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The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: Que on April 08, 2007, 12:51:45 AM

Title: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on April 08, 2007, 12:51:45 AM
I'm honoured to restart the thread on these materpieces!  :)
The earlier thread on the old forum: Bach's Cantatas (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,7661.0.html)


This morning I came across this issue on Mirare. Does anyone know it?

(http://multimedia.fnac.com/multimedia//images_produits/ZoomPE/2/2/0/3760127220022.jpg)


And what about this 2CD reissue on Ricercar?

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/4968988.jpg)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on April 08, 2007, 01:20:50 AM
I collect Suzuki.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on April 08, 2007, 02:01:43 AM

  A question about Bach's Cantatas:

  Bach wrote over 200 cantatas, I own 14 of them (namely 4,8,27,44,51,59,78,80,140,147,158,173,184 and 189) providing well over 2.5 hours of music. I would like to know if it is worth buying more cantatas or have I gotten the "gist" of them? I guess what I am trying to ask is will I hear new melodies or music if you will or does it get to the point where its just variations on melodies (music) used in other cantatas?


  I would appreciate any feedback


   marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on April 08, 2007, 02:14:02 AM
  A question about Bach's Cantatas:

  Bach wrote over 200 cantatas, I own 14 of them (namely 4,8,27,44,51,59,78,80,140,147,158,173,184 and 189) providing well over 2.5 hours of music. I would like to know if it is worth buying more cantatas or have I gotten the "gist" of them? I guess what I am trying to ask is will I hear new melodies or music if you will or does it get to the point where its just variations on melodies (music) used in other cantatas?


  I would appreciate any feedback


   marvin

Marvin, I'll give you a straight answer.
YES, it is worthwhile to explore all the other cantatas.. :D

Many people expect repetitiveness in a cycle of 200 works, but that is simply not the case here.
And no way there are just a few masterpieces and the rest "run of the mill" quality, either.
If we are talking about the truly great cantatas: there are dozens of them.

Enjoy!

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on April 08, 2007, 02:15:14 AM
  A question about Bach's Cantatas:

  Bach wrote over 200 cantatas, I own 14 of them (namely 4,8,27,44,51,59,78,80,140,147,158,173,184 and 189) providing well over 2.5 hours of music. I would like to know if it is worth buying more cantatas or have I gotten the "gist" of them? I guess what I am trying to ask is will I hear new melodies or music if you will or does it get to the point where its just variations on melodies (music) used in other cantatas?


  I would appreciate any feedback


   marvin

Marvin, it's up to how much you love this kind of music. If you say 14 cantatas is enough it's the same like saying 6-7 Haydn Symphonies are enough. If you are not interested in exploring then don't. I'd say many of your cantatas are worse than say 21 and 61. You are also missing secular cantatas.

I love baroque cantatas (perfect form of music imo) and from my point of view you have less than 10 % of these jewels. I have ~70 cantatas and I don't feel I have enough...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on April 08, 2007, 02:46:46 AM
I collect Suzuki.



Me Too! ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on April 08, 2007, 04:41:30 AM
  A question about Bach's Cantatas:

  Bach wrote over 200 cantatas, I own 14 of them (namely 4,8,27,44,51,59,78,80,140,147,158,173,184 and 189) providing well over 2.5 hours of music. I would like to know if it is worth buying more cantatas or have I gotten the "gist" of them? I guess what I am trying to ask is will I hear new melodies or music if you will or does it get to the point where its just variations on melodies (music) used in other cantatas?

Marvin - have to agree w/ the others, the more you hear these wonderful works, the more of them you want!  I have only about 30 or so (a beginner!), and have not yet acquired any w/ Suzuki (although there certainly are other excellent options) - in fact I need to make a major effort and explore these works again - you might want to check out this excellent Bach Cantata Website (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/) - I've posted it in the old forum (as have others);plus, there may be other sites discussing these compositions?  Good luck, and YES if you've gone up to a dozen, start considering you next 12 -  ;D ;) :D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on April 08, 2007, 05:31:19 AM
It is hard, in the entire musical history, to find a group of works so rich inventive and deep expressive as Bach´s Cantates. I am in debt to this forum and the ZeroGain forum for getting the impulses to investigate these works, and I don´t regret this a minute.

Bach cantate thread here: http://www.zerogain.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on April 08, 2007, 06:02:02 AM
Here is an excellent resource in connection with the cantatas. I have about 70 of them, many duplicated or even in triplicate. They seem inexhaustible. I constantly marvel at Bach's long sinuous melodies and the frequent twinning with different woodwind instruments.

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on April 08, 2007, 06:15:33 AM


  I would like to thank everyone who responded to my query.  I am now convinced that I have not given these works the proper attention they deserve and am missing out on their complete value and will include Bach Canatats in my future purchases....starting with 71db's suggestion of Cantata 21 and 61 among others.  Sorry Que to have highjacked your initial query regarding the Mirare and Ricercar recordings I did not know what I had done until it was too late.  Perhaps someone qualified can respond to Que's initial inquiry? anyone heard these:

(http://multimedia.fnac.com/multimedia//images_produits/ZoomPE/2/2/0/3760127220022.jpg)
(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/4968988.jpg)



  marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on April 08, 2007, 06:23:17 AM
Sorry Que to have highjacked your initial query regarding the Mirare and Ricercar recordings I did not know what I had done until it was too late. 

  marvin

No matter, marvin! :)
What performances of Bach's cantatas do you have so far, and what do you like?

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on April 08, 2007, 06:39:36 AM
I would like to thank everyone who responded to my query.  I am now convinced that I have not given these works the proper attention they deserve and am missing out on their complete value and will include Bach Canatats in my future purchases....starting with 71db's suggestion of Cantata 21 and 61 among others. 

No problem! Even when you have explored all the Bach Cantatas there's tons of brilliant cantatas by other baroque composers like Buxtehude and Bruhns. Those cantatas were very influential to Bach and not inferior in any way.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on April 08, 2007, 07:24:22 AM
No problem! Even when you have explored all the Bach Cantatas there's tons of brilliant cantatas by other baroque composers like Buxtehude and Bruhns. Those cantatas were very influential to Bach and not inferior in any way.

And that is quite correct, take heed Marvin!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on April 08, 2007, 07:37:37 AM
And that is quite correct, take heed Marvin!


And to add GP Telemann who wrote a TON of vocal works - look HERE (http://www.uquebec.ca/musique/catal/telemann/telgp.html#Vocal%20sacré) - I have just a couple of discs, Festive & Christmas Cantatas.

Maybe we need another thread, i.e. 'Cantatas Not by JS Bach' ?   ;) :D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on April 08, 2007, 07:43:46 AM
And to add GP Telemann who wrote a TON of vocal works - look HERE (http://www.uquebec.ca/musique/catal/telemann/telgp.html#Vocal%20sacré) - I have just a couple of discs, Festive & Christmas Cantatas.

Maybe we need another thread, i.e. 'Cantatas Not by JS Bach' ?   ;) :D

That is not a bad idea Dave, I am sure 71db wouldn't mind starting it!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on April 08, 2007, 08:31:51 AM
No problem! Even when you have explored all the Bach Cantatas there's tons of brilliant cantatas by other baroque composers like Buxtehude and Bruhns. Those cantatas were very influential to Bach and not inferior in any way.

Buxtehude and Bruhns cantatas are as good as Bach's.  I don't think so.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on April 08, 2007, 08:49:05 AM
I'm thoroughly won over by Herreweghe's cantata recordings. Wonderful color and highly nuanced.

As far as dark horse recordings, none are more so than Christophe Coin's, yet deserving wider appeal.


(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/6173034.jpg) (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/e1/9f/f67812bb9da02992f227b010.L.jpg)



Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on April 08, 2007, 09:27:55 AM
No matter, marvin! :)
What performances of Bach's cantatas do you have so far, and what do you like?

Q

  Hello Que, I have the following recordings of the cantatas, my personal favorite is this one:
  (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000042HM.01.jpg)

  the soprano aria that opens Cantata 51 is unbelievable, I love how Bach "flirts" with the soprano driving up and up, truely inspring.  I also love Cantata 140 (Wachet auf, I have so many adaptations of this piece of music-Sleepers Awake) and also Cantata147.  this set is a must for every collection.

  I also have this:
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000000SMD.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V44436043_SS500_.jpg)
 
   Cantata 198 is the highlight here.

  And I have this:
 (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00007EBAN.02._SCLZZZZZZZ_SS500_.jpg)
   I bought this set beacuse I liked Cantata 44
  and finally I bought Cantata 4 off of itunes and have this recording:
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000057DC.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

  I love this recording, Cantata no.4 starts off with beautiful Sinfonia followed by a chorus that always gives me goosebumps when I hear it.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on April 08, 2007, 12:15:25 PM
That is not a bad idea Dave, I am sure 71db wouldn't mind starting it!

I'll see what I can do.  ;D

Buxtehude and Bruhns cantatas are as good as Bach's.  I don't think so.

The best cantatas by Buxtehude and Bruhns are better than the worst by Bach. Even if the music by Buxtehude and Bruhns was inferior to that of Bach it is worth exploring for it's beauty.

And to add GP Telemann who wrote a TON of vocal works - look HERE (http://www.uquebec.ca/musique/catal/telemann/telgp.html#Vocal%20sacré) - I have just a couple of discs, Festive & Christmas Cantatas.

Thanks SonicMan! I find Telemann a bit boring baroque composer but I definitely should check out his cantatas.  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on April 08, 2007, 02:03:04 PM
No problem! Even when you have explored all the Bach Cantatas there's tons of brilliant cantatas by other baroque composers like Buxtehude and Bruhns. Those cantatas were very influential to Bach and not inferior in any way.

   I am ashamed to admit that I have not heard of either Buxtehude nor Bruhns.  Untill those names were mentioned the only composer I know who influenced Bach was Vivaldi.  I know Handel wrote Cantatas (The Italian Cantatas I think they are called) but I do not know if they influenced Bach's cantatas or not?

  marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on April 08, 2007, 02:04:43 PM
The best cantatas by Buxtehude and Bruhns are better than the worst by Bach. Even if the music by Buxtehude and Bruhns was inferior to that of Bach it is worth exploring for it's beauty.


You've changed your story on this one, a welcome change for sure.  And I agree that Buxtehude and Bruhns cantatas are worth exploring (Telemann also).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on April 08, 2007, 02:06:52 PM
  Hello Que, I have the following recordings of the cantatas, my personal favorite is this one:
  (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000042HM.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SS500_.jpg)

  the soprano aria that opens Cantata 51 is unbelievable, I love how Bach "flirts" with the soprano driving up and up, truely inspring.  I also love Cantata 140 (Wachet auf, I have so many adaptations of this piece of music-Sleepers Awake) and also Cantata147.  this set is a must for every collection.


Yes, a wonderful set and there's none better.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on April 08, 2007, 02:23:32 PM
Marvin - have to agree w/ the others, the more you hear these wonderful works, the more of them you want!  I have only about 30 or so (a beginner!), and have not yet acquired any w/ Suzuki (although there certainly are other excellent options) - in fact I need to make a major effort and explore these works again - you might want to check out this excellent Bach Cantata Website (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/) - I've posted it in the old forum (as have others);plus, there may be other sites discussing these compositions?  Good luck, and YES if you've gone up to a dozen, start considering you next 12 -  ;D ;) :D

   Thanks for the link SonicMan, I am starting to consider the next 12: so far I have this in mind: Cantata 21, 61 as per 71db recommendations, I have read that 29,199 and 208 (I believe thats where "sheep may safely graze" comes from) are notable.  This is going to be a very long journey indeed......

marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on April 08, 2007, 03:13:56 PM
   I am ashamed to admit that I have not heard of either Buxtehude nor Bruhns.  Untill those names were mentioned the only composer I know who influenced Bach was Vivaldi.  I know Handel wrote Cantatas (The Italian Cantatas I think they are called) but I do not know if they influenced Bach's cantatas or not?

Marvin - please, do not feel bad about your above comments - I own no Buxtehude or Bruhns, but would certainly like to acquire some of their works; a couple of interesting stories about Buxtehude that may be of interest:  1) Buxtehude's fame as an organist in Lübeck enticed JS Bach to walk over 200 miles or so in 1705 to see him perform & study his technique; and 2) Bach wanted to replace Buxtehude in that position (remember Bach was only 20 y/o or so), but he would have had to 'marry' Bux's daughter (who was described as 'old & ugly' at this point - check  here (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,757578,00.html)); Bach declined.  Bottom line is that Buxtehude is considered an important pre-Bach Baroque composer worthy of exploration (but stay away from his daughter -  ;) ;D) -  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on April 08, 2007, 03:20:08 PM
Handel's Italian cantatas are mainly solo cantatas and are altogether different beasts from Bach's. They are not religious, rather they are mostly devoted to mythical or historical situations. Some are very fine indeed and they come from Handel's early career.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on April 08, 2007, 10:16:57 PM
  Hello Que, I have the following recordings of the cantatas, ...

You already have a lot, and in different styles too! :D
It's difficult to make any recommendations now - it really depends on you preferences!
But If you are going to expand on your Bach cantatas collection you'll undoubtedly encounter these conductors. BTW, it's all HIP (= historically informed performances).

Philippe Herreweghe has done a lot of cantatas - though not a complete cycle.
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00009YWA8.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg) (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00004SDHT.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt did the first complete cantata cycle - still my favourite.
Also available on single CD's (2nd picture).
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00008VH7T.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg) (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000MR9DG8.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

John Elliot Gardiner's cycle is still in progress:
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0006OR17K.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

Masaaki Suzuki's ongoing cycle you already know  :) :
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000007OAU.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

Ton Koopman's complete cycle has just finished.
(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/8485456.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/1420317.jpg)

Sigiswald Kuijken has just started a cantata cycle, though he won't record all - just a complete lithurgical year.
(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/7212826.jpg)

Q



Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on April 09, 2007, 12:10:54 AM
You already have a lot, and in different styles too! :D
It's difficult to make any recommendations now - it really depends on you preferences!
But If you are going to expand on your Bach cantatas collection you'll undoubtedly encounter these conductors. BTW, it's all HIP (= historically informed performances).

Phillippe Herreweghe has done a lot of cantatas - though not a complete cycle.

Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt did the first complete cantata cycle - still my favourite.

John Elliot Gardiner's cycle is still in progress:

Masaaki Suzuki's ongoing cycle you already know  :) :

Ton Koopman's complete cycle has just finished.

Sigiswald Kuijken has just started a cantata cycle, though he won't record all - just a complete lithurgical year.

Oh, how I'd love to have them all!
If I were a rich man ....



Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on April 09, 2007, 01:42:39 AM
"He was so impressed he might have hung on and become Buxtehude's successor.
But unwritten law at St. Mary's required the new organist to marry his predecessor's wife or daughter. Buxtehude's daughter was so old and ugly that Bach went back to his organ post at Arnstadt."


  This has got to be the funniest thing I have read in a very long time.  What a social custom it was!

  The La Petite Band cantatas sound very interesting. I have always liked the La Petite Band recording of Bach's Mass: 
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000026NDJ.02._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

  I will start with the La Petite Band recordings of the cantatas.

   marvin
 
   

   


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on April 09, 2007, 01:58:38 AM
   I am ashamed to admit that I have not heard of either Buxtehude nor Bruhns.  Untill those names were mentioned the only composer I know who influenced Bach was Vivaldi.  I know Handel wrote Cantatas (The Italian Cantatas I think they are called) but I do not know if they influenced Bach's cantatas or not?

  marvin

I have created a thread (non Bach) baroque cantatas (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,149.0.html)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on April 09, 2007, 02:29:26 AM
You've changed your story on this one, a welcome change for sure.  And I agree that Buxtehude and Bruhns cantatas are worth exploring (Telemann also).

No, I didn't change my story, just said the same thing differently. Everybody knows that Bach's 200+ cantatas are an unsurpassable achievement but that does not mean cantatas by other composers should be neglected. The cantatas of Buxtehude and Bruhns represent middle baroque while Bach's cantatas are late baroque. So, they have slightly different strenghts. Bach's music is very tense in it's persistent goal to combine melodic lines with harmony and counterpoint while middle baroque is more relaxed and breathing because it rests more on beautiful heavenly sounds and musical effects. I have room in my heart for both (and many more) approaches.

71 db,

Why don't you start with this post (and delete it here) a general non-Bach "German Baroque Cantatas" thread, as has already been suggested?  :) Don't be shy... 8)

Q

I will but it takes time. I don't know how to do it. I need time to think.

EDIT: I have done what you say Que. Happy?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on April 09, 2007, 03:09:39 AM
EDIT: I have done what you say Que. Happy?

Very. :)
And what's more - it creates the opportunity to focus on Bruhns, Buxtehude, Telemann, etc. other than "en marge" of a Bach topic.

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: val on April 10, 2007, 03:12:14 AM
My choice for the Cantatas would be the version of Harnoncourt and Leonhardt. They have great moments (the BWV 20 by Harnoncourt is extraordinary).

Suzuki is a remarkable conductor in this repertory but his soloists are sometimes mediocre.

There are very good things in the anthology set of Karl Richter, with modern instruments: the BWV 44, 60, 78, 96 among others, are splendid.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on April 10, 2007, 03:15:03 AM
).

