Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

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

Other Vocal Works BWV 225-249

General Discussions - Part 1

4 Passions

Piet Wester
wrote (March 25, 1999):
When you live in Holland please hurry to the "Het Kruidvat" drugstore. They sell Bach’s 4 Passions for fl. 19,95.

And in the contrary to what you would expect: excellent performances and recording.

* Matthews Passion (BWV 244), directed by Paul Goodwin
* Johannes Passion, directed by Stephen Cleobury with the Brandenburg Consort and King's College Choir. It has an appendix with music from the 1725 version.
* Lukas Passion, by Balinger Cantorei and Kammerochester Tübingen, directed by Gerhard Rehm. This is probably not by Bach, but worthwhile, listening to.
* Markus Passion, by the Ring Ensemble and European Union Baroque orchestra directed by Roy Goodman. The music of the Markus Passion is lost, but on this record reconstructed by Simon Heighes, I thought with music from the Trauerode and may be other cantatas.

The soloists are also all unknown to me. But the performances are very good to my opinion.

The only drawback is the missing of textbooks and documentation. But for fl. 19,95 - less than 10 Euro! Don't hesitate.

Matthews Passion

Performer(s)/Conductor: Paul Goodwin
Accompaniment/Orchestra: Choir and Orchestra of the Academy of Ancient Music
Soloists:
Paul Goodwin (conductor)
Rufus Müller, (tenor - Evangelist)
Richard Jackson (baritone - Jesus)
Nancy Argenta (soprano)
Lynda Lee (mezzo-soprano)
Jonathan Peter Kenny (counter-tenor)
Jamie MacDougall (tenor)
Stephen Varcoe (baritone)
Individual Works: Matthews Passion, BWV 244
Instrumentation: Choir, Orchestra
Format: Compact Disc
Record Label: Cala Records
Catalog Number: CACD 89301
Year Released/Recorded: 1995
Total Playing Time: CD 1 - 73'58; CD 2 - 77'08
Related Web Site: http://www.aam.co.uk/
Comments: Oliver Kurz said:
The recording is a staged version of Bach’s St. Matthews Passion (BWV 244) in cooperation with Jonathan Miller for BBC TV and United Records performed on period instruments without boys' choir.

I like this recording, because the choir and orchestra are great and for the most parts the soloists too. They take the music light-footed, well phrased and with dramatic verve.

There is only one exception: In my opinion, Jamie MacDougall (tenor aria) got the wrong part: he is more 'Siegfried'-like, too heroical and mannered. Petrus and the 'Hohepriester' struggle with the German pronouncing, but this is incidental. The sound is good, you can even hear the soloists moving on the stage and Bach's 'experiment' with stereo sound using two choirs succeeded in the recording.

I bought this CD at a Drugstore in Braunschweig, Germany. The CD was issued as part of a 'Brilliant Classics' selection but does not name nor the orchestra neither the choir, but the conducter and director, so there is no doubt. I highly recommend this 2 CD-Set at the low price of one CD.


Review of Kruidvat Bach Edition (BOX 2)

Wouter Kees Snoeijers
wrote (October 19, 2000):
Review of Kruidvat Bach Edition (Box 2)

Vocal Works Volume 1

General:

Price: 4 double CD's for Fl 19,95, that's about $ 11,-

It keeps getting better. This second box surpasses the first one both on quality of recording as quality of performance. With some minor exeptions this box can compete with the best. Where the first box was very uneven, in this 8CD set the recordings are more evenly put together.

Note when reading my reviews: I do no care much whether a certain piece is done on original or present day instruments. As someone said to me: "I'm not a HIP kind of guy".
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Double CD 10 & 11: Mass in B minor BWV 232

The Sixteen Choir & Orchestra, Harry Christophers;
Catherine Dubosc, soprano 1, Catherine Denley, soprano 2, James Bowman, alto, John Mark Ainsley, tenor Michael George, bass
St. Augustines, Kilburn, Londen, UK, 1994
Licensed from Collins Classics, a division of Pinnacle Entertainment UK DDD

Very good sound quality, recorded on a somewhat "low" volume. Violins a bit sharp, but very warm voices. And just listen to that beautiful hobo in the "Kyrie eleison".

