Author Topic: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works  (Read 7300 times)

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #40 on: September 27, 2020, 01:46:35 AM »
Vivaldi: Stabat Mater RV621:

The Stabat Mater portrays the suffering of Mary during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The music, therefore, should be solemn, emotional and low key, and it is. There is some wonderful music in here.
 
Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater RV621 is scored for solo alto and violins I, Violins II, violas and basso continuo. The work comprises nine movements:
Stabat mater dolorosa
Cujus animam gementem
O quam tristis et afflicta
Quis est homo
Quis non posset contristari
Pro peccatis suae gentis
Eia mater, fons amoris
Fac ut ardeat cor meum
Amen

Vivaldi’s version does not correspond with the original 13th century verse structure. However, the relatively simple orchestral scoring, the choice of alto voicing, the choice of tempi and the keys [F minor and C minor] in which it was written all tend towards evoking sadness and solemnity. This is simple, gentle, sombre and lyrical music.

Interestingly, of all of the versions that I have in my collection, only two directors use a female voice. I have only come across one actual statement, Pinnock, who assumes that the alto soloist in the Stabat Mater was undoubtedly a man originally. It therefore appears likely to be the case as most others also prefer the male voice.

A typical performance lasts around 19:00 minutes and the following performances are remarkably consistent in terms of duration. There are two exceptions to this and, coincidently, they are also the two who employ a female voice.

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #41 on: September 27, 2020, 01:48:27 AM »
I have nine different versions of the Stabat Mater RV621 in my collection. Two director/vocalist combinations have already been discussed:


Pinnock/Chance:






Chance’s voice is strong and very clear in its delivery. Chance’s vocal vibrato is at a moderate level and it is very effective in the delivery of expression. This is a fine, full sounding presentation on the orchestral side also and it delivers on the solemn side in tone. This version lasts for 18:49 minutes.



Lesne:






This version has a somewhat intimate chamber feel to it with a relatively small musical ensemble employed. This, along with Lesne’s voice, with its light, yet strong sonorities makes for a lyrical and delicate version. Lesne’s vocal vibrato is at a minimum level. The overall presentation strikes a tone somewhere between the solemn and the contemplative in the performance. This version lasts for 18:17 minutes.

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #42 on: September 27, 2020, 02:01:55 AM »
Alessandrini/Mingardo:





Mingardo has a big, strong voice with plenty of vocal vibrato used and can sound quite robust at times. Alessandrini’s accompaniment is sensitive but it also has a big presence in the recording. The combination of these two factors lend towards an emotional and sensitive rather than a solemn tone throughout and there is also more of a sense of the dramatic infused in this presentation. This version lasts for 21:18 minutes but it does not feel ponderous in any way.



Banchini/Scholl:




 
Scholl’s voice is light in tone yet strong in delivery and always very clear and effortless. His vocal vibrato is at a minimum level. His voice just seems to float lightly above the music. The orchestral accompaniment is chamber-like in scale but it still has a big presence in the recording. The overall tone of the presentation is one of tenderness and sorrow. This version lasts for 18:37 minutes.



Biondi/Daniels:





Daniels has a heavier voice with plenty of vocal vibrato used and can sound quite robust. The presence of the organ in the continuo section [throughout the performance] lends to a heavier texture. This version lasts for 18:14 minutes but somehow it feels a little slower in some sections. These things give a solemn tone to the presentation. However, it is never ponderous; indeed it can move along nicely at times.




Hogwood/Bowman:





Bowman has a robust voice. It is strong but clear and pleasant on the ear. His vocal vibrato is at a minimum level. The full forces of the Academy of Ancient music are employed. The accompaniment sounds orchestral as opposed to chamber. Hogwood’s accompaniment, however, is always sensitive. The tone lies somewhere between tender and solemn. This version lasts for 18:56 minutes.



King/Blaze:





Blaze’s voice is light in tone and texture and his vocal vibrato is at a moderate level. This lends for a lyrical and engaging delivery, vocally. King’s accompaniment sounds on the chamber size side and it is quite sensitive. The tone of this presentation is meditative as opposed to solemn but it is always lyrical. King always delivers fine presentations in Vivaldi’s sacred music. This version lasts for 18:45 minutes.




