sudden" appearance of the choir with the concluding choral was a very exciting experience for me.

All in all - a highly recommended series, if you have a chance to see it, buhere I have some disappointing news: I finally did get a reply to my e-mail from NCRV TV in the Netherland, but they said that this series was not issued on commercial videotapes because of sound quality problems! We are out of luck here...

 

Koopman - Videos

Kirk McElhearn wrote (April 9, 2000):
For the past two Sundays, the French satellite music channel has been playing Ton Koopman videos at 9 AM. Each film is one hour long, and presents some biographical info about Bach, and then Koopman and his band play a cantata. The first was BWV 106, and today was BWV 131. The films are not very interesting except for the cantata performances. The biographical stuff is pretty hokey, with characters in powdered wigs and horse-drawn carriages, and unfortunately Koopman does not talk much about the cantatas that he plays. In addition, the film is peppered with bits and pieces of Bach's music, all very short and out of context.

The cantata performances, however, make it worthwhile. They are interesting, and provide a nice way to learn more about the works, through watching performers play. These films were made for Dutch TV in 1997, and apparently there are 4 of them. I don't know if they are available on video, and Cor Knops, Koopman's webmaster, had not ever heard of them when I queried him...

Sybrand Bakker wrote (April 9, 2000):
Videos have been recently broadcasted by NCRV so it is a bit strange Mr. Knops doesn't know about them. AFAIK, there are 6 of them, with one very funny performance of the Kaffee Kantate, with Klaus Mertens as Herr Schlendrian and Anne Grimm as Liesgen. Perfect casting, performance in costumes, in an 18th century coffeehouse. You may want to get in touch with the NCRV (www.ncrv.nl), though I don't know whether they sell them.

 

Some thoughts about Koopman’s cantatas / Koopman on TV

Kirk McElhearn wrote (December 29, 2001):
While I don't own any recordings by Koopman, I have been watching the videos of the cantatas he made a few years ago. They come up on the music channel I have by satellite every few months. Recently, I watched BWV 131. Not only is this one of my favorite cantatas, but it is certainly performed excellently. The oboist and violinist who play the solos are excellent, and the singers are fine. Klaus Mertens has excellent presence watching him sing, but the soprano (I didn't catch her name) tends to exaggerate a bit. This is one of the drawbacks of "watching" music - you see the performers and your feelings can be changed by their visual aspects. This said, Ton certainly chooses some attractive female chorists...

A side note on musical videos and DVDs - Aryeh, I didn't find anything on the site, but you will have to add a video/DVD section for recordings. I recently received three Bach DVDs:

Glorious Bach!, by Harnoncourt. BWV 61, BWV 147 and BWV 243
B Minor Mass (BWV 232), by Georg Christoph Biller, Thomaskantor
Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), by Gardiner, including two documentaries on the Cantata Pilgrimage and Gardiner in Saxony and Thuringia.

I will post reviews when I write them.

Does anyone have a reference for the Koopman DVDs?

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 29, 2001):
Encouraged by Kirk message I sat down on my chair this afternoon for a three-hour adventure of listening to Ton Koopman and his forces performing six Bach Cantatas. This video was waiting for me for about a year. Ehud Shiloni in his kindness lent it to me after I had written my review of Cantata BWV 56. Actually, I heard these performances before, because they were broadcasted in the Israeli TV, but it was a by-pass listening. Today I was sitting concentrated, knowing already most of the cantatas from the weekly cantata discussions.

Unlike the original TV programmes, the video lent to me by Ehud includes the names of the vocal soloists and exact timing which is running on the screen along all the programmes. Therefore I could write down the names of the singers and the exact playing time for each cantata. All the details can be found in the following page of the Bach Cantatas Website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Koopman-TV.htm
These renditions are different from those that Koopman recorded for Erato.

I do not have enough time to write detailed review, because I am still listening and working on my review of next week cantata – BWV 122. But here are my main impressions.

The general level of performance is very high from all the participants – orchestra, choir, solo singers, solo instrumentalist. Koopman himself is better in the more intimate cantatas, such as BWV 106 and BWV 131. In these cantatas he succeeds to create magical and spirited atmosphere, which brings out the best of both cantatas. In the larger scale cantatas, such as BWV 140 and BWV 147, his approach is lacking somewhat in vigour, boldness grandeur and drive, especially in the choral movements. It is also interesting to note that his tempos sound ‘normal’, whereas in many of his cantata recordings for Erato he tends to be brisk, too brisk IMO, up to losing sometimes the ‘heart’ of the cantata.

