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Magnificat BWV 243a
Conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock

V-2

A. Lotti: Missa Sapientiae / J.S.Bach: Magnificat BWV 243a

Magnificat BWV 243a [32:00]
A. Lotti: Missa Sapientiae in G minor, arranged by J.D. Zelenka [29:40]

Thomas Hengelbrock

Balthasar-Neumann-Chor / Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble

Sopranos: Dorothee Mields, Constanze Backes; Altos (Counter-tenors): Bernhard Landauer, Jürgen Banholzer; Tenor: Hermann Oswald; Bass: Wolf-Matthias Friedrich

Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77534

Nov 15-18, 2000

CD / TT: 61:40

Recorded at Evangelische Kirche, Gönningen.
See: Magnificat BWV 243 - conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock
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(Hengelbrock's) new Magnificat

Neil Halliday wrote (November 7, 2003):
Amazon.de

My impression of these samples:

The positive side of this Hengelbrock recording of the (E flat) Magnificat is the generally strong instrumental playing, without the exaggerated and/or weak articulation that mars some period performances (eg, the Concerto Copenhagen recording of the 1st movement of the E major Harpsichord Concerto I heard last night, in which the upper strings were so weak that the piece might as well have been for solo harpsichord. One pictures the violinist(s) poking at the strings with bow movements restricted to one inch in either direction.)

Re ther Magnificat: I find it interesting to compare with my LP of the (D major) Magnificat, with the Vienna State Opera Chorus and Orchestra under Auberson, with Maria Stader et al. (Concert Hall stereo LP from the 60's).

The main difference in the impact of the music arises from the generally faster tempos adopted by Hegelberg; the differences in instrumental timbre, articulation and key signature seem to account for very little, (and as for temperament, I don't know if the Hengelberg is in something other than equal-temperament, and I don't know if it's important.) Both recordings seem to be very effective, to me.

Hengelbrock is too fast in #18 (Omnes generationes, BTW these nos. refer to the sample nos), definetly too fast in #22 (Fecit potentiam), where things are starting to get smudgy (but Auberson is a little slow), too fast in #24 (Deposuit potentes) - there is no need for a tempo this fast.

Movement 25 (Esurientes implevit) is fine in both recordings, with Auberson a little slower.

The 'Et miserecordia' is very moving in both recordings, for my taste even more so in the slower Auberson.

Both conductors adopt the same speed for #27 (Suscepit Israel), and both recordings are equally beautiful.

Uri Golomb wrote (November 7, 2003):
[To Neil Halliday] I'm not suprised you momentarily confused Hengelbrock and Mengelberg. It's not just the similarity in names... I haven't heard Hengelbrock's Magnificat yet, but I know his B minor Mass very well -- and in several cases (including the very opening of the work) it reminds me of Mengleberg's SMP... There are differences, obviously, and my own personal response is different: I love the Hengelbrock Mass and for the most part can't stand the Mengelberg SMP But I can't ignore the similarities: most notably, they both project a far wider dynamic range than is "fashionable" in Bach. (And yes, Mengleberg's Bach was unfashionable by the standards of his time, too, to judge from the few other recordings made before WW II, or shortly thereafter: compare Mengleberg with Walter and Furtwangler, for example....)

 

Magnificat (Hengelbrock)

Johan van Veen wrote (December 6, 2003):
Yesterday I was listening to the new recording of the Magnificat in the E flat version as recorded by the Balthasar-Neuman-Chor & Ensemble, directed by Thomas Hengelbrock.

One interesting aspect of this performance is that it is performed at the 'French chamber pitch' of a'=392 Hz. In the Bach Compendium (ed. M. Boyd) this is referred to (in the article about 'pitch') as 'tief-Cammerton'.

Thanks to Johann Kuhnau woodwind instruments in 'tief-Cammerton' were available, and Bach seems to have made use of that during the first ond and a half year in Leipzig.

As Ulrich Leisinger writes in the liner notes, the result is a more mellow timbre, which underlines the specific character of this work. Interestingly he states that the performance of the E flat version on Christmas Day 1723 was not the first, but the second. The first seems to have been on July 2, 1723, the feast of the Visitation, which was celebrated in Leipzig. The 'mellow' sound seems to me quite appropriate for this feast. The Christmas 'interpolations' were added for the second performance.

Does anyone know whether this is this the first recording at this pitch?

BTW: the real stunner on this CD is the 'Missa Sapientiae' by Antonio Lotti, recorded in the of Jan Dismas Zelenka, which he prepared for performance in Dresden around 1730. It's a really great work and it is easy to understand why the likes of Zelenka, Bach and Handel were attracted to Lotti's music.