Suzuki is a remarkable conductor in this repertory but his soloists are sometimes mediocre.



Suzuki has only one soloist problem, and it goes by the name of Robin Blaze!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: val on April 10, 2007, 03:34:04 AM
Quote
Harry

Suzuki has only one soloist problem, and it goes by the name of Robin Blaze!

Yes, regarding Blaze. But, what about Jan Kobow? And the soprano Nonoshita has a voice that doesn't seem to me to be very adequated to this repertory. Only the bass is good.
We must not forget, among the other versions, the sopranos Mathis, Ameling or Giebel, the altos Janet Baker, Finnila, or even the countertenor Esswood or Jacobs, the tenors Equiluz or Häfliger, the bass van Egmond.

But I repeat: Suzuki is a remarkable conductor of Bach.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on April 10, 2007, 03:42:26 AM
Yes, regarding Blaze. But, what about Jan Kobow? And the soprano Nonoshita has a voice that doesn't seem to me to be very adequated to this repertory. Only the bass is good.
We must not forget, among the other versions, the sopranos Mathis, Ameling or Giebel, the altos Janet Baker, Finnila, or even the countertenor Esswood or Jacobs, the tenors Equiluz or Häfliger, the bass van Egmond.

But I repeat: Suzuki is a remarkable conductor of Bach.

Agreed about Kobow, but Nonoshita is absolutely wonderful and well fitted into Bach's framework.
Of the others I find Ameling, Esswood, Equiluz and Egmond fine singers.
But the soloist from Suzuki have something different to tell.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on April 10, 2007, 04:03:25 AM
I don't have problems with any of Suzuki's soloists, even Robin Blaze.

Then again, I don't have fixations about the right & wrong ways to perform music...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on April 10, 2007, 04:10:51 AM
I don't have problems with any of Suzuki's soloists, even Robin Blaze.

Then again, I don't have fixations about the right & wrong ways to perform music...

Remember the first counter with whom Suzuki worked, Mera, he was the best counter I ever heard, although many think his voice a girly one, well that's what a counter is suppose to be! Blaze is just a howler like the one Ron is getting I think from his grandmother in the first Harry Potter film.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on April 10, 2007, 04:12:22 AM
Remember the first counter with whom Suzuki worked, Mera, he was the best counter I ever heard, although many think his voice a girly one, well that's what a counter is suppose to be! Blaze is just a howler like the one Ron is getting I think from his grandmother in the first Harry Potter film.


Why was Mera replaced by Blaze?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on April 10, 2007, 04:22:32 AM
Why was Mera replaced by Blaze?

Because Suzuki did not think him religious enough. Maybe he was not in real life, but his voice is one from heaven.
Suzuki made herein a big mistake.
Also the pop music attracted Mera very much, but that did not work out.
And BIS is not interested in him anymore.
But we have the first six issues with him, or more, I forgot.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on April 10, 2007, 04:53:57 AM
Because Suzuki did not think him religious enough. Maybe he was not in real life, but his voice is one from heaven.
Suzuki made herein a big mistake.
Also the pop music attracted Mera very much, but that did not work out.
And BIS is not interested in him anymore.
But we have the first six issues with him, or more, I forgot.

Religious enough???  ??? Damn, I am an atheist and I love 17th/18th century church music!
It's nobody's damn business how religious Mera is!

Is Mera recording under any other label?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on April 10, 2007, 04:56:01 AM
Religious enough???  ??? Damn, I am an atheist and I love 17th/18th century church music!
It's nobody's damn business how religious Mera is!

Is Mera recording under any other label?

Not that I know of.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on April 10, 2007, 04:57:39 AM
Not that I know of.

Pitty.

Seriously, Mera should sue BIS for religious discrimination.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Larry Rinkel on April 10, 2007, 05:01:55 AM
I find Suzuki altogether too precious and manicured in his approach to Bach, even in live performance (I heard his St. Matthew Passion a few years ago in Carnegie Hall with the notorious Robin Blaze). I don't think anyone has yet mentioned Helmuth Rilling, whose recordings on Hänssler of the passions and cantatas strike me as much more involved and involving than either Suzuki or Gardiner. Rilling's CDs often turn up inexpensively on eBay or through Berkshire. I also got the complete Harnoncourt sacred cantatas (some 60 CDs) from Berkshire for only $240 USD, or $4 a disc - a bargain.

As for the question, does one need to know all the Bach cantatas? Probably not. Not every one is an undying masterpiece. I probably know about 75 myself, so there are quite a few I've not yet encountered. If Marvin does not know the B minor mass or the two Passions, not to mention the great organ preludes and fugues, the Goldberg Variations, or the Art of Fugue, I'd sooner point him in those directions than trying to acquire every possible cantata. But a more productive approach might be for each person well-versed in the cantatas to nominate some dozen or so of their favorites, to see what concensus might be reached on which are some of the essential ones Marvin might be missing. Two nominations from the start: 106, 131.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: maswot on April 12, 2007, 06:43:14 AM
Can anyone comment on the new Gardiner recordings? They get rave reviews, of course, but that means less than nothing these days.

I agree that Herreweghe's offerings have been excellent. It would be great to see him get around to do a complete set.

I have about 30 of the Suzuki volumes, and as a set they are pretty amazing, even if it's true that some of the cantatas are more spectacular than others. It's a monumental commitment, and to have this high level of quality on a project of this size is remarkable in its own right.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on April 12, 2007, 11:52:32 AM
I find Suzuki altogether too precious and manicured in his approach to Bach, even in live performance (I heard his St. Matthew Passion a few years ago in Carnegie Hall with the notorious Robin Blaze). I don't think anyone has yet mentioned Helmuth Rilling, whose recordings on Hänssler of the passions and cantatas strike me as much more involved and involving than either Suzuki or Gardiner. Rilling's CDs often turn up inexpensively on eBay or through Berkshire. I also got the complete Harnoncourt sacred cantatas (some 60 CDs) from Berkshire for only $240 USD, or $4 a disc - a bargain.

As for the question, does one need to know all the Bach cantatas? Probably not. Not every one is an undying masterpiece. I probably know about 75 myself, so there are quite a few I've not yet encountered. If Marvin does not know the B minor mass or the two Passions, not to mention the great organ preludes and fugues, the Goldberg Variations, or the Art of Fugue, I'd sooner point him in those directions than trying to acquire every possible cantata. But a more productive approach might be for each person well-versed in the cantatas to nominate some dozen or so of their favorites, to see what concensus might be reached on which are some of the essential ones Marvin might be missing. Two nominations from the start: 106, 131.


    Hello Larry and thanks for the detailed reponse.  I am familiar with the Mass in B Minor (a splendid work of music) the two Passions (St. Matthew and St. Johns), the Goldberg Variations, and Art of Fugue.  I am however not familiar with the Great Organ preludes and fugues (except the obvious Toccata and Fugue in D minor).  After reading what you have just written I am going to start looking into recordings of the Organ Works.  Starting a nomination of cantatas to add to ones collection is an EXCELLENT idea.  Collecting Bach's work is going to be a lifetime endeavour.  Cantatas 106 and 131 have been logged in as future purchases.

  marvin     
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on April 12, 2007, 12:36:23 PM
"He was so impressed he might have hung on and become Buxtehude's successor.
But unwritten law at St. Mary's required the new organist to marry his predecessor's wife or daughter. Buxtehude's daughter was so old and ugly that Bach went back to his organ post at Arnstadt."


  This has got to be the funniest thing I have read in a very long time.  What a social custom it was!

  The La Petite Band cantatas sound very interesting. I have always liked the La Petite Band recording of Bach's Mass: 
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000026NDJ.02._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

marvin


Great taste, as Leonhardt's Mass in B minor is my favored version on record.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on April 12, 2007, 12:42:05 PM
Suzuki has only one soloist problem, and it goes by the name of Robin Blaze!

You got that right!  Although still a young man, Blaze needs to change his profession to one where he can keep his mouth closed.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on April 12, 2007, 12:43:50 PM
But I repeat: Suzuki is a remarkable conductor of Bach.

Totally agree, and I also find Rifkin, Gardiner and Herreweghe remarkable.  Koopman I can take or leave.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on April 12, 2007, 12:49:36 PM
I find Suzuki altogether too precious and manicured in his approach to Bach, even in live performance (I heard his St. Matthew Passion a few years ago in Carnegie Hall with the notorious Robin Blaze). I don't think anyone has yet mentioned Helmuth Rilling, whose recordings on Hänssler of the passions and cantatas strike me as much more involved and involving than either Suzuki or Gardiner. Rilling's CDs often turn up inexpensively on eBay or through Berkshire. I also got the complete Harnoncourt sacred cantatas (some 60 CDs) from Berkshire for only $240 USD, or $4 a disc - a bargain.


I acquired about ten Rilling cds of Bach Cantatas series.  Not bad at all with a definite homage to historically informed practices.  BUT, I feel that Suzuki, Gardiner, et al leave him at the starting gate.  When I want some modern instrument Bach cantatas, I reach for the Naxos discs.  I suppose that means that the 10 Rillings will eventually have to find another home (perhaps Harry's new one).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on April 12, 2007, 12:52:05 PM
I acquired about ten Rilling cds of Bach Cantatas series.  Not bad at all with a definite homage to historically informed practices.  BUT, I feel that Suzuki, Gardiner, et al leave him at the starting gate.  When I want some modern instrument Bach cantatas, I reach for the Naxos discs.  I suppose that means that the 10 Rillings will eventually have to find another home (perhaps Harry's new one).

O sure send them over, plenty of room you know! ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on April 12, 2007, 12:52:15 PM
As for the question, does one need to know all the Bach cantatas? Probably not. Not every one is an undying masterpiece. I probably know about 75 myself, so there are quite a few I've not yet encountered. If Marvin does not know the B minor mass or the two Passions, not to mention the great organ preludes and fugues, the Goldberg Variations, or the Art of Fugue, I'd sooner point him in those directions than trying to acquire every possible cantata. But a more productive approach might be for each person well-versed in the cantatas to nominate some dozen or so of their favorites, to see what concensus might be reached on which are some of the essential ones Marvin might be missing. Two nominations from the start: 106, 131.

I'll have to bow out on this one.  Although I certainly agree that some of the cantatas are better than the remainder, I've never acquired Bach cantata discs on that basis.  I go with conductor preferences, finding that each and every cantata has much to offer me.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on April 12, 2007, 12:54:34 PM
Can anyone comment on the new Gardiner recordings?

I love them.  The basic reason is that Gardiner celebrates Bach's music and god.  Most others offer a more reverential treatment.  Not being a religious person, the lack of reverence is fine with me.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on April 12, 2007, 12:57:58 PM

    Hello Larry and thanks for the detailed reponse.  I am familiar with the Mass in B Minor (a splendid work of music) the two Passions (St. Matthew and St. Johns), the Goldberg Variations, and Art of Fugue.  I am however not familiar with the Great Organ preludes and fugues (except the obvious Toccata and Fugue in D minor).  After reading what you have just written I am going to start looking into recordings of the Organ Works.  Starting a nomination of cantatas to add to ones collection is an EXCELLENT idea.  Collecting Bach's work is going to be a lifetime endeavour.   

You can cut many years off the total if you acquire and listen at a more frequent pace.  That's what I did, realizing that modest contributions of finances and time would take forever, and I'm not a patient guy.  To me, instant gratification takes too long. ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Justin Ignaz Franz Bieber on April 12, 2007, 09:04:36 PM
I love them.  The basic reason is that Gardiner celebrates Bach's music and god.  Most others offer a more reverential treatment.  Not being a religious person, the lack of reverence is fine with me.

on paper i would think JEG's recordings would be the best, at least for me anyway. many of the soloists have also recorded with the hilliard ensemble, tallis scholars, gabrieli consort & other early music groups. i wish they had samples of bwv41 up but it looks like it hasn't been released yet.  :( i also like koopman's recordings generally; i'd probably like his cantata set too. someday i'll get both. :P
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: sunnyside_up on April 13, 2007, 02:49:25 AM
Hi Marvin,

I'm on a journey of discovery with the cantatas also! 

For me it started when I bought the very cheap Brilliant Classics Bach: The Masterworks set, containing a fair selection of the cantatas. I'd not listened to any of them prior to that, but I have loved Bach's instrumental music ever since I first heard it in music class in high school.  After hearing those Leusink ones, I started wanting more, but didn't know where to start - I was gobsmacked by the sheer volume of them all. Like others on this forum, I have found the bach-cantatas website very informative.

Then I discovered a link to Simon Crouch's Listener's Guide to the Cantatas which helped me along the way: http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/works/bachjs/cantatas.html (http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/works/bachjs/cantatas.html)
and I decided to let Simon's choices guide me. He uses a rating index of his favourites, so I simply started from the top, getting CDs by many different interpreters. I've found that I love Herreweghe most of all, but I also have a few by Suzuki that I wouldn't part with, and Gardiner (especially in the more celebratory cantatas), plus of course the Rifkin Favourites set.

I listen to a cantata every day at least!! If I haven't got a new one to hear, I go back to my favourites:

131, 4, 1, 21, 106 (I like Bach's earlier style!), 63, 78, 161.

I'm very excited at the moment because I have just ordered Trauer Ode!!

Happy listening!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on April 13, 2007, 02:54:17 AM


  Thanks for the link sunnyside_up  :)

  marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on April 13, 2007, 10:54:30 PM
"He was so impressed he might have hung on and become Buxtehude's successor.
But unwritten law at St. Mary's required the new organist to marry his predecessor's wife or daughter. Buxtehude's daughter was so old and ugly that Bach went back to his organ post at Arnstadt."


  This has got to be the funniest thing I have read in a very long time.  What a social custom it was!

  The La Petite Band cantatas sound very interesting. I have always liked the La Petite Band recording of Bach's Mass

  I will start with the La Petite Band recordings of the cantatas.

   marvin

Excellent choice, if I may say so! ;D  It's my personal favourite amongst the newcomers.
Kuijken does very intimate, lyrical and fluid performances. Special about these are the small scale vocals: one voice per part - which creates a very high degree of transparancy.

Five issues to date:

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/7212826.jpg)  (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/4963035.jpg)  (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/7953279.jpg)  (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/4098491.jpg)  (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/5140428.jpg)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Justin Ignaz Franz Bieber on April 14, 2007, 05:42:17 PM
i can't find samples of those ones i bet they're good... i like the kuijkens & i like most of the ovpp recordings i've heard... kuijken, gardiner, koopman, suzuki... how does someone pick just one set?!  :'(
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on April 14, 2007, 06:41:50 PM
... how does someone pick just one set?!  :'(

You don't! ;D Not with these all-encompassing works.

I've got cantatas from Herreweghe, Coin, Rifkin, Rilling, Goodman, Parrott, Funfgeld, Richter, Goebel, and Schreier.

And I feel I've barely scratched the surface!

But, really, it doesn't take a huge investment in time to piece together a fine collection of cantatas. If you find you like e.g. Gardiner then simply buy up all there is from him. He's recorded many and you'll learn much.

For me if it came right down to it I could probably live the rest of my life with nothing more than the ongoing Herreweghe cycle. That's how satisfied I am with his approach.

But doing so would preclude exposure to some fine soloists like Prégardien, Schäfer, Goerne, and the like which are found on other sets. So I do enjoy exploring other interpretations.

But, yes, tackling the cantatas on records can be daunting. There's an ocean of them to be had. But that's the good part!! The not-so-good part is finding time to track down one's 'faves'. But it's time well spent and can pay huge dividends.



Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on April 14, 2007, 08:28:13 PM
i can't find samples of those ones i bet they're good... i like the kuijkens & i like most of the ovpp recordings i've heard... kuijken, gardiner, koopman, suzuki... how does someone pick just one set?!  :'(

Biber fan (great composer btw!), try these links for samples.  :)

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/7212826/rk/classic/rsk/hitlist (http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/7212826/rk/classic/rsk/hitlist)
http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/4963035/rk/classic/rsk/hitlist (http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/4963035/rk/classic/rsk/hitlist)
http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/7953279/rk/classic/rsk/hitlist (http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/7953279/rk/classic/rsk/hitlist)
http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/4098491/rk/classic/rsk/hitlist (http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/4098491/rk/classic/rsk/hitlist)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: RebLem on April 14, 2007, 10:56:55 PM
Marvin, I'll give you a straight answer.
YES, it is worthwhile to explore all the other cantatas.. :D
Many people expect repetitiveness in a cycle of 200 works, but that is simply not the case here.
And no way there are just a few masterpieces and the rest "run of the mill" quality, either.
If we are talking about the truly great cantatas: there are dozens of them.
Enjoy!
Q

I concur wholeheartedly with Q.  A while back I bought the hanssler Complete Bach Edition, and in the cantatas, I just got up through Cantata 79.  Bach wrote, I think, about 198 sacred cantatas and, at the rate I am going, probably about 135 or so are absolute masterpieces.  There are probably no more than 4-5 real duds in the bunch, and most of those are fragments which, for some damn fool reason, have been assigned BWV numbers as if they were full cantatas.  If I may make a recommendation, I just listened yesterday to the Cantatas 77, 78, and 79.  I can heartily recommend the Rilling disc of those; they are not cantatas that are on everybody's list of some of the greatest, like 4, 51, 140, etc.  but they are just wonderful, inspiring works, as almost all of them are.  You might want to go out and get this disc, because I don't think any of these have been recorded except as part of complete sets, meaning that they are not among the most famous, and yet they are absolutely wonderful works.  Get just that one CD, and see if you don't agree.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on April 15, 2007, 06:22:52 AM
I concur wholeheartedly with Q.  A while back I bought the hanssler Complete Bach Edition, and in the cantatas, I just got up through Cantata 79.  Bach wrote, I think, about 198 sacred cantatas and, at the rate I am going, probably about 135 or so are absolute masterpieces.  There are probably no more than 4-5 real duds in the bunch, and most of those are fragments which, for some damn fool reason, have been assigned BWV numbers as if they were full cantatas.  If I may make a recommendation, I just listened yesterday to the Cantatas 77, 78, and 79.  I can heartily recommend the Rilling disc of those; they are not cantatas that are on everybody's list of some of the greatest, like 4, 51, 140, etc.  but they are just wonderful, inspiring works, as almost all of them are.  You might want to go out and get this disc, because I don't think any of these have been recorded except as part of complete sets, meaning that they are not among the most famous, and yet they are absolutely wonderful works.  Get just that one CD, and see if you don't agree.

