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Karl Münchinfer & Stuttgarter Kammerorchester

Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

General Discussions

Advice please

N. Hopkins
wrote (January 3, 2001):
There is a 10-CD re-release of Karl Münchinger conducted Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), Easter Oratorio (BWV 249), St Johns Passion (BWV 245), Mass in B Minor (BWV 232), and Passion According to St Matthew (BWV 244) for $79. I can't tell who all of the performers are but some are Ameling, Pears, all good. It looks like the original recordings were in the 1970's. Is this worth it? Thanks in advance.

William D. Kasimer wrote (January 3, 2001):
(To N. Hopkins) I've heard several of the above performances. As a rule, the soloists
are excellent and the recordings are well executed, but Münchinger is about the dullest Bach conductor I've ever heard. Anyone who can't bring the St. Matthew to life, with a cast of Pears, Wunderlich, Krause, Prey, Ameling, et al, ought to be taken out and shot.

N. Hopkins wrote (January 4, 2001):
(To William D. Kasimer) Thanks. nothing is fool-proof to a talented fool.

Charles Francis wrote (January 6, 2001):
(To N. Hopkins) Nothing against the Münchinger set (which I have), but you might also want to consider the similar-priced Archiv 10-CD re-release with Karl Richter "Sacred Masterpieces". This collection lacks the Easter Oratorio (BWV 249), but is the same otherwise. Both use pre-HIP tempos, with perhaps a hint more drama and emotional depth in the Richter. The CD-notes are excellent and include an insightful analysis by the famed Bach musicologist Georg von Dadelsen definitively resolving the question as to whether the B-minor Mass (BWV 232) is "Lutheran", "Universal" or "Roman Catholic".

A Münchinger reissue

Riccardo Nughes wrote (July 24, 2003):
An old lp featuring Cantatas BWV 51 & BWV 202 has been reissued by Testament, featuring also other tracks by Bach, Schutz, Gluck & others.

I've listened the audio extrait and I admit I've found it charming. It seems to confirm that the early Münchinger recordings were caracterized by a lightness and a clarity often missing in his later ones.

New Arrival

S.W. Anadgyan wrote (January 6, 2004):
I do wish you three hundred and sixty more good days ...

It was today in Montréal that I was able to purchase the Mass in B Minor (BWV 232)done by Konrad Junghänel and the Cantus Cölln. I did listen to it entirely but just once.

My first impression; it is "precious" as in delicate, as in a drive in a convertible antique on a summery Sunday afternoon in the country. It is very nice but it doesn't grab me often. I'm wondering why the Parrott OVPP version was not so " obvious " to my ears as this one is when it comes to minimal forces. There was a section with the violins in the Gloria that was so rendered in a peculiar way, it seemed the emphasis was put somewhere else than what I'm accustomed to.

I was able to acquire the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and I'm very happy with this recording though again I haven't come around to listen to it more than once. There was the latest Herreweghe, Münchinger's MBM and XO finding their way to my collection thanks to a sale that made their acquisition enticing.

I still intend to pursue my Bach immersion and refine my written expositions; amateurs don't rule !

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (January 6, 2004):
[To S.W. Anandgyan] I have heard Münchinger's Weinachtsoratorium and (not to discourage, but to maybe enlighten) found it wanting (as with his interpretations of the Messe h-Moll, the Magnificat, the Matthäuspassion (BWV 244), and the Johannespassion (BWV 245)).

The chief problem I have with it is the density and the dullness. He seems not to bring out the emotional aspects and the language of the music, but to treat it as a student does his/her books. In other words, it seemed to me that his interpretations were rigid and lifeless.

I have also heard Richter's and Rilling's (for all except the Magnificat) interpretations as well as those of the Thomanerchor Leipaig and Ton Koopman (his interpretation of the Weinachtsoratorium, the Matthäuspassion (BWV 244), and the Johannespassion (BWV 245)) and found these better. Here are some really good recordings, which bring out the life and the language of the music.

So if you want to get Münchinger's recordings, well and good, but be carefull.

Richard Gueriaux wrote (January 8, 2004):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] I agree that Münchinger's recording of Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) is dominated by routine. Harnoncourt is enthusiastic, but the instruments are so poor...

We have to regret that Fritz Lehmann recording is not available for the moment...

Peter Bright wrote (January 8, 2004):
[To Richard Gueriaux] My own favourite of the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) recordings is that by Suzuki and Bach Collegium Japa, from a few years ago. Small-ish forces, unhurried, graceful playing and beautifully performed chorales - a fine achievement...

Bob Henderson wrote (January 8, 2004):
[To Peter Bright] Ditto Suzuki's XO (BWV 248). The best. No question. For all the reasons cited. And then there is Mera's superb and unusual contribution.

Sorry but…

Peter Bright wrote (August 7, 2005):
I couldn't withold my good fortune from you all... I was wandering around a charity shop in Cambridge yesterday and found in the 1 UKP corner:

1 pound (that's half a cappuccino in this town):

The complete Decca mono vinyl set of the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) conducted by Karl Münchinger (with Peter Pears, Hermann Prey, Fritz Wunderlich et al., and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra).

All 8 sides, in glorious original mono and not a scratch to be heard. Incidentally, the recording was issued in 1965 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the SCO by Munchinger. The wonderful booklet has great photos of the conducter and crew, beautiful notes, full score, and a description of how the orchestra and choirs were distributed.

Back to the turntable then...

Eric Bergerud wrote (August 8, 2005):
[To Peter Bright] One of the few LPs that still gets any use at my house is Münchiner's Musical Offering. Definitely not HIP but a beautiful recording in that lovely old Decca/London stereo sound.

Karl Münchinger: Short Biography | Stuttgarter Kammerorchester | Recordings & General Discussions | BWV 244 - Münchinger

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