I'm very content with Catherine Dubosc as first soprano. She has a nice clear voice, very suitable for Bach performance. Catherine Denley isn't very special, and their duet is a bit of a disappointment. James Bowman is fantastic, as is John Mark Ainsley. Michael George is a good bass, although somewhat lacking in power.

The choir is very good, although sometimes I get the feeling that the director should have be a bit more firm with them. They have enough power to produce a exiting "Kyrie Eleison". As I said, I think the violins sound a bit sharp at some times, but on the whole the orchestra is quite good.

To summarize: I think this is a very good recording, with good soloists, of the Hohe Messe.
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Double CD 12 & 13: Masses BWV 233-236

Dresdner Kreuzchor, Dresner Philharmonie, Martin Flaming
Renate Krahmer, soprano, Annelies Burmeister, alto, Peter Schreier, tenor, Theo Adam, bass
Lukaskirche, Dresden, Germany, DE, 1972
Licensed from Edel UK ADD

Average recording quality. A bit "muffled" at times, especially the voices.

Somewhat old-fasioned recording of the masses, of which Albert Schweitzer once has said: "Superficial and virtually senseless". I do not agree with him, even though these pieces aren't among the best of Bach's works. But, if he had said it just about this recording, I think I would have agreed with him, at least partly. Although the soloists are capable, they sometimes lack of dramatic power.

I wouldn't recommend this CD as a stand-alone buy, but as an addition to this set it is manageable.
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Double CD 14 & 15: Sacred Songs & Arias from Musicalisches Gesangbuch G.C.Schemelli BWV 439-507

Georg Jelden, baritone, Heinz Schnauffer, organ
Himmelfahrtskirche, Munchen, DE, 1974 ADD

I must say that I was very surprised by this double CD. Sound quality is extremely good, considering when it was recorded. The baritone sounds forceful and is well balanced with the organ.

Not only the good sound quality, but also the performance, especially by the baritone, surprised me. Georg Jelden has a very beautiful voice and sings with passion.

I had never given much notice to these songs, but this CD really changed that. For me, the best double CD of this set.
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Double CD 16 & 17: Motets / Easter Oratorio BWV 225-230, 249

Motets: BWV 225-230
Ensemble vocal de Lausanne, Michel Corboz
Cervins, Switzerland, SW, 1995
licensed from Cascavelle, Switzerland DDD

Easter Oratorio: BWV 249
Christine Brenk, soprano, Anne Greiling, alto, Frank Bossert, tenor, Thomas Pfeiffer, bass
Trompettenensemble Pfeiffer, Motettenchor Pforzheim, Kammerorchester Pforzheim, Prof. Rolf Schweizer
Pforzheim, Germany, DE, 1999 DDD

Two different recordings on a double CD, I'll look at them separately.

Motets: BWV 225-230

Good sound quality, Basses, Tenors, Alto's and Soprano's can be heard separately, and do not "blur" into two voices. Well balanced high and low frequencies.

The director, Michel Corboz, seems to have a good grip on his choir, and the ensemble sings very punctual and precise, but manages not to sound too "clinical".

Good recording of these Motets, though sometimes a bit lacking of emotion.

Easter Oratorio: BWV 249

Average sound quality, enough depth, a bit "muffled", not enough high.

Well, this performance is quite a different story. It lacks of emotion, it lacks tempo where it needs tempo, and it needs tempo where there is a lack of it. I don't know who this Professor is, but he can't keep his choir and orchestra under control. The soloists aren't bad, but just not very special.

No, I don't like this one, and it takes a lot to ruin the joy of the Easter Oratorio but Prof Schweitalmost manages it.


Kruidvat=Brilliant Classics

Dyfan Lewis
wrote (October 21, 1999):
I've just been in London and HMV record shops are selling Brilliant Classics boxes which seem to be Kruitvat and I have bought the Four Passions including Marcus and Lucas. Matthew (BWV 244) is excellent and Peter Schreier sings on one. There are no booklets or texts but track details are extensive and orchestras and soloists are listed. 8 CDs in a box for 20 pounds. presumably more are on their way. There was also a single sampler CD for two pounds.