   Your recommendations have been noted  :) RebLem, thanks.
   marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Novi on April 15, 2007, 07:34:05 AM
Excellent choice, if I may say so! ;D  It's my personal favourite amongst the newcomers.
Kuijken does very intimate, lyrical and fluid performances. Special about these are the small scale vocals: one voice per part - which creates a very high degree of transparancy.

Five issues to date:

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/7212826.jpg)  (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/4963035.jpg)  (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/7953279.jpg)  (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/4098491.jpg)  (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/5140428.jpg)

Q

I'll definitely have to get hold of some of these. Recently, I attended a OVPP performance of the St Matthew Passion by the Dunedin Consort and it was a revelation. There was such a clarity to the lines and as you say, a kind of intimacy too. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on April 15, 2007, 07:45:07 AM
If I may make a recommendation, I just listened yesterday to the Cantatas 77, 78, and 79.  I can heartily recommend the Rilling disc of those; they are not cantatas that are on everybody's list of some of the greatest, like 4, 51, 140, etc.  but they are just wonderful, inspiring works, as almost all of them are.  You might want to go out and get this disc, because I don't think any of these have been recorded except as part of complete sets, meaning that they are not among the most famous, and yet they are absolutely wonderful works. 

Not correct.  Each of those three cantatas are available from other labels without having to acquire complete sets.
For example, BWV 79 is available on a 2-cd set from Rifkin, single cd from Herreweghe, single cd from Suzuki, vol. 7 of the Gardiner series and vol. 12 from Koopman.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on April 15, 2007, 07:57:17 AM
Not correct.  Each of those three cantatas are available from other labels without having to acquire complete sets.
For example, BWV 79 is available on a 2-cd set from Rifkin, single cd from Herreweghe, single cd from Suzuki, vol. 7 of the Gardiner series and vol. 12 from Koopman.

Didn't RebLem mean you can't have all 3 cantatas on the same disc elsewhere?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on April 15, 2007, 08:03:28 AM
Didn't RebLem mean you can't have all 3 cantatas on the same disc elsewhere?

I can't answer as to RebLem's intent, only a reasonable take on what he wrote.  Besides, who the hell cares whether all three are on the same disc?  Well, has no significance to me.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Grazioso on April 17, 2007, 02:45:21 AM
I'm honoured to restart the thread on these materpieces!  :)
The earlier thread on the old forum: Bach's Cantatas (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,7661.0.html)


This morning I came across this issue on Mirare. Does anyone know it?

(http://multimedia.fnac.com/multimedia//images_produits/ZoomPE/2/2/0/3760127220022.jpg)


And what about this 2CD reissue on Ricercar?

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/4968988.jpg)

Q

I haven't heard the latter, but anything with the late, lamented counter-tenor Henri Ledroit is worth a listen.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on April 17, 2007, 03:12:35 AM
I can't answer as to RebLem's intent, only a reasonable take on what he wrote.  Besides, who the hell cares whether all three are on the same disc?  Well, has no significance to me.

If sameone wants just those three cantatas only (why would anyone?) he/she needs to buy only one disc. Anyway, I agree with you Don this advantage is more or less irrelevant. I want all cantatas and I will collect all of them.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on May 07, 2007, 08:00:19 PM
Where are these reissues to be found Que?

They look like this - haven't seen them on American sites yet, but that should only be a matter of time.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41fUpSgvV2L._AA240_.jpg)

They are 9 euros a piece at Amazon.de, 6 euros at jpc (http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/home/-/lang/en/currency/USD) (= roughly $8,15) per disc.

Q

Just leave an additional note here on this single CD reissues of the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt cycle.
Saw them yesterday in the shop and maybe good to know (especially for non-German speakers): only tracklistings and German texts - no notes and NO translations!

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bunny on May 09, 2007, 07:29:28 AM
Here's another cantatas cycle (still in progress).  I heard them do the Coffee Cantata (excellent) as well as the Christmas Oratorio (also excellent) this past season.  Here is the first volume of the cycle.  They also have one of the best Händel Messiahs around, too. ;D

Hopefully also Harry and Que have heard this wonderful ensemble live, too. 

Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51N2AC8W23L._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on May 09, 2007, 09:09:51 AM
Here's another cantatas cycle (still in progress).

Actually, that project was completed last year. Koopman has already switched to Buxtehude's Opera Omnia. Should be worth listening, too!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on May 09, 2007, 09:21:16 AM
Koopman has already switched to Buxtehude's Opera Omnia. Should be worth listening, too!

That's great!  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on May 20, 2007, 06:58:43 AM
Well, this Sunday morn, listening to some newly acquired Bach Cantatas w/ Suzuki & the gang!  Specifically, volumes 14 & 16 (received Vol. 11 a few weeks ago) - little duplication w/ what I own currently - these continue to delight, and my first experience w/ these Suzuki performances!  :)

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41QSXTK5DVL._AA240_.jpg)  (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41X7M340J2L._AA240_.jpg)  (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/8e/b1/ed61d250fca0dc5d9a294010._AA170_.L.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on May 20, 2007, 07:28:26 AM
Well, this Sunday morn, listening to some newly acquired Bach Cantatas w/ Suzuki & the gang!  Specifically, volumes 14 & 16 (received Vol. 11 a few weeks ago) - little duplication w/ what I own currently - these continue to delight, and my first experience w/ these Suzuki performances!  :)

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41QSXTK5DVL._AA240_.jpg)  (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41X7M340J2L._AA240_.jpg)  (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/8e/b1/ed61d250fca0dc5d9a294010._AA170_.L.jpg)

I am glad about that! :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on May 20, 2007, 07:31:16 AM
That's great!  :)

Well Gramophone thought the one with Emma Kirkby better as the Koopman!
I do too! Although my friend 71 Db did not like it, when this Dacapo disc was rereleased on Naxos, I was very positive.
More people thinking in the same line.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on May 20, 2007, 12:55:06 PM
Well Gramophone thought the one with Emma Kirkby better as the Koopman!
I do too! Although my friend 71 Db did not like it, when this Dacapo disc was rereleased on Naxos, I was very positive.
More people thinking in the same line.


I have problems with the Handel Cantata CD. On my other Emma Kirkby discs she sings nicely. Maybe someday I figure out what the problem is... ...you keep bringing this up. I wish I had never said anything about Emma K.  :-\
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on May 27, 2007, 02:19:53 AM
This caught my interest after reading this favourable review (http://www.classiquenews.com/ecouter/lire_chronique_cd.aspx?id=450) (in french).
Verdict: "incontournable"...

Anyone knows it?

Q

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/3600704.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bunny on May 27, 2007, 04:30:09 AM
This caught my interest after reading this favourable review (http://www.classiquenews.com/ecouter/lire_chronique_cd.aspx?id=450) (in french).
Verdict: "incontournable"...

Anyone knows it?

Q

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/3600704.jpg)

I'm curious about Heinz Hennig who made the album.  Is it the same Heinz Hennig who was father of Sebastian Hennig (former boy soprano, now baritone), director of the Hannover Knabenchor who died in 2002 or another member of that family?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on May 27, 2007, 04:47:37 AM
I'm curious about Heinz Hennig who made the album.  Is it the same Heinz Hennig who was father of Sebastian Hennig (former boy soprano, now baritone), director of the Hannover Knabenchor who died in 2002 or another member of that family?

Yes, I understand he was the director of the Hannover Knabenchor. Didn't know he died, but the recording is from 2000. BTW, Sebastian Hennig was one of the best boys' sopranos I've ever heard.

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bunny on May 27, 2007, 06:27:01 AM
Yes, I understand he was the director of the Hannover Knabenchor. Didn't know he died, but the recording is from 2000. BTW, Sebastian Hennig was one of the best boys' sopranos I've ever heard.

Q

He died in 2002.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: sunnyside_up on June 06, 2007, 02:19:30 AM


As far as dark horse recordings, none are more so than Christophe Coin's, yet deserving wider appeal.


(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/6173034.jpg) (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/e1/9f/f67812bb9da02992f227b010.L.jpg)






I just received Volume 1 of the above (Cantatas 180, 49 and 115) in the mail today and can't stop playing it. Now I want to get the other two in the series but it seems they are OOP although Amazon has a couple of second hand copies which the vendors won't ship to Australia  :(
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Novi on June 06, 2007, 06:04:28 AM
I just received Volume 1 of the above (Cantatas 180, 49 and 115) in the mail today and can't stop playing it. Now I want to get the other two in the series but it seems they are OOP although Amazon has a couple of second hand copies which the vendors won't ship to Australia  :(

Are any of these (http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_w_h_/026-9792775-6644403?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=coin+bach) what you're looking for?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: beclemund on June 06, 2007, 07:40:29 AM
I really have enjoyed the few volumes of Gardiner's Cantata cycle that I have purchased. Not only are the performances amazing, but the liner notes are very educational and the overall presentation of the product is quite lovely.

One disc that I have not seen mentioned and that I always go back to is this one:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/31GFPYTH66L._AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Cantatas-BWV-82-199/dp/B0000AOVTI)

Very well recorded and performed.

My small collection of cantatas includes some of Gardiner's releases and also of Herreweghe. I also have the coffee and peasant cantatas (211 and 212) from Neville Marriner with Varady and Fischer-Dieskau. The recorded sound on that one is not as fine as I would like, but the performances are engaging and entertaining.

Suzuki's Johannespassion inspired a renewed interest for me in Baroque vocal works a few years ago. While I have neglected adding his cantata cycle to my library, I have no doubt they are well conducted, performed and recorded based on the gorgeously performed passions.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 06, 2007, 08:14:28 PM
I just received Volume 1 of the above (Cantatas 180, 49 and 115) in the mail today and can't stop playing it.

It is good, isn't it?

Quote
Now I want to get the other two in the series but it seems they are OOP although Amazon has a couple of second hand copies which the vendors won't ship to Australia  :(

! :(


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: sunnyside_up on June 07, 2007, 01:21:56 AM
Are any of these (http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_w_h_/026-9792775-6644403?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=coin+bach) what you're looking for?

Bingo! Just ordered both the other Christophe Coin ones - thanks Novitiate, I didn't think to check Amazon UK (duh on my part)! I already have these cantatas in my collection, but I enjoyed Coin's performance so much I think they will put my others in the shade! The only (very slight) disappointment is the inclusion of Barbara Schlick, whose voice I find rather shrill - but I LOVE the overall performance and approach he had for Cantatas 180, 49 and 115.

Does anyone make compilations of their favourite cantata movements?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: RebLem on June 07, 2007, 01:47:03 AM
If sameone wants just those three cantatas only (why would anyone?) he/she needs to buy only one disc. Anyway, I agree with you Don this advantage is more or less irrelevant. I want all cantatas and I will collect all of them.

I made this recommendation as a way of testing the waters.  Dipping, not into what everyone recognizes as the great masterpiece cantatas, but the ones one might suspect are ordinary, run of the mill cantatas.  They aren't, of course, very few are.  My intent was to say, "Try these cantatas that no one has singled out for special praise, and discover for yourself how great they really are.  Then, if you agree, go out and buy a complete cycle."
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on June 21, 2007, 10:10:41 PM
This new issue that I came across, would be a nice one for Harry.
Bach cantatas with Emma Kirkby, what more could he wish for?!  :)

Q

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/5794380.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on June 21, 2007, 10:43:43 PM
This new issue that I came across, would be a nice one for Harry.
Bach cantatas with Emma Kirkby, what more could he wish for?!  :)

Q

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/5794380.jpg)

Thanks Que, it on my order list, missed that one somehow. :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Tancata on June 22, 2007, 03:01:56 AM
This new issue that I came across, would be a nice one for Harry.
Bach cantatas with Emma Kirkby, what more could he wish for?!  :)

Q

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/5794380.jpg)

I don't want to make my first contribution to the new version of this thread too negative, but a well-meaning relative bought this for me last week and I don't like it. The instrumental side of things is decent if a little leaden, but IMO the OVPP singing is out of balance. The tenor (Daniels) and bass (Harvey) put in respectable performances, but the soprano (gulp...Kirkby) and alto (Chance, his voice now seriously clapped-out) aren't up to much.

In the SATB movements, there isn't the blending and balance of Kuijken's excellent OVPP series. Chance is especially noticeable, hooting and cooing distractingly throughout. Kirkby is alright in these bits, but her voice - for whatever reason - is quite thin and insubstantial in the solo movements.

....

Some recommendations for single cantata sets that I don't see above:

Konrad Junghaenel / Cantus Koln - "Actus tragicus and other cantatas" (Harmonia Mundi)

Superb OVPP performances of some early cantatas, including my favourites "Christ lag in todesbanden" (4), the "Actus tragicus" (106) and "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" (12).

Cantatas for Alto / Andreas Scholl, Phillipe Herreweghe (Harmonia Mundi)

One of my favourite CDs. Scholl gives breathtaking performances of "Vergnugte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust" (170), "Wiederstehe doch der Sunde" (54) and "Geist und Seele wird Verwirret" (35). He's pretty much the perfect singer for this material, and it was recorded in 1998 when his voice was still at the peak.

Cantatas for Bass / Thomas Quasthoff (DG)

Quasthoff's voice has its quirks, but the stars came into perfect alignment for this recital! It features the usual solo bass cantata programme - "Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen" (56), "Der Friede sei mit dir" (158), and "Ich habe genug" (82).

As for complete sets, I collect Gardiner and Kuijken, who give contrasting but excellent performances! Suzuki is also wonderful - I have a couple of the Suzuki sets and I would be almost as happy with those as with the Gardiner series.

A good taster of Gardiner's set is Vol. 14. It's 1-cd versus the normal 2-disc sets, so it's cheaper, and it has some marvellous Christmas cantatas - well worth checking out.


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on June 22, 2007, 06:08:05 AM
I don't want to make my first contribution to the new version of this thread too negative, but a well-meaning relative bought this for me last week and I don't like it.

I personally find dislikes as interesting and informative as favourites - perhaps even more so.

Good to see you back on (y)our favourite thread!  :)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on June 22, 2007, 01:28:32 PM
I don't want to make my first contribution to the new version of this thread too negative, but a well-meaning relative bought this for me last week and I don't like it.

Hey, don't worry. Although I can't say anything about this second Volume, I personally thought that Volume One, though very polished, was also very superficial. It didn't touch me at all. I even get more excited about Rifkin's OVPP performances. ;)
But, AFAIK, Harry loves Kirkby, so of course he should buy these two volumes. I for instance love Lucia Popp, and I even bought some of her Bach, although her voice isn't suited for baroque, IMHO. Still, you're a fan or you're not .... and I am!

Quote from: Tancata
Some recommendations for single cantata sets that I don't see above:

Konrad Junghaenel / Cantus Koln - "Actus tragicus and other cantatas" (Harmonia Mundi)

Superb OVPP performances of some early cantatas, including my favourites "Christ lag in todesbanden" (4), the "Actus tragicus" (106) and "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" (12).

Cantatas for Alto / Andreas Scholl, Phillipe Herreweghe (Harmonia Mundi)

One of my favourite CDs. Scholl gives breathtaking performances of "Vergnugte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust" (170), "Wiederstehe doch der Sunde" (54) and "Geist und Seele wird Verwirret" (35). He's pretty much the perfect singer for this material, and it was recorded in 1998 when his voice was still at the peak.

Seconded!
Your other recommandation, Quasthoff, I don't know (yet?).


Greetings,

Marc.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 22, 2007, 06:22:51 PM
As far as dark horse recordings, none are more so than Christophe Coin's, yet deserving wider appeal.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/e1/9f/f67812bb9da02992f227b010.L.jpg)


Speaking of Coin, the above recording is available again.

Here's a nice write-up in Classics Today. (http://classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=11070)



Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Tancata on June 23, 2007, 03:58:15 AM
Your other recommandation, Quasthoff, I don't know (yet?).