Malgoire/Watts:





Watts has a robust voice. It is strong but clear with plenty of vocal vibrato used in her delivery. I feel that it is overdone here. Malgoire’s accompaniment is sensitive. Gracious and solemn is how I would describe the tone of this version. This version lasts for 21:01 minutes. The slower pace and the timbre of Watts’ voice tends towards the intense with a sense of the forlorn. I do find it to be a bit ponderous. The “heavy” organ continuo does not help in this regard. This is not a favourite version.




Negri/Kowalski:





Kowalski’s voice is rich and lyrical and he employs plenty of vocal vibrato. The accompaniment is heavily orchestral as opposed to chamber sounding. However, it is always sensitive in nature. This version lasts for 18:41 minutes but it feels slower.  Kowalski’s voice and the nature of the orchestral accompaniment lends towards a solemn tone.

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #43 on: October 04, 2020, 04:33:54 AM »
Vivaldi: In turbato mare irato RV627

In turbato mare irato RV627 is a motet whose setting is the comparison of the Virgin Mary to the stella maris who guides stricken sailors on turbulent seas safely into port. Section A of the first aria depicts the storm and section B “contemplates the star” [Talbot]. The short recitative represents the calm and safety of the port. The second aria “celebrates the beloved light” [Talbot]. Finally the Alleluia gives joyful thanks for salvation [jubilation and celebration].

The work is set for solo soprano and strings and is in four parts:
Aria I
Recitative
Aria II
Alleluia

A normal presentation lasts for about 16 minutes. I have three versions of this work in my collection.

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #44 on: October 04, 2020, 04:35:05 AM »
Ciofi/Biondi:






This is the slowest version of In turbato mare irato RV627 that I have in my collection. It lasts for 17:10 minutes. Ciofi’s voice is robust, rich and has plenty of vibrato. However, the pace never feels slow; it is far from ponderous even in the slower sections. The storm section is well done in AriaI. The recitative is pensive [note that organ accompaniment cadenza at the end]. Aria II is more ardent and assertive than contemplative i.e. it sounds more like a statement than a contemplation. The tone here is one of intensity Ciofi’ voice is effortless here. The Alleluia is suitably celebratory with plenty of vocal ornamentation. The orchestral accompaniment supports Ciofi very well throughout and gives her a solid platform on which to work. Biondi drives the music very well.

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #45 on: October 04, 2020, 04:36:33 AM »
Gritton/King:






Gritton’s voice is lighter in texture and tone to that of Ciofi but she does also sing with plenty of vocal vibrato. As a result the slower sections of this version of In turbato mare irato RV627 sound more deferential. The storm section in Aria I is suitably agitated. The Recitative is suitably contemplative. This version lasts for 15:26 minutes and the increased pace makes itself immediately apparent in Aria II. The pace is quite fast and those Vivaldian rhythmic patterns are prominent. The tone here is thoughtful but somewhat spirited due to the pace. The Alleluia is joyful and celebratory. The King’s consort plays very well throughout and the orchestral accompaniment is always sensitive to the soprano’s voice.

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #46 on: October 04, 2020, 04:37:50 AM »
Kirkby/Lamon:






Kirkby’s voice, as we know, is light in tone and texture and her minimal vibrato lends a difference to her vocal ornamentation. She frequently soars on high. This is most effective in the slower sections, sounding pure. Aria I is wonderfully sung but does not have the same gravitas as, say, Ciofi. The Recitative is accompanied by an organ. Aria II does not feel as fast as that of King [it is] but it sounds more contemplative, even devotional. This Alleluia sounds lighter but it is also joyful and celebratory.  This version lasts for 15:31 minutes. Lamon’s accompaniment in In turbato mare irato RV627 sounds the most chamber-like of the three [which is not necessarily a bad thing].