Wim Huisjes wrote (October 21, 1999):
(To Dyfan Lewis) My, my : that's a fortune. Kruidvat sells them at less than a pound per CD ; 75 p. if I've got my arithmetic correct.

BTW: Christophers and the Sixteen do fine in the Mass in b, so does Corboz in the motets, to name but a few.

Enrico Bortolazzi wrote (October 21, 2000):
(To Dyfan Lewis) can you list the artists in this CDs. Is there the Academy of Ancient Music in the SMP (BWV 244)?

Dyfan Lewis wrote (October 25, 1999):
Bach Recordings Wonderful that the list is still going and thanks for the last two years work.

I have found what is probably a source for the Complete Bach edition in England by searching the web for Brilliant Classics and they seem even to have a lot of other nicely priced music: http://members.aol.com/cdselectn/homepage.htm (N/A - March 2001, A.O.) is the address and their catalogues can be downloaded as html documents. This is NOT Brilliant Classics own home page.

The artists on the 4 passions box are

St Matthew (BWV 244), St John (BWV 245), St Mark, St Luke. Stephen Varcoe, Covey-Crump, Ainsley, Jelden, King’s Coll Camb Choir, Brandenburg Consort/ Cleobury, EBO/ Goodman, Balinger Kantorei, Tubingen CO/ Rehm

I have only background listened to the Lucas as yet and there's a lot of nice music there.

Here's a listing of box 2 which is masses:

Double CD 10 & 11: Mass in B minor BWV 232

The Sixteen Choir & Orchestra, Harry Christophers
Catherine Dubosc, soprano 1, Catherine Denley, sopran 2 James Bowman, alto, John Mark Ainsley, tenor Michael George, bass
St. Augustines, Kilburn, Londen, UK, 1994
Licensed from Collins Classics, a division of Pinnacle Entertainment UK DDD

Very good sound quality, recorded on a somewhat "low" volume. Violins a bit sharp, but very warm voices. And just listen to that beautiful hobo in the "Kyrie eleison".

I'm very contect with Catherine Dubosc as first soprano. She has a nice clear voice, very suitable for Bach performance. Catherine Denley isn't very special, and their duet is a bit of a dissapointment. James Bowman is fantastic, as is John Mark Ainsley. Michael George is a good bass, although somewhat lacking in power.

The choir is very good, although sometimes I get the feeling that the director should have be a bit more firm with them. They have enough power to produce a exiting "Kyrie Eleison". As I said, I think the violins sound a bit sharp at some times, but on the whole the orchestra is quite good.

To summarize: I think this is a very good recording, with good soloists, of the Hohe Messe.

Double CD 12 & 13: Masses BWV 233-236

Dresdner Kreuzchor, Dresner Philharmonie, Martin Flaming
Renate Krahmer, soprano, Annelies Burmeister, alto, Peter Schreier, tenor, Theo Adam, bass
Lukaskirche, Dresden, Germany, DE, 1972 Licensed from Edel UK ADD

Average recording quality. A bit "muffled" at times, escpecially the voices.

Somewhat old-fasioned recording of the masses, of which Albert Schweitzer once has said: "Superficial and virtually senseless". I do not agree with him, even though these pieces aren't among the best of Bach's works. But, if he had said it just about this recording, I think I would have agreed with him, at least partly. Although the soloists are capable, they sometimes lack of dramatic power.

I wouldn't recommend this CD as a stand-alone buy, but as an addition to this set it is manageable.

Double CD 14 & 15: Sacred Songs & Arias from Musicalisches Gesangbuch G.C.Schemelli BWV 439-507

Georg Jelden, baritone, Heinz Schnauffer, organ
Himmelfahrtskirche, Munchen, DE, 1974 ADD

I must say that I was very suprised by this double CD. Sound quality is extremely good, considering when it was recorded. The baritone sounds forcefull, and is well balanced with the organ.