It's on modern instruments, but it's really very special even if you are a HIP freak like me. I was originally recommended it by Bunnyears (if she is still around here...) and it's definitely worth checking out. There was a follow-up disc of sacred music from both the baroque and later periods, "Betrachte, meine Seel", which isn't nearly as interesting, though.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on June 23, 2007, 08:38:27 AM
It's on modern instruments, but it's really very special even if you are a HIP freak like me. I was originally recommended it by Bunnyears (if she is still around here...) and it's definitely worth checking out.

I'm sorry, I wasn't making myself really clear. I did know about the Quasthoff CD, but never listened to it (probably because I prefer my Bach HIP, too, though not being a freak :)). I'll check my library next week if they have it. If I'd buy anything I'm interested in, I'd be Ken Shabby now.
BTW: I like Quasthoff's voice, for instance in Schubert (Winterreise) and Mahler (Des Knaben Wunderhorn).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on September 17, 2007, 02:32:16 AM
Time to bump this thread! :)

You're all kindly invited to post here now and then on:

What are  your favourite Bach cantatas?
Which cantatas are you currently listening to?

(And what are your impressions on the work & performance.)

After a lapse of over a year, I've decided to regularly listen to a Bach cantata again.
And I probably will decide on buying some new recordings as well... 8)


My cantata for today is an old favourite of mine:
"Gleich wie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt" BWV 18 . It is an early cantata which was written in 1713/14 during Bach's time in Weimar. Relatively short and of plain construction.

What struck me when I first heard it was the unusual opening: not a chorus but an instrumental "Sinfonia" with a catchy recurring tutti-theme and alternating 1st & 2nd violins. After a recitative for bass - representing the voice of Christ - comes a second recitative for tenor and bass, with interludes for soprano (here sung by a boy). This is IMO the jewel in the crown of the cantata - note the references to the enemies of Protestantism - the "murderous Turk and Papists". (Quotations from Luther...).
Then a virtuosic soprano aria "Mein Seelenschatz", which rather taxes the boy soprano. The cantata concludes with a simple chorus.

I've uploaded the recording with an anonymous boy soprano, Kurt Equiluz (tenor) and Max van Egmond (bass), the Wiener Sängerknaben, the Chorus Viennensis and the Concentus Musicus Wien conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. He recorded the Weimar version - there is also a later version from Leipzig with augmentation of the part for strings with recorders (I'd rather would have wanted that, but Harnoncourt is kind of strict in these matters... :-\)
Click the picture for the downloads (AAC 320 kbps) - bilingual texts can be found here (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV18-Eng3.htm)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w300/front/0/1816170.jpg) (http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=9c0ccb4c58d823baab1eab3e9fa335ca91b83f365d492714)

Hope you enjoy! :)

Q

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on September 17, 2007, 02:46:04 AM
Donwyn, is Coin HIP?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on September 17, 2007, 03:07:02 AM
Time to bump this thread! :)

You're all kindly invited to post here now and then on:

What are  your favourite Bach cantatas?
Which cantatas are you currently listening to?

(And what are your impressions on the work & performance.)

After a lapse of over a year, I've decided to regularly listen to a Bach cantata again.
And I probably will decide on buying some new recordings as well... 8)

Q


  Q you couldn't have bumped this thread at a better time, at least as far as I am concerned.  Just last week I picked up the following catatas 10, 93, 178, and 107 Suzuki, 61, 63, 132, 172 Suzuki, 61 again, 36, 62 Gardiner and 202, 210 Hogwood.  For the past couple of months I have neglected these fine works and concentrated on opera and now I am resolved to listen to a cantata every day.  Of those listed above, Suzuki and Gardiner are excellent, I am not terribly happy with the Hogwood set (a found the recordings a bit "dry") but hey you can't win all the time.  My favorite cantatas from those purchased are the 60s series (61-63 are simply outstanding).

  marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on September 17, 2007, 03:12:13 AM
Donwyn, is Coin HIP?

David, allow me to answer that instead: yes, Coin is HIP.

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Larry Rinkel on September 17, 2007, 03:26:36 AM
I've been going through the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt set in BWV order. Up to 128 or so. The soprano aria in 127 with oboe obbligato and pizzicato strings must be one of Bach's greatest.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on September 17, 2007, 08:36:00 AM
Time to bump this thread! :)

You're all kindly invited to post here now and then on:

What are  your favourite Bach cantatas?
Which cantatas are you currently listening to?

(And what are your impressions on the work & performance.)

After a lapse of over a year, I've decided to regularly listen to a Bach cantata again.
And I probably will decide on buying some new recordings as well... 8)

Hey man! Autumn is on its way, it's time for me Schubert and me Mahler! Bach is me spring composer!
Anyway, here you have one (of my ... about 200 ... favourites):
BWV 84: Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke.
Very appropriate for the first sunny day of spring!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 17, 2007, 09:04:19 AM
David, allow me to answer that instead: yes, Coin is HIP.

Q

David,

As Q said...well, you get the message... ;D




Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on September 17, 2007, 09:31:12 AM
 My favorite cantatas from those purchased are the 60s series (61-63 are simply outstanding).

The opening choir (and tenor aria) of BWV 62!
Very exciting indeed. Maybe a bit too exciting with Gardiner, though. I miss the longing in his interpretation.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Tancata on September 17, 2007, 01:27:54 PM
Two beautiful cantatas I've been listening to lately are BWV 55 "Ich armer Mensch, ich Sundenknecht" and BWV 134 "Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiß". The former I haven't been able to put away since I heard Mark Padmore do it in Edinburgh a few weeks ago. The latter is simply a damn fine cantata - one of my favourites - that I have overlooked until very recently. There is a fine tenor aria "Auf, Glaeubige, singet die lieblichen Lieder" but the two high points are a stunning duet for alto and tenor, "Wir danken und preisen..." and the elaborate closing chorus "Erschallet ihr Himmel, erfreue dich, Erde".
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on September 17, 2007, 01:53:20 PM
The opening choir (and tenor aria) of BWV 62!
Very exciting indeed. Maybe a bit too exciting with Gardiner, though. I miss the longing in his interpretation.

 Yes there is a lot of excitement with Gardiner, but I took to it rather well.  Its quite refreshing to hear a different interpretation (as oppossed to a subdued one voice per part recording) every once in awhile.

  marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on September 17, 2007, 02:49:28 PM
I want to hear HIP Bach Cantatas, haven't since the brilliant classics set, I might check out Coin then if it's highly rec'd here.  Is it highly rec'd here?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on September 18, 2007, 12:40:07 AM
I believe I've posted this before on the old forum:

A great reference book on Bach's cantatas - includes all texts in English & German.
IMO a must-have for Bach cantata lovers (Click picture for link to Amazon.com)

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41025J0FYYL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Cantatas-J-Bach-Librettos-German-English/dp/0199297762/ref=sr_1_1/002-2454004-1034404?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190107632&sr=1-1)

I was a bit taken aback by the price btw.  :-\
The German-only edition that I have myself is considerably cheaper (click here (http://www.amazon.de/Kantaten-Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Texten/dp/3423044314/ref=sr_1_2/303-0712140-0597050?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190108119&sr=1-2))

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on September 18, 2007, 09:43:25 AM
I've been going through the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt set in BWV order. Up to 128 or so. The soprano aria in 127 with oboe obbligato and pizzicato strings must be one of Bach's greatest.

Yes, another aria to give the lie that Bach was not a melodist. What nonsense.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on September 18, 2007, 04:09:28 PM
Yes, another aria to give the lie that Bach was not a melodist. What nonsense.

Mike

Hey wait what?  Where did this come from?  So confused. ???
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 18, 2007, 06:18:14 PM
Hey wait what?  Where did this come from?  So confused. ???

David,

I think Mike's referring to the egregious stereotype that seems to dog Bach wherever he goes: that he's the master of highly complex musical forms and little else.

A skilled mathematician who missed his calling, I believe is how it goes...



Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on September 19, 2007, 01:38:58 AM
David,

I think Mike's referring to the egregious stereotype that seems to dog Bach wherever he goes: that he's the master of highly complex musical forms and little else.

A skilled mathematician who missed his calling, I believe is how it goes...


I think "the master of highly complex musical forms" includes being a melodist...

Melodies do not dominate J. S. Bach's music. Perhaps that's why some people say he wasn't a melodist?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on September 19, 2007, 03:30:39 AM
David,

I think Mike's referring to the egregious stereotype that seems to dog Bach wherever he goes: that he's the master of highly complex musical forms and little else.

A skilled mathematician who missed his calling, I believe is how it goes...





Yep, That's it. I recall at least two threads where people weighed in to claim that Bach could not write memorable melodies, some people here must be deaf.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on September 19, 2007, 08:06:34 AM
Yep, That's it. I recall at least two threads where people weighed in to claim that Bach could not write memorable melodies, some people here must be deaf.

Mike

If not deaf, they are lazy listeners.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on September 19, 2007, 10:10:51 AM
I've been going through the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt set in BWV order. Up to 128 or so. The soprano aria in 127 with oboe obbligato and pizzicato strings must be one of Bach's greatest.

Yes, another aria to give the lie that Bach was not a melodist. What nonsense.

Melodist or not a melodist; he composed the alto aria "Ich will auch mit gebrochnen Augen...." (Cantata BWV 125: Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin)! So what the [.... :-X] are we talking about??
A Dutch writer once wrote something like: if that piece had been composed for one of his Passions, it would have been his most famous aria. Well, there are already some incredible arias in those Passions, but this one is very special indeed. Flute, oboe d'amore in an ethereal ensemble (yet with striking dissonances), combined with mesmerizing playing of the basso continuo. The man certainly was touched by .... God?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on September 19, 2007, 10:33:21 AM
I've been going through the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt set in BWV order. Up to 128 or so. The soprano aria in 127 with oboe obbligato and pizzicato strings must be one of Bach's greatest.

Brought my girlfriend to tears every time I played that recording.
Sterling Bach!

(127 = "Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott", the aria is called "Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen")

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on September 22, 2007, 12:44:07 PM
Back to basics :)

What are  your favourite Bach cantatas?
Which cantatas are you currently listening to?


Favourite Bach cantatas; I already mentioned one: BWV 84. I'll name other favourites later on :), but right now I'm listening to BWV 14 Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit, starting with a tremendous opening choral choir, which has the grandeur of a motet. There's also a great bass aria "Gott, bei deinem starken Schützen". with two lovely oboes circling around, added with a firm basso continuo part.
One of those works I very rarely listen to, and by neglecting them giving myself the opportunity to rediscover them. Ain't that great? :D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on October 05, 2007, 06:37:08 AM
The best Bach cantatas are the most incredibly beautiful music my ears ever have had the bliss to encounter.

Not every cantate is as inspired as those undeniable highlights like BWV 4, 22, 78, 106, et cetera. But when Bach had an off-day, he was still better than most of his colleages.

Beware, though, because there has been a tendency among a certain group of malicious conductors to make the terrible mistake of thinking that Bach wrote his cantatas and passions for one voice per part. This curious misunderstanding has been growing eversince a dubious publication by Joshua Rifkin appeared, around 1981. McCreesh, Junghänel and Rifkin himself are famous for conducting these one-voice-per-part-performances. Usually, these interpretations have a lot of merits, but they fail horribly in being true to Bach's wishes. It simply contradicts the whole aesthetic of of baroque music.

The Koopman-cycle is about the closest you can get to authenticity. The sublime Suzuki-cycle is essential for those who favor sheer beauty to authenticity. You gotta love it. For most cantatas Suzuki delivers angel-like performances. One wonders: can this get any more beautiful? Somewhere in between appears the cycle by Gardiner, who sometimes makes shocking musical interpretations, but is experienced enough to deliver outstanding performances overall.

Forget and throw away Harnoncourt/Leonhardt.

Not in a million years! :o  :o
BTW - while you're at it: throw them in the direction of Bill (Bogey), he would be most happy to catch them... ;D


Quote
For differentiation, buy some cantata-cd's by Herreweghe.

They are very nice.

Quote
Useful advice for everybody who, like me, once made the grave mistake of buying the complete Brilliant-cycle by Leusink: remove the front and back covers, throw away the cd's, and use the empty jewel cases to replace broken ones.

The 'whig head' rules.

 8)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: beclemund on October 05, 2007, 07:37:06 AM
Incidentally, for those looking to sip from multiple cups of the most recent Bach cantata cycles and who do not mind listening via high quality downloads, emusic (http://www.emusic.com/?tafisnid=E1E39FE312406B3826D88A6A7F303F5B&fref=300030) has recently added to their store collections from Gardiner, Herreweghe, Koopman, Rilling and Suzuki. You get 50 free downloads with a trial membership, so you can try something different from each cycle or stack up your favorite cantata from each conductor. ;)

Personally, I really enjoy the CD releases of each, but I intend to focus on the Gardiner releases because I find them quite enjoyable to listen to, and I think the whole package and presentation is quite good (I have said as much earlier in this thread). But I have not been disappointed by the Suzuki or Herreweghe releases either. I own some on CD and some from emusic (http://www.emusic.com/?tafisnid=E1E39FE312406B3826D88A6A7F303F5B&fref=300030) downloads.

Over the last year, the music department here at the university in cooperation with a university based museum on the campus where I work has been presenting Bach cantatas during the lunch hour every last Tuesday of the month. I even managed to get a handful of my work colleagues to take in the show last month and all had a great time. The *fortunate* effect of the experience has been a renewed interest in Bach's cantatas. While I cannot say I have specific favorite cantatas, I can say there is much to appreciate in every one of the ones that I have heard.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on November 10, 2007, 04:10:54 AM
This new issue seems a very pleasant surprise!!  :)
Very good singers and I suspect that accompaniment by Café Zimmermann will be excellent.

(http://www.fugalibera.com/data/cds/263/BIG.JPG) (http://www.fugalibera.com/readmorecd.php?cd=263&label=alpha)
                      click picture for link

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on November 25, 2007, 12:24:47 PM
How many volumes of the Gardiner cycle are out?  When I look at the lists there seems to be some holes in the volume numbers.  Is this correct or are some OOP?

And, are the Gardiner recordings the closest thing to the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt recordings?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 25, 2007, 12:41:42 PM
I think that the intent is to issue them all, but they are not being issued in what I can detect as being an entirely logical order.

Here is a link to the site.
http://www.monteverdiproductions.co.uk/about_us/sdg.cfm

This particular page has a drop down box and clarifies what is available.

http://www.monteverdiproductions.co.uk/shop/

The BBC Mag has some Gardiner CD recordings of Bach Christmas music on its Dec issue. I have not had a chance to listen to it yet.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: AnthonyAthletic on November 25, 2007, 12:51:42 PM
I have recenty bought this Double Decca with Joshua Rifkin.  Hardly heard any of the Cantatas so not really knowing what to expect.  It sits eagerly on the shelf.  2cds I imagine is just the dew on the tip of the iceberg, but its a start, and at £1.36p the Double...couldn't find any reason to say no.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41GDZV1FV9L._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on November 25, 2007, 12:57:42 PM
And, are the Gardiner recordings the closest thing to the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt recordings?

I would say not.
It's hard to compare the diffent conductors, but I guess that Sigiswald Kuijken (on Accent) - who played with Leonhardt, Koopman (on Antoine Marchand) - who also worked with him and is a former student of Leonhardt, and Suzuki (on Bis) - who is a former student of Koopman, all come closer. Each in his own way.

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 25, 2007, 01:04:14 PM
This might prove to be an odd recording to start you out on the adventure of the Cantatas. Rifkin is as much academic as performer. He has been pushing the idea that many of Bach's church choral works were sung one to a part. He has issued a B Minor mass where the choral parts were sung by the soloists, I love it. Following from that concept, much later, McCreesh issued a similarily scaled St Matthew Passion and it works wonderfully, but is not mainstream.

Now, I am unclear whether the recordings you have now bought are one to a part in the choral movements, but for sure, it will be a far from dull interpretation and that music is most beautiful, especially the initial movement of the Actus Tragicus.

Let us know how you get along with the discs.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on November 25, 2007, 01:09:15 PM
I think that the intent is to issue them all, but they are not being issued in what I can detect as being an entirely logical order.

Here is a link to the site.
http://www.monteverdiproductions.co.uk/about_us/sdg.cfm

This particular page has a drop down box and clarifies what is available.

http://www.monteverdiproductions.co.uk/shop/

The BBC Mag has some Gardiner CD recordings of Bach Christmas music on its Dec issue. I have not had a chance to listen to it yet.

Mike

Very helpful Mike.  Thank you.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on November 25, 2007, 01:11:33 PM
I would say not.
It's hard to compare the diffent conductors, but I guess that Sigiswald Kuijken (on Accent) - who played with Leonhardt, Koopman (on Antoine Marchand) - who also worked with him and is a former student of Leonhardt, and Suzuki (on Bis) - who is a former student of Koopman, all come closer. Each in his own way.

Q

I will go back and sample those again Que with the links you already posted.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on November 25, 2007, 02:19:24 PM
I will go back and sample those again Que with the links you already posted.

You could always buy the real thing... :)

Just reissued - £130 at Europadisc.