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #47 on: February 23, 2021, 03:08:44 PM »
Vivaldi: Gloria RV589

Vivaldi apparently wrote three settings of the Gloria, RV 588, RV 589 and RV 590 which is now lost. The Gloria RV 589 is one of the brightest jewels in the crown of Vivaldi’s Sacred Music. It is a wonderful piece of music. If you do not have it in your collection any one of the recordings below [except for the Naxos version] should suffice.
The Gloria RV589 was written for the all female choir and orchestra of the Ospedale della Pietà. It is scored for four-part choir, strings, oboe, trumpet and continuo. Vocal soloists are also required for certain movements, here two sopranos and an alto.
The Gloria RV589 comprises 12 movements.

Gloria in excelsis Deo (Chorus)
Et in terra pax (Chorus)
Laudamus te (Sopranos I and II)
Gratias agimus tibi (Chorus)
Propter magnam gloriam (Chorus)
Domine Deus (Soprano)
Domine, Fili unigenite (Chorus)
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei (Contralto and Chorus)
Qui tollis peccata mundi (Chorus)
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris (Contralto)
Quoniam tu solus sanctus (Chorus)
Cum Sancto Spiritu (Chorus)

An average performance lasts around 29 minutes but performance durations range from 26:42 to 32:28 minutes. I specifically comment on the opening and penultimate movements as they are the signature themes of the work.
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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2021, 03:15:28 PM »
I have eleven versions of this work in my collection of which two CDs I have posted and discussed before. These are….

Gloria RV589: Malgoire







This presentation has a sense of both “weight” and gravitas. The sound of both the choir and the orchestra is full and atmospheric. The tone is very much on the devotional side with relatively slow tempi throughout. The total duration is 30:41 minutes for this performance, the slowest of any recording in my collection. This is taken to something of an extreme in the opening and penultimate movements which are both too slow and ponderous for me. Otherwise, the tempi throughout both feel and sound appropriate. The choir sings wonderfully well and sounds very full and the sopranos Burgess and Chamonin and the contralto Watkinson sing very well. The orchestral accompaniment is sensitive and well balanced. There is some very fine music making here.



Gloria RV589: Preston





This is a very fine presentation. Preston gets the tempo and the tone just right throughout. The opening and penultimate movements are taken at a very appropriate tempo which delivers a sense of both joy and devotion which are well balanced. The sound of both the choir and orchestra are both full with well balanced intensity. There is a wonderful presence in the delivery throughout. The sopranos Nelson and Kirkby both sound wonderfully light and airy. Watkinson, the contralto, has a light but rounded vocal tone. The tone of this presentation is devotional but also somewhat on the joyful side. The choir sings wonderfully well and sounds very full and has a great presence. The orchestral accompaniment both sensitive and exuberant where appropriate.  The total duration is 29:11 minutes for this performance.

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #49 on: February 23, 2021, 03:19:41 PM »
The following are the only presentations that I have on vinyl….

Gloria RV589: Corboz





The pacing has a slow tempo overall with the opening and penultimate movements being moderately paced. The total duration being 32:28 minutes for this performance which makes it the slowest paced performance that I own. However, it does not feel that way except sometimes in the slower movements. The tone of this presentation is devotional. It has a sense of gravitas which is derived mainly from the choral contribution which sometimes drifts into the solemn in the slower movements but they do not sound ponderous. The choir sings well and sounds full. The orchestral accompaniment is also full sounding and does not dominate proceedings. The sopranos, Smith and Staempfli, sing well and have a light timbre. The alto, Schaer, also sings well and she has a rich tone without it being too heavy in texture.



Gloria RV589: Willcocks





The tone of this presentation is devotional. It has a sense of gravitas from both the choral and orchestral contributions bordering on the solemn, and sometimes even ponderous, particularly in the slower movements. The pacing has a slow to medium tempo with the opening and penultimate movements also being paced more on the slow side. The total duration being 29:20 minutes for this performance. The vocal soloists are Vaughan [soprano] and Baker [contralto] and their voices are too heavy toned for me in this music with far too much vibrato on offer. This is very much an “old school” presentation. There is nothing wrong with that in itself but this does not inspire.