Not only the good sound quality, but also the performance, especially by the bariton, suprised me. Georg Jelden has a very beautiful voice and sings with passion.

I had never given much notion to these songs, but this CD really changed that. For me, the best double CD of this set.

Double CD 16 & 17: Motets / Easter Oratorio BWV 225-230, 249

Motets: BWV 225-230


Ensemble vocal de Lausanne, Michel Corboz
Cervins, Switzerland, SW, 1995
licensed from Cascavelle, Switzerland DDD

Easter Oratorio: BWV 249

Christine Brenk, soprano, Anne Greiling, alto Frank Bossert, tenor, thomas Pfeiffer, bass
Trompettenensemble Pfeiffer, Motettenchor Pforzheim, Kammerorchester Pforzheim, Prof. Rolf Schweizer
Pforzheim, Germany, DE, 1999 DDD

Two different recordings on a double CD, I'll look at them seperately.

Motets: BWV 225-230

Good sound quality, Basses, Tenors, Alto's and Soprano's can be heard seperately, and do not "blur" into two voices. Well balanced high and low frequencies.

The director, Michel Corboz, seems to have a good grip on his choir, and the ensemble sings very punctual and precise, but manages not to sound too "clinical".

Good recording of these Motets, though sometimes a bit lacking of emotion.

Easter Oratorio: BWV 249

Average sound quality, enough depth, a bit "muffled", not enough high.

Well, this performance is quite a different story. It lacks of emotion, it lacks tempo where it needs tempo, and it needs tempo where there is a lack of it. I don't know who this Professor is, but he can't keep his choir and orchestra under control. The soloists aren't bad, but just not very special.

No, I don't like this one, and it takes a lot to ruin the joy of the Easter Oratorio but Prof Schweitzer almost manages it.

Don't remember who I copied this from. I think it was the alt.music_jsbach list.

Regards to old and new

Wim Huisjes wrote (October 25, 2000):
(To Dyfan Lewis) Yep, the listing of volume 2 is indeed from the Kruidvat cycle and I agree with most of the comments.

But on Brilliant Classics I could only find the 4-passions set (+ a few more single B.C. single CD's ; apparently B.C. even managed to get some copy rights from Hänssler: cantatas by Rilling). The passions set has been around for almost 8 months or so and is priced at about 2.5 x of what Kruidvat is asking.

Though the site has some interesting offers, it has nothing that comes close to the Kruidvat cycle, unless I really overlooked something. So who wrote the listing & comments? Can we come closer to the secrets of Brilliant Classics ?


NEW: Brilliant Bach Edition a fraud?

Jane Newble
wrote (November 17, 2000):
I have the Brilliant Classics Christmas Oratorio ( without booklet, bought from Berkshire Records), and it is fabulous!!! I can only say that if all the others are going to be as good, then quite frankly, it wouldn't bother me whether the performers were actually the ones listed on the CDs! I have now three volumes sitting in Holland waiting for me ti get obver there and pick them up....sigh...

Richard Goodman wrote (November 17, 2000):
One word of warning about that set--I found the Luke and Mark Passions utterly devoid of interest--primarily recits and chorales. So don't buy it imagining these two spurious works contain top drawer Bach!


Top-10

Bernard Nys wrote (April 15, 2003):
A few days ago I wanted to make a Top-10 of my favorite Sacred Music. Lots of Bach, of course ; that's why I give you my Top-10.

1. BACH's B-minor Mass (BWV 232)
2. BACH's SMP (BWV 244)
3. Händel's Messiah
4. BACH's X-Oratorium (BWV 248)
5. BACH's Magnificat (BWV 243)
6. BACH's SJP (BWV 245)
7. 's Great Mass
8. Mozart's Requiem
9. Haydn's Creation
10. Vivaldi's Gloria

As always, highly personal and subjective, but I think it's a usefull exercice to make your all time Top-10. "Simply the best..."