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/2564699437.jpg)

Complete sacred cantatas Harnoncourt/ Leonhardt

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on November 25, 2007, 02:57:34 PM
You could always buy the real thing... :)

Just reissued - £130 at Europadisc.

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/2564699437.jpg)

Complete sacred cantatas Harnoncourt/ Leonhardt

Q

Did not know about this reissue.  Is it only available in Europe?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on November 25, 2007, 05:09:23 PM
Still being new to the cantata arena, and the more I think about it,  I believe I may want to sample a bit more with different conductors/ensembles before pulling the trigger on a complete set.  Then when I have a variety of recordings upon the shelf I will be able to make a more informed decision.  And it may be that I would enjoy the variety for variety sake.  However, for that much music the price is very tempting.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on November 25, 2007, 10:24:27 PM
Still being new to the cantata arena, and the more I think about it,  I believe I may want to sample a bit more with different conductors/ensembles before pulling the trigger on a complete set.  Then when I have a variety of recordings upon the shelf I will be able to make a more informed decision.  And it may be that I would enjoy the variety for variety sake.  However, for that much music the price is very tempting.

Bill, I think it's a smart move to try different styles and conductors - there are so many good interpretations around these days.  :) New cantata cycles keep popping up - incredible. And also outside the cycles there are many beauties to be found (Pierlot, Junghänel, Coin, Herreweghe)
And in the meantime the price of that Harnoncourt/Leonhardt set can only go down! ;D

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on November 25, 2007, 11:29:41 PM
Not to forget the deeply religious approach of Suzuki, and the constant quality he brings with his team....
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: FideLeo on November 25, 2007, 11:33:33 PM
Not to forget the deeply religious approach of Suzuki, and the constant quality he brings with his team....

What makes Suzuki's approach particularly "religious"?   :D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on November 26, 2007, 12:13:45 AM
What makes Suzuki's approach particularly "religious"?   :D

Because Suzuki approaches the music from his faith, as all participants do....
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on November 26, 2007, 01:13:20 AM
Because Suzuki approaches the music from his faith, as all participants do....

What is Suzuki's religion? Shinto? Buddhism? Only 0.7 % of Japanese people profess to Christianity according to Wikipedia.

I am an atheist and I enjoy Bach's religious music enormously.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on November 26, 2007, 01:19:04 AM
What is Suzuki's religion? Shinto? Buddhism? Only 0.7 % of Japanese people profess to Christianity according to Wikipedia.

I am an atheist and I enjoy Bach's religious music enormously.

He is Christian Poju....
I think I did not imply that being a atheist makes it impossible to listen to Suzuki's interpretation, now did I, or for that matter to Bach.....
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on November 26, 2007, 01:20:05 AM
Hardly heard any of the Cantatas so not really knowing what to expect. 

You are in for a ride.  ;) Next you can explore the Cantatas of Buxtehude and Bruhns. So much beautiful music!

He is Christian Poju....
I think I did not imply that being a atheist makes it impossible to listen to Suzuki's interpretation, now did I, or for that matter to Bach.....

Really? So he is one of the ~900.000 Christians in Japan.

No you didn't imply that Harry, but Suzuki could have any religion to perform Bach well.  ;)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: FideLeo on November 26, 2007, 01:27:44 AM
Because Suzuki approaches the music from his faith, as all participants do....

Can it be argued that his faith isn't any more religious than other musicians' faith?   ;)

ps. 1 The Suzuki's (Masaaki, Hidemi and Midori) are indeed christian, with ordained
priests in their family no less.

ps. 2 An article on modern interpretations of JSB's own faith:
http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~tas3/rationalistpietist.html
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on November 26, 2007, 01:35:27 AM
Can it be argued that his faith isn't any more religious than other musicians' faith?   ;)



No..... :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: FideLeo on November 26, 2007, 01:45:03 AM

No..... :)

I think yes. ;D   It seems to me that Leonhardt is quite a pious person himself, if Harnoncourt can't be said of the same. :o  ;D   
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: rubio on November 29, 2007, 11:28:13 PM
I would like to sample some of Suzuki's cantatas. Do you have a suggestion for one terrific disc to try? It could be with some Christmas cantatas since it is this time of the year.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on November 30, 2007, 04:52:45 PM
Bill, I think it's a smart move to try different styles and conductors - there are so many good interpretations around these days.  :) New cantata cycles keep popping up - incredible. And also outside the cycles there are many beauties to be found (Pierlot, Junghänel, Coin, Herreweghe)
And in the meantime the price of that Harnoncourt/Leonhardt set can only go down! ;D

Q

This set proved just that:

(http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Rifkin-C02.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on December 01, 2007, 12:41:07 AM
This set proved just that:

(http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Rifkin-C02.jpg)

(http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:370YLmRV6XtLvM:http://www.moderntimes.com/palace/30_image/forest.jpg)
Discovered coffee and Bach's Cantatas at 42.

 ;D

So, the tasting is in the eating! :)
What do you make of Rifkin's famous "one voice per part" (OVP) approach?
Does it work for you?

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on December 01, 2007, 06:32:34 AM
(http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:370YLmRV6XtLvM:http://www.moderntimes.com/palace/30_image/forest.jpg)
Discovered coffee and Bach's Cantatas at 42.

 ;D

So, the tasting is in the eating! :)
What do you make of Rifkin's famous "one voice per part" (OVP) approach?
Does it work for you?

Q

You know Q, I am still new enough to these that I do not fully undestand what you mean by an OVP approach as opposed to others as I just thought that is how Bach intended these, but I can tell you I am enjoying these very much.  However, the handful of Harnocourt or Leonhardt that I own I enjoy probably a bit more.  Not so much due to the performances here on the Rifkin discs, but rather the "sound" of the recordings.  The Harnoncourt and the Leonhardt discs seem to have a cleaner more open sound to me and make me feel that I am actually there during the performances....as if I am walking into the sanctuary while the performance is on going.

Back to the OVP approach for a moment.  For this Rifkin set, is that how Bach intended them and if not, does that throw a wrench into the HIP fabric?  Just for the record, I do find the idea of HIP to be a neat thing (my wife does as well), but on the other hand, I do not let a wonderful non-HIP performance distract my enjoyment. 

Finally, is the BWV number always the same as the cantata number?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on December 01, 2007, 06:56:39 AM
You know Q, I am still new enough to these that I do not fully undestand what you mean by an OVP approach as opposed to others as I just thought that is how Bach intended these, but I can tell you I am enjoying these very much.  However, the handful of Harnocourt or Leonhardt that I own I enjoy probably a bit more.  Not so much due to the performances here on the Rifkin discs, but rather the "sound" of the recordings.  The Harnoncourt and the Leonhardt discs seem to have a cleaner more open sound to me and make me feel that I am actually there during the performances....as if I am walking into the sanctuary while the performance is on going.

Back to the OVP approach for a moment.  For this Rifkin set, is that how Bach intended them and if not, does that throw a wrench into the HIP fabric?  Just for the record, I do find the idea of HIP to be a neat thing (my wife does as well), but on the other hand, I do not let a wonderful non-HIP performance distract my enjoyment. 

Finally, is the BWV number always the same as the cantata number?

Bill, glad you enjoy the Rifkin, but as you know I'm an Harnoncourt/Leonhardt addict as well!  8)

Rifkin is very much HIP! It's just that in HIP quarters there is difference of opinion on the question if Bach intended the different parts in the chorus (tenor, soprano, etc.) to be sung by just one singer (OVP), or that a (slightly) larger number of choristers is the right way to go. Rifkin was a pioneer and staunch advocate of OVP, but most HIP conductors use larger choruses. I'm sure other forum members can elaborate further on this issue. Personally, I have no strong opinions on the matter - both ways can work IMO.

On the numbering - because the BWV numbering (most conveniently) starts with the cantatas, the cantata number is indeed the same as the BWV number.  :)

Q

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on December 01, 2007, 07:01:08 AM
Bill, glad you enjoy the Rifkin, but as you know I'm an Harnoncourt/Leonhardt addict as well!  8)

Rifkin is very much HIP! It's just that in HIP quarters there is difference of opinion on the question if Bach intended the different parts in the chorus (tenor, soprano, etc.) to be sung by just one singer (OVP), or that a (slightly) larger number of choristers is the right way to go. Rifkin was a pioneer and staunch advocate of OVP, but most HIP conductors use larger choruses. I'm sure other forum members can elaborate further on this issue. Personally, I have no strong opinions on the matter - both ways can work IMO.

On the numbering - because the BWV numbering (most conveniently) starts with the cantatas, the cantata number is indeed the same as the BWV number.  :)

Q



Thanks...was chomping at the bit waiting for you to finish your post.  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on December 01, 2007, 07:47:52 AM
FWIW, I have 51 and 140 by Rifkin and by Leonhardt and Harnoncourt respectively.  I may do some comparing this weekend.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on December 01, 2007, 07:53:56 AM
... make me feel that I am actually there during the performances....as if I am walking into the sanctuary while the performance is on going.

Bill, your remark brings back fond memories of the occasions I've attended live performances of Bach's cantatas in two churches here in Leiden. Performed by amateur (HIP!) ensembles from the area, together with (young) professional singers. Of course the quality of the ensemble is not professional, but still surprisingly good, and being able to hear a performance live does more than compensate for minor blemishes. :) The style in which they perform is eeringly close to Leonhardt/Harnoncourt & Koopman. Don't know what it is with the Dutch, but Bach's vocal music - the Passions and the cantatas - are very, very popular here and seems to run in the blood!  ;D

The "Hooglandse Kerk" is my favourite - perfect accoustics for Bach cantatas!

(http://www.teije.nl/im/2006/holland/im/holland0603090.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/40/Hooglandse_kerk_transept2.jpg/375px-Hooglandse_kerk_transept2.jpg)

The larger "Pieterskerk":

(http://www.pds.ewi.tudelft.nl/~iosup/pics/2k4_10_30_Delft_Leiden/tn/193_Pieterskers_from_far_away.med.jpg) (http://www.leidencongresstad.nl/img/congreslocaties/pieterskerk003.jpg)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on December 01, 2007, 08:15:28 AM
Beautiful.  Just shared with the wife Q.  What a setting for this wonderful music.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: KevinP on December 01, 2007, 02:28:14 PM
Bogey, give Richter's cantatas a try, preferably his older recordings.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on December 01, 2007, 02:40:24 PM
Kevin, Perhaps suggest specifics? I took your suggestion of the St Matthew a long time ago; loved it.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on December 01, 2007, 02:49:42 PM
Bogey, give Richter's cantatas a try, preferably his older recordings.



Don recommended this set Kevin.  Have it on my wish list.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411999MCKNL._AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on December 01, 2007, 02:53:11 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41lXlzuLbTL._AA240_.jpg)

Some truly sublime Bach on this Baker/Marriner recording...
very moving performances, I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Are these full cantatas or just excerpts James?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: KevinP on December 01, 2007, 03:00:46 PM
Yeah, I was vague for a reason: I went the box set route with Richter and knew that that wouldn't be a welcome recommendation.

However, I do have the 2CD DG set (needed it for a profane cantata that wasn't in the sacred set) so I will recommend that one along with Don.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: KevinP on December 01, 2007, 03:03:09 PM
Richter is dismissed as a dinosaur by HIP purists and indeed he did resist the HIP movement. But, in a way, he was a precursor to it. He was the first to scale back forces (compare his to Klemperer's) which allowed him to take faster tempi.

Wanna say more but we're getting ready for a wedding and my wife's telling me I really need to get ready.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on December 01, 2007, 04:41:26 PM
Are these full cantatas or just excerpts James?

A mixture, there are two full solo cantatas, Ich habe genug being one, then an LP full of Bach arias accompanied by Baremboim. The second disc is finished off with two complete Handel Italian cantatas. These performances were out of circulation for years when CDs arrived. I wrote to EMI specifying them and asking when they would produce them on CD. I got a dismissive letter saying that the felt the EMI catalogue was more than adaquately represented by Miss Baker's art. Several years later they appeared on a double disc on Double fforte. I would never part with them, beautiful performances all.

Another disc of Bach sung by Baker is Cantata 170, it is on Decca and she pulls off a tender performance that I think is unequaled. Not HIP, but all of the performances speak directly with enormous skill.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: M forever on December 02, 2007, 12:00:56 AM
The "Hooglandse Kerk" is my favourite - perfect accoustics for Bach cantatas!

Have you ever heard Bach here?

(http://users.telenet.be/deboercarmen/bach/images/thomaskirche7_kl.jpg) (http://users.telenet.be/deboercarmen/bach/images/thomaskirche6_kl.jpg) (http://users.telenet.be/deboercarmen/bach/images/thomaskirche10_kl.jpg)

(http://www.pmlmusic.com/images/tour_304/bach_tomb.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on December 02, 2007, 01:37:36 AM
No, unfortunately not yet!
Would love to visit the Thomaskirche some time. :)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: M forever on December 02, 2007, 02:16:41 AM
You can also visit Bach when you are there. He is under the metal plate.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on February 05, 2008, 09:57:48 AM
Recently the prices of Suzuki Volumes have gone up in Amazon.co.uk Marketplace (Vol. 24 £19.99!). Maybe I just give up collecting the rest of them.  :P Tangerine Dream is sucking all my money...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on February 05, 2008, 11:15:39 AM
Tangerine Dream is sucking all my money...

Well, that's one way of putting it.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on February 05, 2008, 01:20:05 PM
Richter is dismissed as a dinosaur by HIP purists and indeed he did resist the HIP movement. But, in a way, he was a precursor to it. He was the first to scale back forces (compare his to Klemperer's) which allowed him to take faster tempi.

Wanna say more but we're getting ready for a wedding and my wife's telling me I really need to get ready.

Hope the wedding is enjoyable.  Agree fully with your assessment of the Richter.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on February 05, 2008, 01:43:09 PM
Richter is dismissed as a dinosaur by HIP purists and indeed he did resist the HIP movement. But, in a way, he was a precursor to it. He was the first to scale back forces (compare his to Klemperer's) which allowed him to take faster tempi.

Never-the-less Klemperer already performed the Brandenburg Concertos with small forces, when Richter was just a little boy.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bunny on February 05, 2008, 02:34:51 PM

I guess I must be a dinosaur too, as I grew up with the Richter; at that time they were the HIP recordings. ;)

Rifkin came a bit later as did Harnoncourt, Leonhardt, et al.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: KevinP on February 08, 2008, 08:00:21 PM
Don't get me wrong. I very much like Uncle Otto's Mass and Matthew Passion. He's just the most well known example of old school performance practice.

His Bach Magnificat, however, is not so good, largely because of its use of the piano instead of a harpsichord in the continuo. The piano playing in the midrange register only sounds like bad acoustic pop.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: FideLeo on February 09, 2008, 04:25:27 AM
Never-the-less Klemperer already performed the Brandenburg Concertos with small forces, when Richter was just a little boy.

And actually in Richter's Archiv set, other than for the sixth, there is very little that has anything to do with "small forces."  For that in the 1960s I would look at Collegium Aureum set.  Don't know how many violins etc. OK used for the ripieno.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on April 06, 2008, 06:19:03 AM

  I think it's about time I bumped this thread!  I have added quite a few sacred cantatas from emusic (mostly Suzuki and Rilling) to my collection and I am looking to explore more.  I'd like some feedback where I should go next based on this list of cantatas that are missing from my collection:

  1, 5, 11, 22, 29, 34, 49, 50, 56, 60, 77, 104, 130, 146, 150, 152, 161, 180, 201

  Specifically I am looking for beautiful chorus lines and melodic arias.  I heard a lot about Cantata 11, it is an orotorio and is very similar to Bach's Mass.  Cantata 150 attracted my attention after reading that Brahms was moved by it.  Cantata 1 is heavily choral, the rest are foreign to me- any advice/feedback would be appreciated.

  marvin



 

 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on April 06, 2008, 07:03:43 AM
And actually in Richter's Archiv set, other than for the sixth, there is very little that has anything to do with "small forces."  For that in the 1960s I would look at Collegium Aureum set.  Don't know how many violins etc. OK used for the ripieno.

Richter used in his Brandenburgs for Archiv (as he explained in an interview) a string section like 8,8,5,4,2 if I remember correctly. I don´t know how great forces Klemperer used for his EMI Brandenburgs, but my listening impression is, that he used smaller forces than Richter.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: FideLeo on April 06, 2008, 07:41:20 AM
Richter used in his Brandenburgs for Archiv (as he explained in an interview) a string section like 8,8,5,4,2 if I remember correctly. I don´t know how great forces Klemperer used for his EMI Brandenburgs, but my listening impression is, that he used smaller forces than Richter.

I guess for someone so used to OPPP or TPPPAM (two players per part at most) in Brandenburgs, Richter, OK or for that matter, Fritz Reiner were all using "large forces."   >:D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on April 06, 2008, 09:03:43 AM
I guess for someone so used to OPPP or TPPPAM (two players per part at most) in Brandenburgs, Richter, OK or for that matter, Fritz Reiner were all using "large forces."   >:D

Yes, bad habits ar difficult to skip. But the commonly used number in European (non-HIP of course) chamber ensembles during the years from 1950 to 1970 was 4,4,3,3 or 2,1. This is true of ensembles like
Stuttgarter Kammerorchester (Münchinger),
Pro Arte, München (Redel) and
Festival Strings, Lucerne (Baumgartner),
so "state of the art" was gradually redefined.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on May 09, 2008, 10:25:21 PM
Bach cantatas lovers: any feedback on these by Philippe Pierlot on Mirare, now on offer at MDT (http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/search/Special%20Offers/SO_Mirare/Mirare0508/)?