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2021, 03:26:21 PM »
The rest are all CDs……..


Gloria RV589: Alessandrini





This is an interesting presentation in terms of its contrasts. The opening and penultimate movements are taken at break-neck speed, too fast and over exuberant for this piece I feel. The rest of the work is taken at a more appropriate tempo where the slow tempo movements are reverential and sound more appropriate and full. The performance feels just a little light and too rushed in the quicker tempo movements. The total duration is 27:37 minutes for this performance. The choral singing is very fine and York, Biccire and Mingardo are fine soloists. The orchestral accompaniment is sensitive and well balanced.



Gloria RV589: Gardiner





I am a self professed fan of Gardiner. He rarely disappoints me with his presentations, and so it is here. Both the opening and penultimate movements are keenly paced but not rushed. The overall tone of this presentation is devotional. It has a sense of gravitas without being overly intense. The vocal soloists Fugue [soprano], Ballard and Cameron [mezzo-sopranos] and Carter [contralto] are all very fine performers. The one advantage that Gardiner usually has is the tour de force that is the Monteverdi Choir and they are wonderful here. They have a great presence, sounding full without being assertive. They strike a very good balance. The orchestral accompaniment is also very sensitive and supportive. The pacing is on the quick side but one is not conscious of the tempo here. The total duration is 27:52 minutes for this performance. I particularly like this performance.



Gloria RV589: Hickox





The overall tone of this presentation is devotional. It has a sense of gravitas without being overly intense. The choral singing is very fine and full sounding with the requisite gravitas where required. Kirkby and Bonner are admirable sopranos but the alto vocals are taken here by the counter-tenor Chance. This is the only time that a male voice enters the frame in any presentation in my collection. The orchestral accompaniment is sensitive and does not dominate in any way. I like the orchestral sonorities in this recording. The pacing has a medium tempo with the opening and penultimate movements being moderately paced. The total duration being 29:20 minutes for this performance. I like this version. It has a warm and gentle feel to it.
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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #51 on: February 23, 2021, 03:33:08 PM »
Gloria RV589: King





The tone of this presentation is also devotional with the requisite sense of gravitas. The choral singing is very fine, smooth and full sounding throughout. The sopranos, Sampson and Lunn are wonderful as is the mezzo soprano Didonato. The orchestral accompaniment is also sensitive but full sounding. What I like about this presentation is that the signature Vivaldi rhythms are conspicuous throughout. The pacing has a medium tempo with the opening and penultimate movements being moderately paced. The total duration being 29:17 minutes for this performance. I also like this version with its warm, gentle tone and rhythms and its lyricism. 



Gloria RV589: Negri





The opening and penultimate movements are keenly paced and stimulating but do not feel rushed. They have a sense of urgency and joy without being over exuberant. The choral singing sounds very full without being ponderous and has a huge presence in the recording. The orchestral playing is also full sounding but never dominates proceedings. The pacing has a medium tempo overall with the total duration being 29:51 minutes for this performance. The tone of the presentation is quite devotional but without being over reverential. Marshall as the soprano and Murray as the mezzo-soprano sing well but sound a little on the heavy side for me in this music. This particularly relates to Finnila, the contralto. This is not a criticism, but rather a statement of preference on vocal style and the respective performances do not detract from this fine performance. Rather, they somewhat enhance it in a way. The pacing has a medium tempo with the total duration being 29:51 minutes for this performance. The up tempo movements can feel quite buoyant and free flowing. This is an enjoyable performance.

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #52 on: February 23, 2021, 03:36:29 PM »
Gloria RV589: Pearlman





The opening and penultimate movements are, once again, keenly paced here and are stimulating and buoyant but do not feel rushed. The choral singing sounds full and rounded with a lyrical flow to it. The orchestral playing is very fine and sensitive to the choral lead. Despite the total duration being 26:42 minutes for this performance the pacing never feels rushed or overly exuberant. The overall tone is devotional tending, in part, to the joyful. The standard Vivaldi rhythmic patterns are well displayed in this presentation. The soprano, Matthews, the mezzo-soprano Meek and the alto Philips are all fine singers but their tone is slightly on the heavy side for me, particularly and especially the alto. I like the tempo, tone and choral singing in this version.