Are Soholt wrote (April 16, 2003):
These are mine:

1. BACH's B-minor Mass (BWV 232)
2. Monteverdi: Maria vesper
3. BACH's SMP (BWV 244)
4. BACH's SJP (BWV 245)
5. Brahms Requiem
6. Händel's Messias
7. Penderecki's Requiem
8. Haydn: The seven last words of the Christ
9. Bach, BWV 82, Ich habe genug
10. Mozart's Requiem

Jeremy Thomas wrote (April 16, 2003):
This isn't easy to keep to 10. It's also the sort of thing you think you're fairly sure about, then you remember another favourite recording and the list needs amending.

So before I change my mind (and I cannot put these in order):

1. Allegri: Miserere
2. Bach: Mass in B minor (BWV 232)
3. Bach: Magnificat (BWV 243)
4. Händel: Messiah
5. Händel: Israel in Egypt
6. Haydn: Creation
7. Haydn: Te Deum # 2
8. Mozart: Great Mass in C minor
9. Tallis: Spem in Alium
10. Vivaldi: Gloria

So does that mean I have to leave out Händel's "Solomon" and Haydn's "Stabat Mater"? This is impossible! :-)

Matthew Neugebasuer wrote (April 16, 2003):
Gosh! what a question! this is gonna be my specialty later on in life, so I don't even think I can order them! I'll try though, but there's probably lot's of ties!

1. Händel Israel in Egypt
2. Bach BWV 232 Mass in B Min
3. Händel Solomon
4. Bach BWV 21 Ich Hatte Viel Bekummernis
5. Bach BWV 227 Jesu Meine Freude
6 Bach BWV 244 SMP
7(t). Händel Messiah, Judas Maccabaeus
8. Haydn Creation
9(t). Bach BWV 140, BWV 80
10. Mozart K 427 Great Mass in C Minor
11. Händel Brockes Passion

Among those, I'm sure there's a lot of ties that I only really know subconsciously. But let's just say that the "space" between 1 and 7 is very negligible! And there's probably some I haven't even thought of!

Steven Guy wrote (April 16, 2003):
My sacred Top-10 - in no particular order:

1. Vespro della Beata Vergine, 1610 - Claudio Monteverdi
2. Requiem - Gabriel Fauré
3. St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) - J. S. Bach
4. B minor Mass (BWV 232) - J. S. Bach
5. Ein deutsches Requiem - Johannes Brahms
6. Penitential Psalms - Orlando di Lasso
7. Psalmen Davids - Heinrich Schütz
8. Symphoniæ Sacræ I - Heinrich Schütz
9. Mass in C - Ludwig van Beethoven
10. Requiem in F minor - Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber

Honorable mention:
Mass in C minor - W. A. Mozart
L'Enfance du Christ - Hector Berlioz
Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) - J. S. Bach
Missa Solemnis - Ludwig van Beethoven
Requiem - W. A. Mozart
BWV 51 - J. S. Bach
BWV 4 - J. S. Bach
BWV 106 - J. S. Bach
BWV 1 - J. S. Bach
Sonata sopra Dulcis Jesu patris imago à 20 voci - Giovanni Gabrieli
Magnificat à 14 voci - Giovanni Gabrieli
In ecclesiis à 14 voci - Giovanni Gabrieli
Buccinate in neomenia tuba à 19 - Giovanni Gabrieli
An Filius non est Dei BuxWV 6 - Dietrich Buxtehude
Gott fährer auf mit Jauchzen BuxWV 33 - Dietrich Buxtehude
Mein Gemüt erfreuet sich BuxWV 72 - Dietrich Buxtehude
Missa Salisburgensis à 53 voci - Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber
Missa "Alleluja" à 36 voci - Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber
Les Grands Motets - Jean-Philippe Rameau
Les Grands Motets - Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville
Missa "et ecce terræ motus" - Antoine Brumel
Missa pro defunctis - Johannes Ockeghem
Opella Nova II - Johann Hermann Schein


Structure of Bach’S Passions [Choral Talk]

Margaret Bloebaum wrote (April 26, 2003):
Long, long ago, I attended performances of the Bach "St. John" (BWV 245) and "St. Matthew," (BWV 244) Passions, for which the program notes included extensive and detailed essays on the symbolism and structure of the pieces. (Both concerts were performed by the same touring choir, whose name I've long since forgotten.) The notes even included some annotated diagrams, showing the pyramidal structure of the musical themes in each work, as well as some of the symbolic and numerological hints hidden in the scores and texts by Bach. It was fascinating.