(http://multimedia.fnac.com/multimedia/images_produits/ZoomPE/5/0/3/3760127220305.jpg) (http://multimedia.fnac.com/multimedia/images_produits/ZoomPE/2/2/0/3760127220022.jpg)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: FideLeo on May 10, 2008, 01:48:25 AM
Bach cantatas lovers: any feedback on these by Philippe Pierlot on Mirare, now on offer at MDT (http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/search/Special%20Offers/SO_Mirare/Mirare0508/)?

(http://multimedia.fnac.com/multimedia/images_produits/ZoomPE/5/0/3/3760127220305.jpg) (http://multimedia.fnac.com/multimedia/images_produits/ZoomPE/2/2/0/3760127220022.jpg)

Q

OVPP performances, quite like the new Kuijken series in other ways also.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: sTisTi on May 16, 2008, 03:39:34 AM
Hi,
I am trying to expand my (still small) collection of Bach cantatas, but it's difficult to decide which ones to get next as there are so many recordings floating around.
I know that most if not all of Bach's cantatas are masterworks, but I have to start somewhere...
So, what are in your opinion the most essential cantatas, the ones it would be madness not to have?  ;)

At the moment I have the following CDs:

Cantatas 8, 51, 78, 80, 140, 147 (Rifkin) (Double CD)
Cantatas 11, 43, 44 (Herreweghe)
Cantatas 36, 61, 62 (Herreweghe)
Cantatas 34, 59, 74, 172 (Gardiner)
Cantatas 6, 66 (Gardiner)
Cantatas 72, 73, 111, 156 (Gardiner)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: FideLeo on May 16, 2008, 03:49:49 AM

the most essential cantatas, the ones it would be madness not to have?  ;)


The Christmas Oratorio  ;)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bunny on May 16, 2008, 05:04:40 AM
Cantata 21 is probably one of the most profound and beautiful ever written.   

Bach wrote the Cantata when he arrived home from a journey only to discover that his wife had died so suddenly that the messages calling him to her deathbed and funeral had no time to reach him.  He went into a despair, and wrote this Cantata which deals with the basic questions of faith in God in the face of senseless tragedy.   It is the most personal of all the Cantatas, and to me the most powerful.

It is also one of the first to make use of the dramatic devices of the Italian opera, and was heavily criticized for the way the words were put to the music.  Nowadays, the repetition of words and phrases for emphasis is not remarkable.  Back then it created a firestorm of criticism.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on May 16, 2008, 05:06:12 AM
Cantata 21 is probably one of the most profound and beautiful ever written.   

Bach wrote the Cantata when he arrived home from a journey only to discover that his wife had died so suddenly that the messages calling him to her deathbed and funeral had no time to reach him.  He went into a despair, and wrote this Cantata which deals with the basic questions of faith in God in the face of senseless tragedy.   It is the most personal of all the Cantatas, and to me the most powerful.
My definite favorite as well and a deeply moving and profound work, but I wasn't aware of the circumstances of its writing. Thank you.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 16, 2008, 05:35:36 AM
Check out this Bach cantata thread. (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,117.0.html)

Lots of good info.



Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: FideLeo on May 16, 2008, 08:00:54 AM
One of his earliest and best:

BWV4 "Christ lag in Todesbonden"
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: val on May 17, 2008, 12:11:18 AM
Just some suggestions:

BWV 4, 5, 11, 19, 20, 21, 23, 26, 44 (my absolute favorite), 54, 60, 70, 80, 82, 92,96, 114, 115, 126, 131 (perhaps the first Cantata composed by Bach), 138, 140, 171, 178, 199.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on May 17, 2008, 12:49:31 AM
Given the sheer number of Bach cantatas, I fully understand the reason for this question. But knowing them all, it feels for me like naming favourite LvB string quartets or symphonies. They are pretty much almost all impressive, and naming some feels like doing injustice to most others.

But, hey, let's do it! :)

BWV 4*, 5, 11*, 12, 18, 19, 20, 21*, 24, 31, 35, 36, 38, 51, 54*, 57*, 60, 61, 62, 63, 70*, 80*, 82*, 106*, 115, 116, 131*, 140*, 143, 152, 161, 180, 198*, 199*.

(* = extra special)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: sTisTi on May 17, 2008, 08:05:44 AM
Thank you very much for all your helpful answers! I know it is always hard to pick favourites if one is forced to choose among such riches. ;)
Now I have lots of suggestions for further exploring these works and trouble myself with choosing favourite recordings  ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: david johnson on May 17, 2008, 08:31:54 AM
glad i checked this thread.  i shall invest in some of these.

dj
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: hautbois on May 17, 2008, 08:09:04 PM
Can anyone point out which of the cantatas contain the most beautiful oboe obbligato arias or sinfonias?

Howard
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 17, 2008, 09:04:01 PM
Can anyone point out which of the cantatas contain the most beautiful oboe obbligato arias or sinfonias?

Howard

In BWV 183, in the soprano aria, the obbligato is taken up by a pair of oboe da caccia played in unison. Quite distinctive sounding instruments, these particular oboes are - burnished and woodsy. Makes for a very colorful backdrop.




Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: FideLeo on May 18, 2008, 02:00:25 AM
Can anyone point out which of the cantatas contain the most beautiful oboe obbligato arias or sinfonias?

Howard

BWV56 also contains a beautiful part for oboe d'amore (?) solo.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on May 21, 2008, 01:20:25 PM
Hello all!  :D  A thread on Hanssler offerings @ BRO led me to peruse the discs available - attached are two Bach Cantata packages by Rilling - each has 4 CDs (about $16 per package) - I would be interested in any comments; I have only one disc of Rilling in this repertoire which is fine - thanks -  :)

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: LVB_opus.125 on May 30, 2008, 01:26:26 PM
Coffee Cantata, anyone? A great recording is what I seek!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on May 30, 2008, 09:46:16 PM
Coffee Cantata, anyone? A great recording is what I seek!

Gustav Leonhardt with Barbara Bonney & Christophe Prégardien et al:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Q20T1NHGL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

If you can find it, since it is OOP - sorry about that... :-\

Here's a list of all recordings (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV211.htm#C21).

I also like Harnoncourt (Warner/Teldec), which is less elegant but more spicey, less adequately sung.
And of course there is the older, somewhat out-dated recording with the enticing Elly Ameling and the Collegium Aureum (DHM)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on May 30, 2008, 10:07:48 PM
Coffee Cantata, anyone? A great recording is what I seek!

(http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/1079/51zcyjfj44lsl500aa240im1.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

Bach Collegium Japan / Masaaki Suzuki / BIS CD 1411
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: LVB_opus.125 on May 31, 2008, 06:38:17 AM
Thanks for the recommendations. Btw, this thread is a real treasure. Ever since I made that 'Bach starter kit' thread way back in 10/07, I have been listening to Bach just about every day. He's already replaced Beethoven as my favorite composer. The cantatas are what I am really enjoying right now. The 'coffee cantata' is a real pleasure, even if the subject matter is less than profound. :) To those that recommended #21, thank you. I gave it another listen and was captivated.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on June 07, 2008, 10:16:14 AM
Well a few posts back (#170), I asked about the Rilling recordings now @ BRO - two special packages of 4 CDs each of the Bach Easter & Christmas Cantatas - decided to make an order which arrived yesterday - just starting the Easter Cantatas; these are packaged as 4 discs in a 2-CD double jewel box, but my only disappointment is the booklet is minimalist, just listing the names & movements - stated that a more complete booklet can be downloaded from the Hanssler web site but I could not easily locate a link (sent them an e-mail yesterday) - guess I may have to obtain a book on these works (believe Q recommended one a while back)!

So far, these performances are a quite enjoyable listen, esp. for the BRO price paid, i.e. total of 8 CDs for $32!  :)

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on June 16, 2008, 05:52:10 AM
Can anyone point out which of the cantatas contain the most beautiful oboe obbligato arias or sinfonias?

To me, this must be one of the most difficult questions to answer!
Why? Because I think that Bach and the oboe is a continuous love story.

Here are three that quickly came to my mind:
BWV 44, Aria "Christen müssen auf der Erden" (Alto and oboe obbligato -> typical Bach aria: which is the leading part?).
BWV 84, Opening aria "Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke" (soprano and oboe obbligato: about real happiness).
BWV 125, Aria "Ich will auch mit gebrochnen Augen" (for alto, flauto traverso and oboe d'amore. No words can describe this one: listen to it, play it, get mesmerized!).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on June 16, 2008, 06:45:55 AM
My definite favorite as well and a deeply moving and profound work, but I wasn't aware of the circumstances of its writing. Thank you.

Neither was I. I would really like some documentation for this claim, as I have not found any confirmation for it. The cantata as far as I can tell was written for the Third Sunday after Trinity and I have not seen any other evidence that would lead me to believe it had any personal overtones.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on June 16, 2008, 07:02:58 AM
Pardon me for the slightly off-topic question but, do the cantata numbers and BWV numbers coincide?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 16, 2008, 07:15:57 AM
Pardon me for the slightly off-topic question but, do the cantata numbers and BWV numbers coincide?

Yes, fortunately they do.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on June 16, 2008, 07:35:30 AM
Yes, fortunately they do.

Great! Thanks.  :)


P.S.: I just noticed that I can quote messages directly into the quick reply box with a click. I'd say that's even greater! :D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on June 16, 2008, 07:57:29 AM
Yes, fortunately they do.

But what the BWV order signifies is something I've never understood. The cantatas are not arranged chronologically, or according to the liturgical year, or according to any generic features like instrumentation and/or vocal forces employed. (Here and there you find a few solo cantatas close together in BWV sequence.) Otherwise I can make no sense of the ordering.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on June 16, 2008, 09:49:49 AM
But what the BWV order signifies is something I've never understood. The cantatas are not arranged chronologically, or according to the liturgical year, or according to any generic features like instrumentation and/or vocal forces employed. (Here and there you find a few solo cantatas close together in BWV sequence.) Otherwise I can make no sense of the ordering.

I'm not sure about the real story behind this, but I've read somewhere that the story started in 1850, when the Bach Gesellschaft was founded, 100 years after Bach's death.
This Gesellschaft wanted to publish all Bach's compositions. Because of their significance, they started with the vocal works. From the cantates that were already published, they chose a selection of ten varied cantatas they liked (BWV 1-10).
After that decision, they wanted to publish the cantatas of which they were sure they were really composed by Bach.
100 years later, in 1950, Wolfgang Schmieder used this same method for his BWV-catalogue.
After 1950 we learned a lot more about the sequence and authorship of the cantates. Especially Bach-scholar Alfred Dürr was very important in this research.

Dunno if this is all true, but at least it looks something like an explanation. :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Anne on June 18, 2008, 08:47:14 AM
Is there a cantata titled "Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring" or similar?  If so, will someone tell me the number, please? 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: mn dave on June 18, 2008, 08:49:50 AM
Is there a cantata titled "Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring" or similar?  If so, will someone tell me the number, please? 

BWV 147
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on June 18, 2008, 08:53:37 AM
Is there a cantata titled "Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring" or similar?  If so, will someone tell me the number, please? 

"Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben", BWV 147 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CDBcr5cpdQ)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 18, 2008, 10:53:13 AM
I'm not sure about the real story behind this, but I've read somewhere that the story started in 1850, when the Bach Gesellschaft was founded, 100 years after Bach's death.
This Gesellschaft wanted to publish all Bach's compositions. Because of their significance, they started with the vocal works. From the cantates that were already published, they chose a selection of ten varied cantatas they liked (BWV 1-10).
After that decision, they wanted to publish the cantatas of which they were sure they were really composed by Bach.
100 years later, in 1950, Wolfgang Schmieder used this same method for his BWV-catalogue.
After 1950 we learned a lot more about the sequence and authorship of the cantates. Especially Bach-scholar Alfred Dürr was very important in this research.

Dunno if this is all true, but at least it looks something like an explanation. :)

Obviously W. Schmieder did not intend the BWV numbering to be in chronological order. Neither are the organ works, chamber works or anything else. And the exact chronological order of many of the works is even unknown.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 18, 2008, 01:13:25 PM
Cantata 21 is probably one of the most profound and beautiful ever written.   

Bach wrote the Cantata when he arrived home from a journey only to discover that his wife had died so suddenly that the messages calling him to her deathbed and funeral had no time to reach him.  He went into a despair, and wrote this Cantata which deals with the basic questions of faith in God in the face of senseless tragedy.   It is the most personal of all the Cantatas, and to me the most powerful.

It is also one of the first to make use of the dramatic devices of the Italian opera, and was heavily criticized for the way the words were put to the music.  Nowadays, the repetition of words and phrases for emphasis is not remarkable.  Back then it created a firestorm of criticism.

21 I don't own...definitely going on my wishlist now. Thanks, Bunny.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on June 18, 2008, 04:25:18 PM
Cantata 21 is probably one of the most profound and beautiful ever written.   

Bach wrote the Cantata when he arrived home from a journey only to discover that his wife had died so suddenly that the messages calling him to her deathbed and funeral had no time to reach him.  He went into a despair, and wrote this Cantata which deals with the basic questions of faith in God in the face of senseless tragedy. It is the most personal of all the Cantatas, and to me the most powerful.

It is also one of the first to make use of the dramatic devices of the Italian opera, and was heavily criticized for the way the words were put to the music.  Nowadays, the repetition of words and phrases for emphasis is not remarkable.  Back then it created a firestorm of criticism.

21 I don't own...definitely going on my wishlist now. Thanks, Bunny.

Sarge, it's a true masterpiece and surely an essential cantata, you're going to enjoy this one. If I were you, I'd choose Herreweghe's recording. It's combined with a fine performance of BWV 42 Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats.
If you want to hear different versions of BWV 21, you should check the cantata series of Koopman and/or Suzuki.

It is assumed that the first version of the cantata BWV 21 was composed in 1713, to support an application at the Liebfraukirche in Halle. Bach's first wife, Maria Barbara, was still very much alive then. Probably she and her husband were 'composing' C.P.E. together, at that time. ;)

The first revision of BWV 21 was made in 1714. This manuscript of this version is marked by a personal note of Bach himself. Thanks to this we know that the cantata was performed at Weimar, on the 3rd Sunday after Trinity, 1714.
Maria Barbara was also still alive & kicking in 1714 :). She gave birth to their 'composition' C.P.E., Bach's second son. She was to give birth to two other sons after him.

We do not have any proof that Bach wrote music to deal with personal circumstances. That's a romantic vision, influenced by many invented stories that went around during the 19th century, and is far away from the meaning of Bach's early 18th century music, IMHO. I've read tearjerking stories like this many many times. In fact, the same story is told about the organpiece Fantasia & Fugue in G minor, BWV 542, being also a very personal statement of grief after Bach was confronted with the death of his wife. Again: no proof.
(BTW: Bunny, no personal offense meant. I just guess you were misinformed.)

When Bach returned from a journey to Karlsbad in 1720, he heard that his wife had died and was already buried. That was six to seven years after he composed BWV 21.

After this tragic event, he tried to get a job in Hamburg. It might be the case that Bach performed a third version of BWV 21 in November 1720 in Hamburg. This assumption is not confirmed by any historical source, though. But some scholars think this, because Johann Mattheson (a composer and music theorist from Hamburg, who was very influential) wrote a critical review of the piece. Bunny already mentioned this criticism in his post.

This third version was also performed in Leipzig, 1723, as a part of Bach's first Kantatenjahrgang.

Only one revision of BWV 21 was to follow: Leipzig, 1731. Maybe it was in this last version that Bach added the trombone part for the beautiful chorus with choral "Sei nun wieder zufrieden, meine Seele".
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Anne on June 19, 2008, 11:00:07 AM
mn dave and 71DB,

Thanks for your help.  Much obliged.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on June 19, 2008, 11:18:01 AM
mn dave and 71DB,

Thanks for your help.  Much obliged.

And I would like to thank the moderator(s), for bringing the 'essential' Bach cantatas together with the (also essential) whatever-Bach cantatas. :)
This way it's much more conveniently arranged.

Before going to bed last night, I listened to BWV 21 (recording of Kuijken) and had a very good and peaceful night of sleep after that!
It had been some time since I last listened to it. What a great cantata it is indeed.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on August 26, 2008, 04:44:57 AM


  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31s0EfiA%2B2L._SS400_.jpg)

  I don't want to die without having heard the best of Bach's compositions.  Recently every time I have bought a Bach cantata CD I was amazed at how much I am loving Bach's cantata output.

  An opportunity has presented itself now for me to buy the above set at a £100 flat that's 60 CDs for £100.  But before I go ahead and slurge I would like some feedback.  What do you guys (and gals) think of this set?

  marvin   
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: hornteacher on August 26, 2008, 11:59:06 AM
I don't want to die without having heard the best of Bach's compositions. 