The choir and the orchestra are fine along all the 6 cantatas. Their size varies from 4 members to about 20, and I have to admit that I find Koopman’s choices satisfactory in most of the cases. Two instrumentalists have to be singled out - the bright and sensitive violinist and the oboist, Marcel Ponseele. His name is not mentioned in the TV programmes, but a picture in the site: http://www.bach.co.jp/marcelprofile.htm reveals to us the ‘secret’. His behaviour as is seen on the screen is misleading. When you look at him, he looks detached and uninvolved, immersed in his own internal world. But when you close your eyes, and let yourself listening to the music without the visual imagery, you can hear how attuned and sensitive is he to the singers with whom he is playing.

Some words must be said about the singers. The bass Klaus Mertens sings in all the 6 cantatas, and succeeds to maintain high level in all, although the demands they set are quite different from each other. In BWV 56, for example, he shows how to hold a long line, with minimal vibrato, and be expressive at the same time. Although his performance belongs to the highest level he still cannot erase from my memory Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who has made this cantata his own, with 4 recordings, very different from each other. In the Gramophone article, posted to us yesterday by Michael Grover, DFD is quoted, ‘‘It’s impossible [to understand Bach]. His music is the language of the soul, so we can never fully understand him.’ For Fischer-Dieskau, the problem with many Bach performances, both live and recorded, is their lack of spontaneity. ‘It’s an easy trap to fall into. The music obviously requires careful preparation, but there’s a danger of over-rehearsing (a problem that Bach must seldom have faced).” Mertens certainly does not sound as spontaneous (and therefore, as sincere) as DFD has managed to sound in most of the cases along his long and fruitful career. I would like also to hear more ‘bottom’ in Mertens’ voice, as I hear with some great singers from the past, such as Kieth Engen and Hans Sotin. But I am not complaining. Mertens is making the outmost with the tool he is equipped with.

Of the three sopranos, I prefer Lisa Larsson. She has bell-like timbre, and strong and stable voice. She holds the long lines beautifully with delicate expression. Els Bongers, who sings solo only in BWV 106, tends to sound a little bit screamy in the upper register. Anne Gr, who is part of the choir in the first five cantatas, is given the solo part in the Coffee Cantata BWV 211. She sounds young and fresh and very convincing in the role of the stubborn and sharp daughter. Lothar Odinius sings all the tenor parts (except in Cantata BWV 56, which is a solo cantatas for bass). It is a pity that he has not recorded with Koopman in the frame of the Erato series, since he is indeed good. He is a pleasant and expressive voice, which reminds me somewhat Aldo Baldin. He does not have the penetrating quality, which is essential for a good Evangelist, but he is not called to sing the Evangelist here. The only problem he has is his tendency to use too much vibrato in the long lines. And sometimes it becomes irritating. Elisabeth von Magnus (Harnoncourt’s daughter) has a velvet and warm voice and she does not lack anything in expressive terms. She is the only alto singer in this mini-series, but alas, she has to sing only in two – BWV 106 and BWV 147.

I have two last notes about individual cantatas. In cantata BWV 211, all the three singers are demanded to only to sing but also to play. All three seem to feel very relaxed and comfortable in their roles – Mertens as the father, Grimm as the daughter, and Odinius as the story-teller (and the bridegroom?). This is a perfect cast. In BWV 56, the choir appears from nowhere in the last movement, as Ehud wrote in his review this cantata. Although the choir does not included any boy, they it sound like a choir of angels, welcoming the voyager after his long journey when he is entering the gates of heaven. A moving moment to conclude this marvellous series.

Ehud Shiloni wrote (December 30, 2001):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Koopman on TV
Unlike the original TV programmes, the video lent to me by Ehud includes the names of the vocal soloists and exact timing which is running on the screen along all the programmes. >
-Hold your search-engines - this video production has unfortunately not been made available for commercial sale. The video which I lent to Aryeh is a working copy which came my way [it's a long story] and I learned from the producer - NVRC TV - that the decision not to release was made because of "sound problems". I must admit that I did not detect such problems when I was listening to the material.

< Two instrumentalists have to be singled out - the bright and sensitive violinist >
-Her name is Margaret Faultless [and a very appropriate name it is!]

< The bass Klaus Mertens sings in all the 6 cantatas, and succeeds to maintain high level in all, <snip> I would like also to hear more 'bottom' in Mertens' voice, as I hear with some great singers from the past, such as Kieth Engen and Hans Sotin. >
-Ah, Sotin. Yes, if only Mertens had that extra-loooowww "colour" he would have personified perfection...

< But I am not complaining. >
-Right..

< In BWV 56, the choir appears from nowhere in the last movement >
-For that moment alone it is worth your effort to get to see this video recording. And, BTW, the entire six-cantata series is dominated by the "spirit" of BWV 56, with the powerfull opening of "Kreuitzstab" serving as the musical framework for the presentation of each piece.

