The sacred cantatas of J.S. Bach

Discussion in 'Classical Music' started by tones, Jun 19, 2003.

  1. tones

    jimdgoulding Manufacturer

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    Actus Tragicus BWV106 hasn't been mentioned or if it has I missed it. My copy is from German Harmonia Mundi which I've owned for 30 years. It never fails to move me, it is pure treasure. I read that the recent French Harmonia Mundi to compact disc is "warm and beautifully detailed" on the BBC. You will hopefully add it to your library and listening. Different performers from the one I own but beautiful, beautiful and moving music. If this was the only thing Bach ever wrote he would still be a saint to me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2010
    jimdgoulding, Jun 12, 2010
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  2. tones

    Marc

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    I can live with that. ;)

    A real treat in live performance, with those recorders and violas da gamba.
     
    Marc, Jun 12, 2010
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  3. tones

    jimdgoulding Manufacturer

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    Haven't had that pleasure, Marc, but I certainly wish that I had. Thanks for your acknowledgement of my post. It's good to know someone else thinks this is important music. About the aformentioned recording:

    BBC Review

    A beautifully warm yet detailed recording of three of Bach's early cantatas, from the...
    Andrew McGregor 2005-10-17

    Three early Bach Cantatas, and in these simple, spiritually exalted performances, a reminder of what came before Bach...and yet how fully-formed his genius already was.

    BWV18 has an astonishing opening Sinfonia, and with the characteristically plaintive sounds of the viol to the fore, and just one instrument or voice to a part, this speaks with a clarity and immediacy that's rare.

    Then comes BWV106, the funeral cantata known as Actus Tragicus, which has one of the loveliest, most soulful openings in any Bach cantata: a brace of viola da gamba, and above them two recorders, rocking gently, comfortingly, as we're reassured that God's time is the best of all times. The singers are wonderful, never over-acting, and managing to sound as though this marvelous work is being minted afresh for us on the spot.

    The recording is a beauty: warm and full with plenty of bass, yet with all the soft-grained detail you could ask for. Only 49 minutes of music, but you won't need more; you'll just go straight back to the top and play it again...
     
    jimdgoulding, Jun 13, 2010
  4. tones

    tones compulsive cantater

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    Journey's end

    The last two volumes of Gardiner's cantatas arrived in the letter box, Vols. 12 and 16. I didn't have time to listen to them all, but one of the cantatas is my very favourite, BWV140 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme ("Sleepers, awake" as it's known in English), so I just had to sample it. BWV140 is never spectacular, but I've always thought of it as beautifully, perfectly formed, a wonderful homogeneous whole. And Gardiner gives it a great performance, with nice, springy rhythms, and a nicely realised final chorale.

    I also managed to fit in the Christmas cantata BWV63 Christen, ätzet diesen Tag. Paradoxically, this, the last to be released, was the first to be recorded, on that first Christmas in 2000, when the marvellous DVD of the Christmas Oratorio was recorded. As a result, it enjoys the same all-star solo cast that the Christmas Oratorio does, especially the wonderful soprano and alto pairing Claron McFadden and Bernarda Fink. Brilliant stuff.

    But it's all over :( Well, not quite :) Gardiner has said that he'll record the omitted bigger pieces, such as the Ascension Oratorio (BWV11 Lobet Gott in seinem Reichen). And a CD recording of that dazzling Christmas Oratorio (which knocks spots off every other version in existence) is said to be in the works. Hi, ho, doomed forever to be poor...great!:D
     
    tones, Oct 5, 2010
  5. tones

    Marc

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    Don't worry!

    Blessed are the doomed, for they shall .... no no, that's not it!

    Ah!

    Blessed are the poor, for theirs is .... no: something's not right here, either.

    Blessed are the cheesemakers, for ....

    :confused:

    I give up.

    Let's just say:
    no doom nor poverty with Bach in da house! :)
     
    Marc, Oct 6, 2010
  6. tones

    jazid

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    Hooray for that! Bring on some more, and anyone in London can get a Christmas Cantata fix at Cadogan Hall with Monteverd in the week before Christmas, though I forget the day. I sincerely hope the sound engineer is in residence for the new Christmas Oratorio recording because the one Gardiner issued earlier is admirably clear but light. I think it needs a bit of heft to come alive. Anyone else with this grumble?
     
    jazid, Oct 20, 2010
  7. tones

    eisenach

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    A rather belated reply; I haven't strayed in here for a while!
    106 is a wonderful piece. When I go, they can do what they like, stuff me in a black bin bag and put me out for the next collection, I don't care, but they'd better bloody sit down and listen to 106 - otherwise, they won't get a penny!
    (There are no pennies, but they won't know that until afterwards, although they might guess!) :D

    I have the Harnoncourt set, but also Cantus Cölln on a Harmonia Mundi hybrid SACD - is that the vesrion you mean? I like both, maybe the Harnoncourt the best.
     
    eisenach, Oct 30, 2010
  8. tones

    Sir Galahad Harmonia Mundi

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    Sir Galahad, Oct 30, 2010
  9. tones

    jazid

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    Nobody else listened to the 10th Anniversary concert on the BBC? I thought there would be brisk discussion here!
    I was SO stupid I bought tickets that closely flanked the concert and couldn't convince SWMBO to go to it as well, so had to listen from the comfort of my home seat. What an idiotl! So saying, I did go to Egarr's BWV70 and Magnificat, along with a couple of delightful concerti and, despite my fear that he had a hard job ahead of him living up to what Gardiner had just achieved, the AAM delivered in style, a tasty delight for the day before Christmas Eve. So a big thanks from me to Egarr, AAM, et al.

    Any one else enjoyed live Cantatas in the Christmas period?

    BTW in the next fewe years it'll be the 300th anniversary of much of the Leipzig material. Please keep the Cantata cycle going Sir John
    :mo:
     
    jazid, Dec 27, 2010
  10. tones

    Dissily Mordentroge

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    I’ve yet to encounter an inferior performance from this group. As far as I can determine all their recordings are made live.
     
    Dissily Mordentroge, Nov 7, 2019
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