Don't worry, I'm told they play Bach in Heaven.  ;)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: springrite on August 26, 2008, 12:03:01 PM
Don't worry, I'm told they play Bach in Heaven.  ;)

Well, you have only answered half of the question...  ;)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on August 26, 2008, 01:50:10 PM
Harnoncourt/Leonhardt is a great set and a must-buy for anyone who loves Bach's cantatas.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on August 26, 2008, 09:14:47 PM
Harnoncourt/Leonhardt is a great set and a must-buy for anyone who loves Bach's cantatas.

Seconded. For me still the greatest Bach cantata cycle to date.
Maybe a few rough edges, but loads and loads of character.

So, get it! :) Unless...there is no chance in the world that you could be able to listen to boy sopranos.

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: val on August 26, 2008, 11:44:19 PM
Quote
marvinbrown


  I don't want to die without having heard the best of Bach's compositions.  Recently every time I have bought a Bach cantata CD I was amazed at how much I am loving Bach's cantata output.

  An opportunity has presented itself now for me to buy the above set at a £100 flat that's 60 CDs for £100.  But before I go ahead and slurge I would like some feedback.  What do you guys (and gals) think of this set?



Bach's Cantatas are one of the greatest moments in all music. Harnoncourt and Leonhardt gave, in general, the best version, with good soloists such as Equiluz and van Egmond. However,the soprano boys sometimes are not very convincing.
Start by listening the Cantata BWV 20 by Harnoncourt and you will understand my enthusiasm for this set.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on August 27, 2008, 02:35:57 AM


  Wonderfull!  This is really good feedback, just what I was looking for!  3 GMG Bach experts (Don, Que and Val) have responded positively  :)  to the set.  Thanks guys I really appreciate this, I owe you guys one! I'll be picking this set up on my way back from work today.

  marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on August 27, 2008, 02:32:34 PM


   OH MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE  :o, WHAT HAVE I DONE   :o I JUST BOUGHT THIS SET  ;D:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31s0EfiA%2B2L._SS400_.jpg)

  I have been staring at this set since the moment I bought it.  It's sitting on my desk next to me as I am typing this post.  It is still wrapped, unopened.  The more I stare at it the more it stares back at me  :o.  60 CDs, the complete sacred cantatas, I do not know where to begin, nor how to manage this purchase.  I have never bought so much music in one go at one time! 

  Any ideas as to how I should proceed. Val recommended cantata 20 as a good starting point, but what next??  ??? What next  ??? ??

  marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 27, 2008, 06:44:14 PM
Any ideas as to how I should proceed. Val recommended cantata 20 as a good starting point, but what next??  ??? What next  ??? ??

It might seem improbable but the quality of these works is so uniformly high that a dud is hard to find (though I haven't heard every Bach cantata).

A good one to try might be Trauerode, BWV 198. But don't look to be 'blown away' by this one. It's more about peace, solemnity, and grace, as opposed to a lightning display. But it still gives me goosebumps. 

 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on August 27, 2008, 07:22:28 PM

   OH MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE  :o, WHAT HAVE I DONE   :o I JUST BOUGHT THIS SET  ;D:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31s0EfiA%2B2L._SS400_.jpg)

  I have been staring at this set since the moment I bought it.  It's sitting on my desk next to me as I am typing this post.  It is still wrapped, unopened.  The more I stare at it the more it stares back at me  :o.  60 CDs, the complete sacred cantatas, I do not know where to begin, nor how to manage this purchase.  I have never bought so much music in one go at one time! 

  Any ideas as to how I should proceed. Val recommended cantata 20 as a good starting point, but what next??  ??? What next  ??? ??

  marvin

I recommend starting with Tr. 1/Disc 1 and proceed accordingly.  I see no good reason to hop all over the set.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on August 27, 2008, 09:28:27 PM
I recommend starting with Tr. 1/Disc 1 and proceed accordingly.  I see no good reason to hop all over the set.

Seconded. 8) That is how I did it: just start with no. 1.  ;D I found a short read on the occasion each cantata was written for, and possibly following the text, very helpful - especially at the first listening.

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on August 28, 2008, 01:00:09 AM
I recommend starting with Tr. 1/Disc 1 and proceed accordingly.  I see no good reason to hop all over the set.

  I can always rely on you Don to suggest a sensible approach!  Very well I shall proceed in numerical order as you suggest  :).

  marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on August 28, 2008, 06:21:05 AM
Don't worry, I'm told they play Bach in Heaven.  ;)

  That I am sure of hornteacher  :) and after I am done listening to ALL of the sacred cantatas  0:) I'd like to think that I would be eligible to "knock on heaven's door"  :)...........I should think  :-\.

  marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Don on August 28, 2008, 06:26:59 AM
  I can always rely on you Don to suggest a sensible approach!  Very well I shall proceed in numerical order as you suggest  :).

  marvin

Tell that to my wife!  Lately, we've been going back and forth about the kitchen sink.  To me, the sink is to be used - she thinks of it as storage for dirty dishes, pots and utensils. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on August 28, 2008, 08:06:03 AM
Tell that to my wife!  Lately, we've been going back and forth about the kitchen sink.  To me, the sink is to be used - she thinks of it as storage for dirty dishes, pots and utensils. 

  LOL   :D,  I would love to help you out here my friend but I'm having "woman" trouble of a similar nature on this side of the pond as well and not coping very well with it either  :-\.

  marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on August 30, 2008, 09:11:44 AM

   OH MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE  :o, WHAT HAVE I DONE   :o I JUST BOUGHT THIS SET  ;D:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31s0EfiA%2B2L._SS400_.jpg)
 

Congratulations! ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: dirkronk on August 30, 2008, 10:28:10 AM
Congratulations from me, too, Marvin. I haven't contributed to this thread, mainly because I haven't explored Bach's cantata's much at all myself (with a few exceptions--Peasant, Coffee, et al). But may I ask that you report which of the Harnoncourt & Crew performances you find most satisfying? Reason: I just learned that my public library has copies of most of this series, and I wouldn't mind letting my own discovery of these works follow the experience and recommendations you can provide in listening to your new set. Many thanks in advance--and again...enjoy!

Cheers,

Dirk
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 03, 2008, 03:26:29 PM
This post was prompted by Andy who I initially thought was not listening to Bach; however, it emerged he does listen to Bach, just not as much as to Wagner. So I will in any case put the post here.

There is the old debate about whether music can mean anything beyond filling space with sound. Whether or not it can be totally specific; it is clear it can and does evoke emotions. Though responses are of course subjective. I have come off the platform completely exhilarated by a performance of Mahler 8, to have a member of the audience berate me with his negativity to the music. He claimed Mahler was an hysteric, clearly a disturbed mind and what came out of his music was his disturbed spew. So, a composer may be trying to convey something, but it is not always going to get across.

Work has been done to test emotional responses to abstract sounds and certain keys can evoke a specific range of emotions fairly reliably. We have music and rhythm within nature and we respond to it at a subconscious level. For example; the drip of water through leaves can emulate our heart beat, which is then stitched into any rhythmic percussive sound. On another tack, music can either slow the heartbeat or speed it up. So, I think it is clear that we are able to respond in consensus emotionally to music, which implies it has some meaning, though we may not be able to nail that meaning. Some say that whereas Wagner goes for the emotions, Bach’s music is perhaps colder, less emotional, more cerebral.

I think this is subjective. Whereas some find Wagner to be on almost constant overload, others respond to him as though they have arrived home from a long hard journey. I love a lot of his music; though I do on occasion notice my bum going numb. Exactly the same could be said by others, if you substitute Bach’s name and just mention the St Matthew Passion.

RVW wrote his Tallis Fantasia, a miracle of a piece; but only if you are open to that kind of music. What can put me into an almost catatonic state of rapture bores the socks off my son. So is all this merely in the ear of the hearer? I don’t think so. If we have a sufficient body of people responding to specific music in a specific range of ways; then it seems that the music is indeed connecting to at least the emotional parts of people in those specific ways; also possibly to what many might term their spiritual self.

The prelude to Lohengrin is said by some to provide a spiritual experience; I think it is aimed to do so. When sharing my thoughts about Bach, I am concentrating on the Vocal music. I would in any case agree with the suggestion that Bach is only rarely trying to do in his purely orchestral music what for example Bruckner was striving to do. However; the cello suites can be mined for the most profound feelings. Depending on how the flute sonatas are played; they are either high tone wallpaper music; or expressions of joy and contemplation.

Here I will enter on controversial territory. In his religious music, Bach was setting words that had specific meaning to him and to people with Faith. He was pairing instruments to help to induce the atmosphere he wanted and he was using instruments as symbols.  For example, he used the flute to denote the Holy Spirit.  The core of his religious music lies in his arias. These are often deeply contemplative, long, sinuous melodies unwind, the voice is often paired with a wind instrument; so you get a duet, abstract sound and with words. If you believe these words, then there is the real possibility you get more out of Bach than if it is solely art music to you. He is often taking people to the heart of their faith. This is also a deeply emotional journey, but not hysterical. Bach rarely addresses worldly love, yet he plumbs quite a range of human emotion. Yearning, grief, parenthood, transcendence, healing. He is also teaching about patience, fortitude, faithfulness etc.

So, not often great drama in the Wagnerian mould; though the St Matthew in the McCreech one voice to a part is full of thrusting drama and manages the stasis and repose the work needs.

In addition.

Cantata no 82 Janet Baker, or Hans Hotter, or Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
Cantata 56, Dietrich Fischer Dieskau
Cantata 170 Janet Baker

The above are all solo cantatas

There is also a wealth of cantatas for groups of singers and choir. The B Minor Mass is a must, but what version depends whether you want HIP or modern instruments, ditto St Matthew Passion.

Within all of these lie deep emotional experiences, not flashy, not sweeping you away with the volume of sound. Rather the quiet voice that speaks powerfully, consolingly and with a beauty that aches.

Mike




Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bulldog on November 03, 2008, 03:40:49 PM
He is often taking people to the heart of their faith. This is also a deeply emotional journey, but not hysterical. Bach rarely addresses worldly love, yet he plumbs quite a range of human emotion. Yearning, grief, parenthood, transcendence, healing. He is also teaching about patience, fortitude, faithfulness etc.


Don't forget the dark side of life - menace, violence, revenge, etc.  Bach hits all areas.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 03, 2008, 04:03:41 PM
Yes, you are right, also despair, doubt.

It ended up as a foreshortened post. But I thought it was quite long enough already.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on November 25, 2008, 10:35:12 PM
Naïve has finally gotten around to reissuing the third and final installment of Christophe Coin's traversal of cantatas, whose commonality is the inclusion of the violoncello piccolo, which is a small five-stringed cello. Unique in timbre, it's not as beefy sounding as a standard cello, but makes up for it in warmth and breadth. 

A quick note about the opening movement of BWV 41: it ranks among the towering achievements of Bach's art. Rich and full and expertly layered with customary sparkle.


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51G8gxvzDJL._SS400_.jpg)


(Here's the original issue:


(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/f6/a1/dd4eb2c008a09e89f831a010.L.jpg))


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Todd on December 06, 2008, 08:56:01 AM
I read in the local paper that Eric Milnes and Montreal Baroque are in the midst of recording all of the cantatas for the Atma label.  It seems that the difference with this set will be choir size: they'll be doing one singer per part.  May be interesting and will certainly lend even greater clarity.  (Milnes is in town this weekend to conduct the Christman Oratorio, but alas I cannot attend.)  That'll be what, four or five (or more?) complete cycles out ther when he's done? 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sorin Eushayson on December 07, 2008, 04:31:20 AM
These complete sets of cantatas can be a bit intimidating.  I'm finding the best thing is to ration them out, listen to them when they're relevant.  Over at CMM we just started a series on them based on the Lutheran Church Year, starting the first Sunday in Advent (I'm resisting the temptation to shamelessly plug my thread with a well-placed URL right now ;D).  It helps put them into context a bit.  We're using the Brilliant Classics set for samples, by the way; excellent performances for an excellent price, highly recommended.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bulldog on December 07, 2008, 09:19:12 AM
These complete sets of cantatas can be a bit intimidating.  I'm finding the best thing is to ration them out, listen to them when they're relevant. 

On musical grounds, each one is always meaningful. 8)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sorin Eushayson on December 08, 2008, 05:30:35 PM
On musical grounds, each one is always meaningful. 8)
Well, I won't argue with that!  ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on December 08, 2008, 09:18:43 PM
Naïve has finally gotten around to reissuing the third and final installment of Christophe Coin's traversal of cantatas, whose commonality is the inclusion of the violoncello piccolo, which is a small five-stringed cello. Unique in timbre, it's not as beefy sounding as a standard cello, but makes up for it in warmth and breadth. 

A quick note about the opening movement of BWV 41: it ranks among the towering achievements of Bach's art. Rich and full and expertly layered with customary sparkle.


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51G8gxvzDJL._SS400_.jpg)


(Here's the original issue:


(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/f6/a1/dd4eb2c008a09e89f831a010.L.jpg))


This looks VERY intriguing, Don.  Thanks.  Just added to the top of my wish list.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bulldog on December 10, 2008, 08:34:43 AM
This looks VERY intriguing, Don.  Thanks.  Just added to the top of my wish list.

Excellent choice.  I acquired those three Coin recordings when they were first released and have enjoyed them very much over the years.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 10, 2008, 06:15:59 PM
This looks VERY intriguing, Don.  Thanks.  Just added to the top of my wish list.

Cool, Bill! Anxious to hear your impressions if you pull the trigger. :)


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on December 10, 2008, 10:04:15 PM
Cool, Bill! Anxious to hear your impressions if you pull the trigger. :)




Well, with Don's weigh in, it looks as though not if, but when.  In short, the "Dons" have spoken and neither has ever let me down on a rec. ;)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 11, 2008, 05:52:38 PM
Well, with Don's weigh in, it looks as though not if, but when.  In short, the "Dons" have spoken and neither has ever let me down on a rec. ;)

Yes, that's us, Bill. The "Dons". ;D GMG's elite panel of reviewers:



(http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/muppet/images/0/0f/Character.ebertsiskel.jpg)


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on December 11, 2008, 06:59:33 PM
Nah Don it's more like this--

(http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y148/MandyMae/statler_and_waldorf.jpg)

 ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bulldog on December 11, 2008, 08:00:38 PM
Nah Don it's more like this--

(http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y148/MandyMae/statler_and_waldorf.jpg)

 ;D

There's nothing like a seasoned reviewer. 8)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 11, 2008, 08:08:53 PM
Nah Don it's more like this--

(http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y148/MandyMae/statler_and_waldorf.jpg)

 ;D

Stinker! ;D



Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 11, 2008, 08:14:44 PM
There's nothing like a seasoned reviewer. 8)

An under-appreciated occupation. ;D


 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on December 13, 2008, 06:44:48 AM
Had to show my wife and kids this thread.  *still LOL*
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on December 25, 2008, 10:24:53 PM
Cool, Bill! Anxious to hear your impressions if you pull the trigger. :)




Well, the recording was netted in my Christmas gifts.  Will give a full listen tomorrow.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on December 26, 2008, 04:12:03 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61ZHHJRZ05L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Karl Richter - 75 Cantatas - Archiv  (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001303/nectarandambr-20)
Since this was one of the Christmas offerings, I've been listening to 15 (!) (of 26) CDs of this set in the last 40 hours. Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Pentecost all covered. It's a throwback, of course, to pre-OVPP times, but it's amazing how high the quality of these recordings are. With very few exceptions (the tenor in BWV 147), the singers are superb, the chorus perfect throughout, the playing also. Given the kind of stuff that was put on disc during those years and before, it's little wonder these recordings made such a splash when they came out.

And all that on top of: listening to Montreal Baroque / Eric Milnes' latest issue (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001F1YC2K/nectarandambr-20) (61, 122, 123, 182), Christmas Oratorios with Harnoncourt (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000VEA37U/nectarandambr-20) (new recording) and Kurt Thomas (Leipzig, 1958 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0012DDD9Y/nectarandambr-20) - not all that), Suzuki's volume no.35 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000PSJCCO/nectarandambr-20) (not the biggest R.Blaze fan, but good stuff, as always), James Bowman / King's Consort re-release (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001F4YGUU/nectarandambr-20) of alto cantatas, and a "routine listening" of the superb Veldhoven Mass in b-minor (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000N4S8PM/nectarandambr-20). Oh, yes, and Herreweghe's latest Bach (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0012DAC8O/nectarandambr-20), too.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 26, 2008, 04:43:26 PM
Well, the recording was netted in my Christmas gifts.  Will give a full listen tomorrow.

 :)


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on January 04, 2009, 11:29:48 AM
Congratulations from me, too, Marvin. I haven't contributed to this thread, mainly because I haven't explored Bach's cantata's much at all myself (with a few exceptions--Peasant, Coffee, et al). But may I ask that you report which of the Harnoncourt & Crew performances you find most satisfying? Reason: I just learned that my public library has copies of most of this series, and I wouldn't mind letting my own discovery of these works follow the experience and recommendations you can provide in listening to your new set. Many thanks in advance--and again...enjoy!

