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Anders Öhrwall
Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works
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Most unusual recordings of BWV 61 and "Zadok the Priest"

Teri Noel Towe wrote (January 30, 2002):

Yesterday, as a bit of a treat after having been housebound with the flu for nearly two weeks, I paid a visit to Academy Records on West 18th Street, New York's premier dealer in second CDs and collectors' LPs.

Among the many interesting CDs that I came across in the "Budget Section" is a Proprius compact disc (Catalogue No. PRCD 9120) that showcases the Adolf Fredriks Bachkor and the Drottningholm Ensemble under the direction of Anders Öhrwall in choral works by Bach, Händel, and Schütz. All but one of the 17 tracks was recorded at a pair of concerts in late November, 1983.

Some of the repertoire is particularly interesting.

Ohrwall directs an exciting and delicately colored performance of Händel's "Zadok the Priest" to a Swedish text appropriate to the Christmas season. Händel certainly would not have complained, and, once I adjusted myelf to the "weird" text, I found myself listening to one of the finest interpretations of this anthem that it has been my privilege to hear.

Ohrwall also directs a complete performance of Bach's Advent Cantata, BWV 61, once again with a Swedish text. It is another satisfying HIP performance, once one gets used to the Swedish text. The tempi are fleet in the main and the soloists are pure of tone.

The CD also contains, yet again to a Swedish text, a performance of one of the three hymn texts of Charles Wesley that Händel set.

A most unusual and most enjoyable, and it is one that would be overlooked by almost every discographer.

It makes me wonder what else likr this there is that those of us in the purported "main stream" don't get to hear.

Per Backstrom wrote (January 30, 2002):

[To Teri noel Towe] Maybe Storkyrkans recording of Messiah, with very good soloists? That is if you prefer singers with more voice than Emma Kirby. Somewhat historically informed opera singers.

I must admit I never bought the Ohrwall CD TNT mentioned. Maybe I should, as Swedish is my native language.

I heard many fine concerts led by Anders Öhrwall. Often Bach, once Monteverdi's Vespri and once Frank Martin's Mass for double choir. I think Ohrwall has retired now. He had a stroke a few years ago, resumed conducting after some time, but never really got as good again as he used to be. If you knew about his stroke you could see traces of it in the way he moved.

Also for some reason Adolf Fredrik Church stopped supporting the choir, which has now found its home at Nalen, a former dancing hall which was beautifully restored and converted into a concert hall. I don't remember who leads the choir now, maybe it use different conductors for different concerts.

There has been a very rich music activity in the churches of Stockholm. It started in a time when even companies had to pay tax to the churches. It has diminished somewhat but is still richer than in most other cities. Remains to be seen how the future will be, now when the Church of Sweden has been completely liberated from the state, with the exception that the state still collects the fee for membership. A very high part of the Swedish people are still members though a minority visits the churches on a regular basis, except for Advent and Christmas, and concerts.

Teri Noel Towe wrote (January 30, 2002):

[To Per Backstrom] If the recording of Messiah is the one that I think that you mean -- issued to commemorate the anniversary of an annual series of concert performances -- it is unfortunately cut. My copy is at my house in the country, and I am in the City this week, so I shall have to wait until I go back to RI to verify.

Thanks for the update on the history of the Choir.

The performance of "Zadok the Priest" really is wonderful.

Anders Öhrwall: Short Biography | Stockholm Bach Choir | Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble | Recordings | Discussions | Motets – Harnoncourt

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