Gloria RV589: Summerly/Ward





I bought this CD many years ago as I love both of the works on it and I had also always been very content with anything that I have heard under Summerly’s direction. I have not listened to it in quite a long time as I have purchased many different versions of both works over the years. On revisiting this version of the Vivaldi Gloria RV 589, I found it to feel too slow and ponderous and pedantic in places. The pacing is medium slow, with the total duration being 30:03 minutes for this performance, and there is a singular lack of punch or drive [particularly in the opening and penultimate movements] when compared with more modern versions. It can also be too lethargic and saccharine an interpretation in many places. Having said that, the quality of the choral singing is quite fine, smooth, well balanced and lyrical. The female vocal soloists are not credited but they sing admirably and are light in tone. The orchestral accompaniment is also light in tone and, although prominent, does not intrude excessively in the recording. Although fine in places, I have to say that this version would not be a recommendation from me.

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #53 on: February 23, 2021, 03:46:03 PM »
Aligreto,

This is (surprisingly) the only Gloria I have right now:


It is 27:38. I would like to have a supplemental version, and reading through your reviews, the one that seems to appeal most is King (whose work I have always enjoyed). You think I would find it satisfying? Out of curiosity, have you heard The 16?

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2021, 03:54:54 PM »
Aligreto,

This is (surprisingly) the only Gloria I have right now:


It is 27:38. I would like to have a supplemental version, and reading through your reviews, the one that seems to appeal most is King (whose work I have always enjoyed). You think I would find it satisfying? Out of curiosity, have you heard The 16?

8)


I have not heard The Sixteen version of the Gloria. I will check YT for that.
Like you, I have always admired King's interpretations and presentations of Vivaldi's music and this is a good one and would be a recommendation.
I am sure that you will enjoy it. Please report back if you go ahead with it.
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Offline DavidW

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #55 on: February 23, 2021, 04:48:53 PM »
I love Harry Christophers and The Sixteen in everything baroque and classical, I'll have to check it out.

Edit: I found what I guess is a re-print on Coro to stream but sadly it lacks the Caldara work.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 04:54:39 PM by DavidW »

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #56 on: February 23, 2021, 08:05:17 PM »

I have not heard The Sixteen version of the Gloria. I will check YT for that.
Like you, I have always admired King's interpretations and presentations of Vivaldi's music and this is a good one and would be a recommendation.
I am sure that you will enjoy it. Please report back if you go ahead with it.

Ah, good, I will indeed download that from Hyperion, and look forward to giving it a listen.
I love Harry Christophers and The Sixteen in everything baroque and classical, I'll have to check it out.

Edit: I found what I guess is a re-print on Coro to stream but sadly it lacks the Caldara work.

Pity, I'm a big fan of Caldara, he was a mainstay of the first half of the 18th century in Vienna. :)

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Online The new erato

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #57 on: February 24, 2021, 12:33:39 AM »
I consider Caldara one of the great baroque "dark horses", i.e. potentially one of those that would rank up with the "greats" given some more historical luck and exposure.

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #58 on: February 24, 2021, 04:02:09 AM »
I consider Caldara one of the great baroque "dark horses", i.e. potentially one of those that would rank up with the "greats" given some more historical luck and exposure.

I have this:


I haven't listened to it for ages. I remember liking it, but not so much as to become a Caldara nut.
It says in the back cover of this CD: "The Stabat Mater is a major score of the period, and in style and content stands comparison with his contemporary, Johann Sebastian Bach."

No, it certainly doesn't!  :-\
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Online The new erato

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Re: Vivaldi: cantatas, motets, and other sacred works
« Reply #59 on: February 24, 2021, 05:44:27 AM »
Without having heard it I woudn't argue with that. I mean, Bach? Let's get more eartbound for comparisons.