Unfortunately, I've long since lost both programs.

I've sung both works many times since then, and am constantly frustrated by my inability to remember the details of what I read.

Can anyone point me toward a not-too-scholarly (I'm a singer, not a pedagogue or director) work that might include this information?

Susan Stone wrote (April 27, 2003):
[To Margaret Bloebaum] The John Elliot Gardener (circa 1991) and Phillipe Herreweghe (2000?) recordings and the old mid-70's Harnoncourt Consentus Musicus recording of the St Matthew passion (BWV 244) all have excellant notes that are not to difficult to follow. May be your local library has one of these recordings.

Neither St John Passion (BWV 245) recording I own has much in the way of notes(no pun intended) dealing with structure. That may be because The "St. John Passion" (BWV 245) is not as highly structured as the "St. Matthew" (BWV 244).

Do you remember where the double cross is in the St. Matthew (BWV 244). Another bit of genious from JS Bach and he was full of them.

A second thought is that a number of years ago when I was first surfing the net, I came upon a site that discussed in detail the history of the passion plays both spoken and sun going back to the earliest days of the christian church.You might try various searches.

There are several Bach sites but I don't remember if they deal with the kind of detail your looking for.

Douglas Neslund wrote (April 27, 2003):
[To Margaret Bloebaum] A good place to start, if you don't mind doing your own research, is: http://b.webring.com/hub?ring=jsbachwebring where massive amounts of information are available. A word of caution, as is proper for all internet "resources," is advised regarding the "truth" of what one may find, but that would be true of research anywhere. Happy hunting!

David Griggs-Janower wrote (April 27, 2003):
Helmuth Rilling's small books on Bach's works go into great detail. There's one on the St. Matthew (BWV 244). I can't recall if there is one on St. John (BWV 245). Look for St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) by Helmuth Rilling, translated by Gordon Paine.

John Howell wrote (April 28, 2003):
[To Margaret Bloebaum] About 30 years ago I wrote a 500-page masters paper on the St. John (BWV 245). There's lots of information available, but you have to be careful to figure out the writers' points of view. A whole generation or more put down the St. John (BWV 245) as being "not as dramatic" or "relying too much on soloists in the second half."

The two passions are quite different, but the difference comes from the fact that the Biblical texts themselves are quite different, and Bach started with those texts, which had to be incorporated. In the Gospel of John, there are many more lines attributed to specific characters in the Biblical story, which mandated solo arias. It's clear that Bach was struggling with this fact, because he did borrow some lines from Matthew and insert them into the John text.

Give or take whether Bach actually composed a pre-Leipzig passion setting, the St. John (BWV 245) was the largest work he had undertaken at the time. He composed it, probably during Lent of 1724 (there's even disagreement about that!), after spending entire year turning out cantatas at the rate of about one per week. So he approached the John Passion (BWV 245) as if it were two large scale cantatas, one presented before the sermon and one after. But he was still stuck with the structure of the Biblical text, which is "unbalanced" in a theatrical sense.

I'd suggest finding the Bach article in New Grove, and looking at the bibliography at the end of the article. That's basically where I started my research long ago, and there are no doubt more recent books and articles than there were then.

Michael Ingram wrote (April 28, 2003):
I studied the structure of the Bach B minor mass under Julius Hereford. I think he has passed on. I also sang it at least 60 times under Robert Shaw while on tour with the Chorale. It is possible that there is a book that either one or both have put out that would contain the kind of info you are looking for. Hereford was Robert's mentor and taught at either Indiana or Occidental. I too was fascinated by the mathematical relationships etc that Bach included, probably many at an unconcious level. Good luck./ Let me know if you find anything.

Mike Gray wrote (April 29, 2003):
Has anyone mentioned Albert Schweitzer's book?