Riccardo Nughes wrote (December 6, 2003):
< Yesterday I was listening to the new recording of the Magnificat in the E flat version as recorded by the Balthasar-Neuman-Chor & Ensemble, directed by Thomas Hengelbrock. <cut> >
Thanks for the interesting info about this recording, Johan.Can you tell me please who are the solo singers in this recording?

Johan van Veen wrote (December 6, 2003):
To Riccardo Nughes] The choir contains quite a number of singers who are renowned soloists. They also sing the solo parts:

(1) Et exsultavit - Constanze Backes (s)
(2) Quia respexit - Dorothee Mields (s)
(3) Quia fecit - Wolf Matthias Friedrich (b)
(4) Et misericordia eius - Jürgen Banholzer (a), Hans-Jörg Mammel (t)
(5) Deposuit potentes - Hermann Oswald (t)
(6) Esurientes implevit - Bernhard Landauer (a)
(7) Virga Jesse floruit - Dorothee Mields (s), Wolf Matthias Friedrich (b)

Bradley Lehman wrote (December 6, 2003):
Johan van Veen wrote:
< Yesterday I was listening to the new recording of the Magnificat in the E flat version as recorded by the Balthasar-Neuman-Chor & Ensemble, directed by Thomas Hengelbrock.
One interesting aspect of this performance is that it is performed at the 'French chamber pitch' of a'=392 Hz. (...)
Does anyone know whether this is this the first recording at this pitch? >
Except for the fine shadings of temperament, E-flat major at a'=392 is the same pitch as D major at a'=415.

And 415 is pretty much a standard (now) for many period-instrument performances of Baroque music: half a step be"modern pitch" of a'=440. (For the convenience of having a standard for the reconstruction of period-instrument copies.)

To do the E-flat version at 392, they could even use some parts from the D-major version if they wanted to, with 415 instruments. I don't know one way or the other if they did or not; haven't heard this recording yet.

Johan van Veen wrote (December 6, 2003):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Except for the fine shadings of temperament, E-flat major at a'=392 is the same pitch as D major at a'=415.
And 415 is pretty much a standard (now) for many period-instrument performances of Baroque music: half a step below "modern pitch" of a'=440. (For the convenience of *having* a standard for the reconstruction of period-instrument copies.) >
Yes, I know. There isn't anything strange about that. But I was just curious to know whether someone has done the E flat version before at this pitch. I just read a review of Herreweghe's recent recording of the same version - which I haven't heard yet - and he is performing this version at the pitch a'=415. The reviewer - Matthias Hengelbrock, of whom I don't know if he is related to Thomas - strongly criticises him for doing so.

I don't know that many recordings of the E flat version. I can remember one by Hermann Max and one by Simon Preston (with the Academy of Ancient Music), and I am pretty sure neither of them does perform at the pitch of a'=392.

< To do the E-flat version at 392, they could even use some parts from the D-major version if they wanted to, with 415 instruments. I don't know one way or the other if they did or not; haven't heard this recording yet. >
As far as I can tell the E flat version is performed in its original form.

Marten Breuer wrote (September 10, 2003):
Johan van Veen wrote:
< Does anyone know whether this is this the first recording at this pitch? >
I am not sure whether or not your answer has already been answered. Anyway, for details see: http://www.s-line.de/homepages/bachdiskographie/vok_lat/vok_lat_magnificat.htm

Johan van Veen wrote (December 11, 2003):
[To Marten Breuer] Thanks for the useful link! A very interesting and good site.

 

Butt's book about articulation in Bach, and an organ recording by him

John Pike wrote (April 18, 2004):
PS I have recently listened to the Hengelbrock recording of BWV 243a (the E flat version of the magnificat) and the Lotti Mass. I thoroughly enjoyed the performances of both works...nice and crisp. The fast tempi work very well most of the time, but sometimes at the expense of clarity in diction.

 

Magnificats BWV 243 & BWV 243a: Details
Recordings: 1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | BWV 243a | Individual Movements
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Systematic Discussions: BWV 243 | BWV 243a
Individual Recordings:
BWV 243 - E. Haïm | BWV 243 - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 243a - T. Hengelbrock | BWV 243 - P. McCreesh | BWV 243 - J. Rifkin | BWV 243 - H. Rilling | BWV 243 - R. Shaw | BWV 243 - M. Suzuki | BWV 243a - P. Herreweghe

Thomas Hengelbrock: Short Biography | Balthasar-Neumann-Chor | Freiburger Barockorchester | Recordings of Vocal Works
Individual Recordings:
BWV 232 - T. Hengelbrock | BWV 243a - T. Hengelbrock

Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

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Last update: ęDecember 9, 2008 ę00:11:45