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Hermann Max & Rheinische Kantorei & Das Kleine Konzert

Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

General Discussions

Max’s SJP
H. Max's Passion "Pasticcio"

Marten Breuer wrote (December 2, 2003):
David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote: < I am also interested in Hermann Max's recordings. I have heard him interpretations. I had a recording (and have the copy i taped of it) of Telemann's Passionsoratorium "Betrachte der neunte Sutnde der Todestage Jesu" and liked it. Has anyone heard his interpretation of the 1749 version of the Johannespassion? If so, what do you think of it (especially compared with the Suzuki recording everyone seems to be bombarded with)? It is a good purchase? >
IMO, the Suzuki recording is the better one. I first purchased the Max recording because I liked the soloists but the recording didn't touch me. Very fast tempi, very perfect performance but to my ears - very little emotion. Compared to this, Suzuki in my judgment has much more depth.

< Also, slightly off-topic here, does anyone know where I could find Max's recording of the Passionsoratorium "Wer ist der, so von Edom kömmt", and the works that make up the oratorio (with the movement number and the corresponding movement numbers they have in the oratorio)? >

The recording is no longer available, see:

Riccardo Nughes wrote (December 2, 2003):
[To Marten Breuser] You can find it at

Telemann, Graun, Bach, Altnikol & Kuhnau: 'Wer Ist Der, So Von Edom Kommt' Passions-Pasticcio. Bach, Cantata #127. (Vocal Soloists w.Rheinische Kantorei & Das Kleine Konzert/Max)
Add to cart | Price: $ 17.98 | 2 in set. | Country: GERMANY | D/A code: D | Code: 54244 | BRO Code: 12772 | Label: EMI/ANGEL | Genre: Cantatas
Berkshire Record Outlet

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (December 3, 2003):
[To Riccardo Nughes] Thanks. I will try this link.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (December 3, 2003):
[To Marten Breuer] Thanks. I will put your comments and recommendations ot use.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (December 3, 2003):
[To Riccardo Nughes] I found it. It seems reasonably priced for 2 CDs.


Any Hermann Max Fans Here?

Sw Anandgyan wrote (February 17, 2005):
I was so pleased with the SMP (BWV 244) from Herman Max that I ventured ordering the SJP (BWV 245) and the MBM (BWV 232) from him.

I have a soft spot for those conductors not considered 'biggies' such as Herreweghe, Suzuki, Gardiner or Harnoncourt. Basically I have in mind Diego Fasolis and to some extent Helmuth Rilling (although he may be a biggie in his field ) and, the point of my post, Hermann Max.

The SJP is indeed fast; that is what I read and what I can notice. I could add that this makes it not as savoury as it could be; it's like reading a story to a kid after having drank a double espresso, no one will be left sleeping after that ;-)

Seriously*, no blemishes nor any quirkiness here, still I'd like to have some feedback from someone who knows this conductor's work.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 17, 2005):
[To Sw Anandgyan] I, too, like Max. However, I do champion "biggies". The difference, though, is which ones. To me, Herreweghe, Fasolis, Suzuki, and the like are not "biggies", although they are highly championed by most members of this forum and its sister-forums. I personally (with the exception possibly of Suzuki's Johannespassion (BWV 245) and Kantatezyklus recordings) do not like any of them. Even Rilling (whom I would classify as a "biggie") is very slightly tolerable, as is Harnoncourt, etc. For me, the ones I champion are real "biggies", though not always well-known. I champion some in different areas than others as well. The ones I champion as Conductors and Performers are: Peter Schreier, Ton Koopman, Franz Brüggen, Roy Goodman, Reinhard Goebels, Sigiswald Kuijken, and the three real "biggies" of Performer/Conductors: Karl Richter, Ludwig Güttler, and Gustav Leonhardt. I also champion Hermann Max, Wolfgang Helbich, Christoph Brembeck, Heinz Henning, and the like. The third and last category inthis field (Bach music interpretation) is truly a category of Conductors (with some that also performed as well). That is because they all have one thing in common: they all held the same position that Bach did for the last 27 years of his life--that of Kantor of the Thomaskirche zu Leipzig. As you could probably guess, the artists of this category are: Karl Straube, Guenther Ramin, Kurt Thomas, Erhard Mauersberger (and also his brother Rudolf, who was associated with the Dresdener Kreuzchor), Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, and now Georg Biller.


Hermann Max, three cantatas

Lex Schelvis wrote (May 14, 2006):
This morning I attended a concert in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam (one of the better places to hear Bach) by Das Kleine Konzert & Rheinische Kantorei, director Hermann Max. They played a cantata by Johann Ludwig Bach: 'Die Weisheit kommt nicht in eine boshafte Seele', the Motette 'Der Geist hilft unserer Schwachheit auf" (BWV 226), and 'Ich hab' in Gottes Herz und Sinn' (BWV 92). The big surprise for me was the composition by Johann Ludwig, everybody always told me he was a minor composer, but I don't agree, now that I've heard this cantata. I should have known, Bach probably played 18 cantatas by his cousin in 1726, so he really must have liked the music. (I still don't like the Luke Passion though.)

For the interested ones: only this week the concert is on internet:

Go to, click on 'Luisterkamer' left on the screen, then 'Radio-archief' on the right side of your screen, then on 'Zondagochtend Concert'.

Continue of this discussion, see: Bach Family [General Topics]

Neil Halliday wrote (May 19, 2006):
Lex Schelvis wrote:
<"Go to, click on 'Luisterkamer' left on the screen, then 'Radio-archief' on the right side of your screen, then on 'Zondagochtend Concert'.">
Thanks for the link. I liked the final chorus of the JLB cantata, but the rich texture of JSB's double choir motet BWV 226, beautifully rendered by Max's forces, is obviously the work of a greater composer.
I compared Max's BWV 92 with Rilling's recording.

BWV 92/1. The opening movement flows nicely, without the hint of rigidity that I hear in Rilling's performance, and despite the pointed articulation of Max's period strings, which is not my preferred mode of expression. Max's full choir sound is as pleasing as Rilling, in this beautiful music. Tempo is the same as Rilling.

BWV 92/2. Rilling uses harpsichord for the recitative/arioso bits and organ for the chorale bits, in this movement that Robertson describes as "scrappy". This helps maintain interest, in contrast to the sameness of the organ registration all through, in the Max realisation.

BWV 92/3. I find Max's period strings show some loss of clarity and strength in the exciting writing for strings, in comparison to Rilling's modern strings.

BWV 92/4. Pleasing in both performances.

BWV 92/5. Max has improved on the scrappy short secco recitative accompaniment pioneered by Harnoncourt, simply by holding the chords for a longer time.

BWV 92/6. Both interesting performances; Rilling's is more vigorous with more impact.

BWV 92/7. Rilling makes a more substantial movement of this, by allotting the chorale sections to the full choir thus forming a contrast to theintervening B,T,A, and finally S recitative sections, as opposed to the wholly OVPP approach of Max. Once again, Rilling uses the organ in the `chorale' sections, and harpsichord in the `recitative' sections. Robertson considers this movement to be much more satisfying the "scrappy" second movement.

BWV 92/8. This "exquisite" (Robertson) soprano aria, with oboe and pizzicato strings, is lovely in both performances.

BWV 92/9. Both fine performances. The pointedness of the choral articulation in Max's full choir performance is not overdone.


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