David Griggs-Janower wrote (April 30, 2003):
Apologies for incorrect information in my last post. Rilling's book on St. Matthew (BWV 244) was translated by Kenneth Nafziger. It's published by CF Peters. Rilling's book on the B Minor Mass is the one translated by Gordon Paine, and is published by Prestige Publications, Princeton, NJ.

Margaret Bloebaum wrote (April 30, 2003):
[To David Griggs-Janower] Thank you - I'll check them out.

Margaret Bloebaum wrote (April 30, 2003):
[To Mike Gray] You just did, and I thank you for it!

I hadn't thought about it before because I thought it might be more technical than I want, but I'll check it out. Thank you!


XO, SJP and Where to Begin ?

S.W. Anandgyan wrote (November 27, 2003):
Barry Murray wrote: < Greetings everyone

( December is approaching, duh ! )

The Christmas Oratorio is, in my opinion, a very joyful, and enjoyable work. Also my opinion, you won't do much better re the Christmas Oratorio
(BWV 248) than Musaki Suzuki. I have this one and enjoy it a lot.

I've heard good things about the Gardiner version, but haven't heard it. >
I can currently enjoy Jacobs' recording very much, Herreweghe, Christophers and Gardiner which was my very first XO (BWV 248) purchase and I added Richter and Ledger because it was such a bargain. The Suzuki has been ordered and my eyes see the Harnoncourt two separate CDs on the store shelves; I have read on the BCW about someone's comments about the horns. I noticed the year as '72 but what can it really mean for a neophyte like me. So at this point, I want to put that money on the recent Herreweghe's release and there are other MBM (BWV 232) that I want to let my ears get a kick out.

BTW, I like to begin my day with something Bach and listen to the same work by a different conductor the next day. Nowadays it is the SJP (BWV 245) and I allow the whole work to imprint itself in me for a better feel, I get to notice the differences in tempi, choir size or just 'sound take' and I'm pleased with Diego Fasolis' clarity that may contrast with Brüggen's solemnity but simply leaves me satisfied ... again.

Eventually, I want to appreciate the SMP (BWV 244) but the length of the work scares me, it seems for it's about two hours and a half ...

I'd take an easy route to a newcomer to Bach and offer the Cantata BWV 147; something with which he may say "oh, I have heard this before I think ... ".

So much music and to find the time ... I meant to say, to make time for it !

I do.


Tenor Voices

S.W. Anandgyan wrote (December 7, 2003):
Carol wrote: < Listening to a great new Bach recording makes the world right, doesn't it? People found me smiling through the Christmas Oratorio, which I heard in total for the first time just a few weeks ago.

How did you like the echo compared to Gardiner's? I was really thrilled that Bach could pull that off in church; it sounded so playful. Maybe I'm being naive.

So, I'm trying to find a recording of the Herreweghe Christmas Cantatas from Leipzig. I'll get hold of the Herreweghe and Rene Jacobs Oratorio when the time is right. I've never heard any of Jacobs, but I see that W. Gura is the tenor. I just loved his singing in the S. Matthew's Passion
(BWV 244) under Herreweghe. What about you?

Happy for your new find. >
I have discovered this gorgeous music since only a year ago, and indeed those delicate moments as the echo bit, the first aria in the fourth cantata of the XO, and the Agnus Dei of the MBM are what has ignited a new passion. The echo bit with the Rene Jacobs is just as efficient.

I have to admit sitll being hesitant before diving into the MP, the length of the oeuvre is a deterrent and not having fallen in love with it yet, as in the Mass in B Minor for example. I have to confess being able to truly identify just Andreas Scholl's voice in the whole gamut of singers. I'm still too green to recognize Peter Kooy from Peter Pears while blindfolded ! I do have the Herreweghe II MP with Werner Güra and cannot comment his performance ... yet ;-)

I am very happy that someone like Mr. Satz has joined this " intimate " list for I have read more than once his articles on the BCW and noticed his choice for CD of the year (Schiff's Goldberg Variations on ECM) on Music Web. Now if only Uri Golomb would ever be so inclined to offer us his opinions here too, this would offer us both freshness and ... depth of analysis without losing sight of the love of music.