 

Ton Koopman's Bach Cantatas on TV [MCML]

Drew M. Capuder wrote (December 9, 2004):
I've been watching some of the Bach Cantatas conducted by Ton Koopman on the Ovation channel. Does anyone know how many cantata performances Koopman filmed, and where they might be available? And which cantatas he filmed? I taped 4 programs containing 4 cantatas, but I have no idea how many there are in the filmed series. I'm aware of his complete cantata cycle on CD, but I'm focusing for the moment on the cantatas he filmed for TV or video sales or whatever. Thanks very much.

Scott Morisson wrote (December 9, 2004):
[To Drew M. Capuder] The only Ton Koopman DVD I find listed at Amazon.com is one in which only one cantata appears (along with primarily an organ/harpsichord collection of Koopman playing fabulously), and it's the solo cantata 'Ich habe genug,' with bass Klaus Mertens singing. ('Schlummert ein' is done well.) I reviewed this DVD here: Amazon.com

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 9, 2004):
[To Drew M. Capuder] Please take a look at the following page of the Bach Cantatas Website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Koopman-TV.htm

BTW, a new DVD was released last month with Koopman conducting the Magnificat BWV 243a and Cantata BWV 10. See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Koopman-Rec3.htm [O-5]

Drew M. Capuder wrote (December 12, 2004):
I wrote:
<< I've been watching some of the Bach Cantatas conducted by Ton Koopman on the Ovation channel. Does anyone know how many cantata performances Koopman filmed, and where they might be available? ... >>
And Scott Morrison replied:
< The only Ton Koopman DVD I find listed at Amazon.com is one in which only one cantata appears (along with primarily an organ/harpsichord collection of Koopman playing fabulously), and it's the solo cantata 'Ich habe genug,' with bass Klaus Mertens singing. ('Schlummert ein' is done well.) I reviewed this DVD here: Amazon.com>
Scott, thanks very much for your note. I had also found the Koopman DVD on Amazon, but your fine review provides for the first time detailed info on the contents. And I'll go ahead and order the DVD the next time I place an Amazon order. I've been on a Bach listening binge lately, and there are a number of Bach DVDs that look interesting.

Drew M. Capuder wrote (December 12, 2004):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Please take a look at the following page of the Bach Cantatas Website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Koopman-TV.htm
BTW, a new DVD was released last month with Koopman conducting the Magnificat BWV 243a and Cantata BWV 10.
See:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Koopman-Rec3.htm [O-5] >
Thanks for your note, and I've really enjoyed the Bach Cantatas web site. From the page you listed above, I gather there were six filmed cantatas, and I managed to tape 4 of them (and part of a 5th, the Coffee Cantata) from the Ovation channel. I hope they'll reshow them so I can finish taping all of them.

Thanks for the info on the recent Koopman DVD with the Magnificat and the Cantata. I did a quick check on Amazon and Tower and couldn't find it. Do you know if its going to be released in the USA?

Thanks again.

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 12, 2004):
Drew M. Capuder wrote:
< Thanks for your note, and I've really enjoyed the Bach Cantatas web site. >
Thanks for your kind words. If you love the Bach Cantatas, you are invited to join the Bach Cantatas Mailing List (BCML). The instructions how to join the BCML and how to post messages appear in the page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/How.htm The second cycle of cantata discussions is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2005. This round the cantatas will be discussed chronologically, in the order J.S. Bach initially performed them.

< Thanks for the info on the recent Koopman DVD with the Magnificat and the Cantata. I did a quick check on Amazon and Tower and couldn't find it. Do you know if its going to be released in the USA? >
The DVD is distributed by Naxos. So there is a good probability that it will be released in the USA. Please check with Naxos Website.

 

Ton Koopman: Short Biography | Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir
Recordings of Vocal Works:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Recordings of Instrumental Works: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Koopman’s Petition | Newsletters
Cantatas::
Koopman on TV | Cantatas Vol. 1 | Cantatas Vol. 6 | Cantatas Vol. 9 | Cantatas Vol. 10 | Cantatas Vol. 13 | Cantatas Vol. 14 | Cantatas Vol. 17 | Cantatas Vol. 22
Other Vocal Works:
BWV 244 - T. Koopman | BWV 247 - T. Koopman
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Ton Koopman’s Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 | Bach Sonatas for Gamba and Harpsichord | Review: Bach Orchestral Suites DVD
Discussions of Instrumental Recordings:
Die Kunst der Fuge BWV 1080 - played by T. Koopman
Books:
The World of the Bach Cantatas [by C. Wolff & T. Koopman]
Article:
Bach’s Choir and Orchestra [by T. Koopman]
Table of recordings by BWV Number

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