P.S. I read Mr. Satz's demand on the BRL and all that was dancing in my mind was; » The freedom of peace and screech on Earth « but that pun needs fine-tuning
...
Carol wrote (December 8, 2003):
Anandgyan - I so agree with you about the B Minor Mass.

About 18 years ago I discovered it; a Christmas gift my husband and I gave to ourselves; it was only excerpts. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard, and I still do. Though I'm agnostic, I consider the Mass so special as to be sacrilege to play at any other time but Christmas.

At the risk of seeming a broken record (I dislike puns, and ours was lost; not broken) because I've mentioned this before in the group, I badly want to know what that recording was. The Crucifixus, to my mind, surpasses the five others I've heard, in its agonizing sadness. I admit I paid no attention to the name of the conductor then; only remember a European group and recording company, and being impressed by the quality of the packaging. Today I reviewed ALL the recordings of the MBM in the Cantata Website, and I believe it was Gustav Leonhardt (see below), because his cover has a stained glass image like ours, but with a black background, not orange, as is shown on the Leonhardt CD. If anyone knows anything I don't about this, please tell me. Everybody is probably wondering why I don't just buy the Leonhardt and go from there. Good advise.

Collegium Musicum Van De Nederlandse Bach Vereniging / La Petite Bande

Soprano - Isabelle Poulenard; Mezzo-soprano - Guillemette Laurens; Alto -René Jacobs; Tenor - John Elwes; Bass [No. 18] - Max van Egmond; Bass [No.10] - Harry van der Kamp

Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
Feb 1985
2-CD / TT: 1:51:28
See: BWV 232 - Leonhardt

As to the St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) (Herreweghe), Anandgyan; it took me longer to appreciate, it's so different from the Mass, and I think it's somehow fitting to play it in the spring. Maybe you can delve into it then, too. My favorite part is the Aria a doi Cori 20.(CD1), which tenor Werner Gura sings. I love the melody, and I think it's the contrast of his voice with that of the angelic sopranos that is so moving. It seems even more terrific that he looks in his photo like a happy wrestler.

I'd be interested in knowing whyou think about that passage.

Robert Sherman wrote (December 8, 2003):
Carol, you might also want to try Karl Richter for the b and both Passions. He has a very different flavor from the more austere versions you're discussing, but I find his performances more emotionally gratifying, particularly the Passions. Ernst Haefliger's Evangelist is incredibly thoughtful and moving.

He has recorded the b twice. The earlier version, with Fischer-Dieskau, is much better, although it is marred by Adolph Scherbaum's excessively brash trumpeting. So I find Marriner to be better still, although many will disagree with that choice.

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 8, 2003):
[To Robert Sherman] Richter recorded MBM 3 times, not two, although the middle one is hard to get. See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV232-Richter.htm


Oh the joy!

Sw Anadgyan wrote (December 11, 2003):
Oh what a surprise ! To make a not-so-long story as succinct as possible; the sales clerk where I buy most of my classical compact discs felt bad when the latest Herreweghe I had put aside had 'disappeared' and offered me her employee's discount to make it up to me.

I had received Robert King's version of the MBM, did reserve the Masaaki Suzuki's recording of the XO, the Motetten directed by Pierre Cao and the latest from Philippe Herreweghe and today was the day where she treated me to her saving money device. Oh ! All these with 50% off the retail price. With a big grin on my face, I was able to add the Karl Münchinger's XO while on sale ( $15 instead of $25 ) and the latest from the Canadian Sarah McLauchlan.

So that's a lot of music to enjoy. I did treat her to whatever would make her very happy and she mentioned orange juice ... easily provided with plastic glass, lid, straw and ice cubes ...

Then it'll be the Cantus Cölln doing the Mass in B Minor and I'm glad some comments have already found their way to the Bach Recordings List. I have some collector trait.

Celebrating ...



Continue on Part 2


General Discussions of Bach’s Other Vocal Works: Part 1 | Part 2

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Last update: ýApril 7, 2004 ý09:12:34