Cheers,

Dirk

  Hi Dirk, I'll bet you never dreamed in a million years that I would be responding to your post now.  4 months after I purchased the complete Bach sacred cantatas Leonhardt/Harnoncourt set I finally got the opportunity to sit down and listen to it.  Beethoven, Wagner  0:) 0:), Brahms and other composers have kept me busy and away from Bach during these past months  $:). 
 
  Now about the cantatas, I have started listening chronologically from cantata 1 onwards and am currently listening to disk 6 Cantatas 17-19. Dirk  8) you can not imagine the immense pleasure I am having with this set.  Every cantata I have heard thus far from this set had something special to offer. From what I have heard I found that no two cantatas are identical!  It is unbelievable!  Some of the highlights are cantatas 1, 4, 5, 8, 11 (this cantata draws on the Angus Dei melody of Bach's Mass in B minor which is delightful and that chorus accompanied by the up beat horn instrument at the end of cantata 11  is to die for!!), 12, 13, 17 and 19. 

  The Leonhardt/Harnoncourt team uses an all boys choir as Bach had intended.  These are HIP recordings bustling with energy and authenticity.  There is a rawness to the recordings that I find very appealing and earnest.  Yes EARNEST was the word that I used to describe to Que  8) in my PM to him my impressions of these recordings.  I would recommend that you explore as much of these recordings as you possibly can.  Bach was a deeply religious man and his devotion to The Messiah  0:) certainly brought out the best in him. Whether it is a chorus line, a soprano or bass aria, an up beat or sad horn accompaniment to a chorus or solo aria I think you will find something special and worthwhile in practically every cantata.  This has certainly been the best purchase I have made in 2008  0:):

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31s0EfiA%2B2L._SS400_.jpg)

  PS:  anyone living in London this set can be had for £100 at HMV! Cheaper than any amazon.co.uk marketplace seller price!

      marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: rickardg on January 17, 2009, 07:26:46 AM
I've read this thread a couple of times and I'm still feeling overwhelmed with all the alternatives.  So, dear lazyweb, please recommend me a handful of cantata discs that work well musically and also serve as a 'Bach Cantata Starter Kit', giving an overview of the works and the approaches to them.

I've already got Gardiner's Christmas disc (vol 14), two of Coin's issues on Naive and another Christmas special issue of Herreweghe with BWV 63 "Christen, ätzet diesen Tag" and the Magnificat BVW 243a, thus far I prefer Herreweghe's, but not by a large margin.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on January 18, 2009, 09:51:56 AM
I've read this thread a couple of times and I'm still feeling overwhelmed with all the alternatives.  So, dear lazyweb, please recommend me a handful of cantata discs that work well musically and also serve as a 'Bach Cantata Starter Kit', giving an overview of the works and the approaches to them.

These are the first four BACH Cantata discs I'd recommend to anyone who has not already developed a very narrow taste-preference.
Herreweghe's "reasonable-HIP" you already know. Kuijken is "radical HIP" (OVPP and minimal forces), but really grows on me. More than most Suzuki, indeed. Rilling is reasonably HIP-informed but on modern instruments and not too HIP-influenced. Lieberson's Bach is a simply the epitome of wistful beauty.

All are sublime.

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00070FUEY.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg)
J. S. Bach, Cantatas BWV 12, 38, 75,
P. Herreweghe, C.Sampson (!) et al. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00070FUEY/weta909-20)
Review (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/03/weinen-klagenherreweghes-new-bach.html)


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31GFPYTH66L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
J. S. Bach, Cantatas BWV 82, 199
C. Smith, L.Hunt-Lieberson (!) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000AOVTI/weta909-20)
Review that mentions it (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/03/weinen-klagenherreweghes-new-bach.html)


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61e3sHYOmQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
J. S. Bach, Cantatas BWV 17, 35, 164, 17
S. Kuijken v.5 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000PSJCBU/weta909-20)


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21VRNK52DRL._SL500_AA130_.jpg)
J. S. Bach, Cantatas BWV 210, 211
H.Rilling ("Secular Cantatas) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003OP4G/weta909-20)

Also: Quasthoff/Kussmaul, BWV 82 (doubling up with above!), 56 (should be had just for the closing chorale--among the finest Bach ever wrote), 158 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002VDYPA/weta909-20) Wonderful modest-scale, non-HIP performances of great cantatas and a characteristic "front singer".

Koopman, Secular Cantatas, BWV 211 (doubling up with above), 212, 202 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000HWY4OO/weta909-20) Koopman is "moderate HIP". Not always the most outstanding soloists in his cycle, but just when one thinks he's been outranked by other cycles, I come back to Koopman to find him more generally enjoyable than expected... and despite some individual lesser moments and fewer heights than, say, Suzuki (Sampson!), it's a more consistently delighting body of work than, to my ears, said Suzuki or Harnoncourt (the birth-pangs of HIP still painfully audible).

Richter, Fischer-Dieskau et al., BWV 56, 82 (both doubling up with above), 4. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000057DC/weta909-20) Very different style, obviously, and although I find K.Richter more impressive still in the big choral works, some of his Cantata recordings do belong in a good Bach collection. I, for one, love them.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on January 20, 2009, 03:37:40 AM
[....]
Herreweghe's "reasonable-HIP" you already know.
[....]

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00070FUEY.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg)
J. S. Bach, Cantatas BWV 12, 38, 75,
P. Herreweghe, C.Sampson (!) et al. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00070FUEY/weta909-20)
Review (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/03/weinen-klagenherreweghes-new-bach.html)

Herreweghe is indeed a fine Bach performer.
My personal favourite is this one:

http://www.amazon.com/J-S-Bach-Cantatas-BWV-125/dp/B0011BF570

There's no Carolyn Sampson here, but Deborah York will do. ;)
And there's an amazing performance, by everyone involved, of the first aria (second movement) of BWV 125. Every time I listen to it, I'm lifted up and it seems I'm no longer part of the earth .... der Welt abhanden gekommen ....
You have to experience these eight minutes to actually believe it!

About your BWV 12 et al review:
AFAIK, BWV 12 is originally not a 1723/1724 cantata. Its first performance was on April 22nd, 1714, in Weimar. With a few alterations it was again performed in Leipzig, April 30, 1724.
Bach also reworked the magnificent opening chorus to include it in the Crucifixus movement of the Credo in the Mass in B Minor. (But my guess is you already know that. ;))

There is so much to enjoy in this repertoire. IMHO, Bach's cantatas are a guarantee for a lifelong satisfaction. Therefore, I hope I still have many years to live! :D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on January 20, 2009, 12:48:51 PM
These are the first four BACH Cantata discs I'd recommend to anyone who has not already developed a very narrow taste-preference.
Herreweghe's "reasonable-HIP" you already know. Kuijken is "radical HIP" (OVPP and minimal forces), but really grows on me. More than most Suzuki, indeed. Rilling is reasonably HIP-informed but on modern instruments and not too HIP-influenced. Lieberson's Bach is a simply the epitome of wistful beauty.

All are sublime.

(...)

Koopman is "moderate HIP". Not always the most outstanding soloists in his cycle, but just when one thinks he's beenhad

OK Jens!  ::) "reasonable-HIP", "radical-HIP", "moderate-HIP", "reasonably HIP-informed but on modern instruments and not too HIP-influenced"?? I'm lost.... :P ;D

Herreweghe is HIP, so is Koopman, so is Kuijken. OVPP is not radical in my opinion but just an approach which, apart from the academic debate whether it is the only way, has it merit and is in any case another way to go at it. I share your liking for Kuijken BTW, as your reservations on Suzuki.

Rilling is not HIP, period. And pretty awful if you ask me.... 8)
But he has his fans, also on GMG. :)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bulldog on January 20, 2009, 01:11:40 PM

Herrewegh is HIP, so is Koopman, so is Kuijken. OVVP is not radical in my opinion but just an approach which, apart from the academic debate whether it is the only way, has it merit and is in any case another way to go at it. I share your liking for Kuijken BTW, as your reservations on Suzuki.

Rilling is not HIP, period. And pretty awful if you ask me.... 8)
But he has his fans, also on GMG. :)

Considering how long OVVP has been on the scene, I agree that it is not a radical approach.  Concerning Rilling, I don't have much good to say and much prefer the Naxos recordings conducted by Muller-Bruhl.

Herreweghe is my favored Bach cantatas conductor, followed closely by Suzuki, Kuijken and Rifkin.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on January 20, 2009, 03:37:58 PM
Herreweghe is HIP, so is Koopman, so is Kuijken. OVPP is not radical in my opinion but just an approach which, apart from the academic debate whether it is the only way, has it merit and is in any case another way to go at it. I share your liking for Kuijken BTW, as your reservations on Suzuki.

Sure they all are, but if we are only looking at HIP recordings (and most modern ones, perhaps all, are), then further distinctions could be helpful. And Josh Rifkin, Sigiswald Kuijken, Jos van Veldhoven, John Butt, and esp. Konrad Junghaenel
are not in any way the same kind of HIP
as
Ton Koopman, Philip Herreweghe, John E. Gardiner et al. They are the "Wolff--HIPsters", the former are the "Rifkin gang"

Quote
Rilling is not HIP, period. And pretty awful if you ask me.... 8)
But he has his fans, also on GMG. :)

I don't think Rilling is awful, and often he's got great singers... his Christmas Oratorio I even find superb... but De Gustibus...
Certainly not HIP, of course, but already a step away from Scherchen-, Solti-, Karajan-, and even Richter-Bach.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on January 20, 2009, 03:40:35 PM


Herreweghe is my favored Bach cantatas conductor, followed closely by Suzuki, Kuijken and Rifkin.

  Don  8) no mention of Leonhardt/Harnoncourt  ??? ??

  marvin

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bulldog on January 20, 2009, 03:45:16 PM
  Don  8) no mention of Leonhardt/Harnoncourt  ??? ??

  marvin



Can't say I've ever really immersed myself in that cycle, so I don't bring it up.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bulldog on January 20, 2009, 03:49:15 PM
Sure they all are, but if we are only looking at HIP recordings (and most modern ones, perhaps all, are), then further distinctions could be helpful. And Josh Rifkin, Sigiswald Kuijken, Jos van Veldhoven, John Butt, and esp. Konrad Junghaenel
are not in any way the same kind of HIP
as
Ton Koopman, Philip Herreweghe, John E. Gardiner et al. They are the "Wolff--HIPsters", the former are the "Rifkin gang"

Although I certainly notice the differences between those two groups, I don't find them at opposite ends of the spectrum.  Probably because I love them both, and my bottom-line preferences concern period instrumentation and minimal or no vibrato.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on January 20, 2009, 04:59:15 PM
Sure they all are, but if we are only looking at HIP recordings (and most modern ones, perhaps all, are), then further distinctions could be helpful. And Josh Rifkin, Sigiswald Kuijken, Jos van Veldhoven, John Butt, and esp. Konrad Junghaenel
are not in any way the same kind of HIP
as
Ton Koopman, Philip Herreweghe, John E. Gardiner et al. They are the "Wolff--HIPsters", the former are the "Rifkin gang"

Ah. I make other distinctions/divisions.  :) For instance, Herreweghe and Kuijken are IMO actually close in style, notwithstanding that Kuijken opts for OVPP, and add Christophe Coin and Philippe Pierlot to that little list. Suzuki and his former teacher Koopman are closer to the style of Leonhardt and that of Harnoncourt.

Quote
I don't think Rilling is awful, and often he's got great singers...

Absolutely, he often uses very fine singers indeed.

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on January 21, 2009, 02:23:24 AM
Although I certainly notice the differences between those two groups, I don't find them at opposite ends of the spectrum.  Probably because I love them both, and my bottom-line preferences concern period instrumentation and minimal or no vibrato.

Well, I certainly would not want to encourage that only because performers can be categorized along musico-ideological lines, we should fall in and align our likes along those lines, too. I like whatever is good, no matter what went in to it. I love Richter, I love Herreweghe, I love Veldhoven, I like Koopman, and I am really starting to like the new Kuijken mini-cycle. I am not yet very much enchanted by Suzuki, I admit... and although I adore Gardiner and his SDG efforts, I think the actual performances are (vastly?) overrated.

And I must say that I have a difficult time including Herreweghe and Veldhoven in the "camps", even if they fit. They don't seem ideological in their performances at all. (Perhaps that's why I like them so much... or perhaps I think that because I like them so much. Chicken, Egg.) Rifkin and Koopman, however, can be pitched against one another very neatly. Ditto Gardiner vs. Butt. Showdown in B-minor! Only on Pay-per-Listen.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: rickardg on January 21, 2009, 04:18:41 AM
Thanks for your interesting viewpoints. Particularly the Hunt Lieberman/Quasthoff solo disks weren't on my radar before, very tempting since I like those singers already.

Any opinons on Rifkin himself on Double Deccas for a OVPP take? They sound OK to me from the 30 sec online samples and the price certainly is right.

What I've gleaned of Suzuki's cantatas from borrowed disks it doesn't really grab me either, I can't put the finger on why though. A pity since I very much wanted to like them, being BIS and all.. The Gardiner cantata pilgrimage is a great idea and the Christmas disc I've got is pleasant enough, but I do prefer Herreweghe. The packaging is superb though, and if I'd been into Bach when they started chances are I'd have subscribed, Gardiner's small essays are like a blog in print. Did they do a documentary on the recordings? That would have been interesting, a Bach reality soap... :-)

Anyway, I'm fretting over an order from MDT right now, and it will certainly include a healthy dose of Herreweghe's Bach. This'll be fun...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on January 21, 2009, 08:24:47 AM
Suzuki for me.  0:) Soon, in February I will order another one...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on January 21, 2009, 06:14:25 PM
Ah. I make other distinctions/divisions. :) For instance, Herreweghe and Kuijken are IMO actually close in style, notwithstanding that Kuijken opts for OVPP, and add Christophe Coin and Philippe Pierlot to that little list. Suzuki and his former teacher Koopman are closer to the style of Leonhardt and that of Harnoncourt.

Ah. Now this could lead to an interesting discussion, IMHO. But I also say this because all those discussions about it should be OVPP versus no, it should not have become very tiresome to my ears. :P

If only I had more time to discuss! ;)
Apart from that, I've chosen to listen some more to the music lately, and leave the discussions up to the wiser people. ::)

In short: I kinda agree with the way you divide, but do not entirely agree with your choice of 'divisions'. For instance, I think that Coin is far more inspired by Leonhardt/Harnoncourt, and this also goes for Kuijken. Their approach is still some sort of a contribution to the music as speech point of view. (At least, that's how I hear it. These are all subjective matters, OK?)

Funny enough, I think Koopman has grown towards Herreweghe far more during the years, and so did Suzuki. Their swing sounds more 'round' (Suzuki beats Koopman in this, I think), and their performances seem to be more inspired by a vocal-singing approach, which maybe makes this music more acceptable to 20th/21nd century ears. I really don't know how else to put it. But to me, they lack that 'Herreweghe-warmth', so in the end it's still Philippe pour moi. IMHO, he's the one who's reached the ideal balance between 'reciting music' and 'melodious beauty'. Too bad that he decided not to do the complete cantatas. But hey, the man loves all music, so why only be a Bach-freak?

I do agree with jlaurson that Van Veldhoven, though he claims to be converted by the OVPP-approach - which, of course, doesn't interest me at all ;D -, is somehow a league of his own. And I don't really know what to think of him, if I really like his recordings or not. He can make such odd choices, like the tempi for the tenor cantatas in the Johannes-Passion. He must have studied a lot more about baroque music than I have ;), but when I listen to these I can't help but thinking the guy really doesn't have a clue what Bach is composing about.
I am, as you can witness, an arrogant bastard. :(
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on January 22, 2009, 01:04:51 AM
Ah. Now this could lead to an interesting discussion...

Funny enough, I think Koopman has grown towards Herreweghe far more during the years, and so did Suzuki.

In what way have these come closer toward Herreweghe?  Does that also mean they (Koopman & Suzuki) have come closer together? Because the latter I can't really hear. I have not heard Koopman live very often lately (and not with his ABO), and most his recordings are from a while back [on that note: Anyone know the recording dates of the pieces on the Challenge Release "Latin Church Music v.1"??] so that a movement toward P.H., and by extension Suzuki, would be difficult to determine for me. As per Suzuki, I've heard him only once, live... (bit of a disappointment: Review (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/03/bach-collegium-japan-non-nisi-mota.html)), and I have most of the BIS discs in the '20s' and '30s'... which scarcely lived up to my (too) high expectations.


Quote
Too bad that he decided not to do the complete cantatas. But hey, the man loves all music, so why only be a Bach-freak?
Is there such a decision? Was there ever the plan to record all of them in the first place? And who cares as long as he'll keep recording them while he's active as a conductor. Better keep the high standards he's had so far and record only 120 cantatas than rush things, sacrifice some of that excellence, and give all of the cantatas to us, some at 90% or less.[/quote]

Quote
I do agree with jlaurson that Van Veldhoven, though he claims to be converted by the OVPP-approach - which, of course, doesn't interest me at all ;D -, is somehow a league of his own.

Having heard his Matthew Passion live (review (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/03/ionarts-at-large-bach-in-naarden.html), the review ends up understating how great a night that was) and finding his Mass in B-Minor my (current) favorite recording (review (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/12/bachs-mass-in-b-minor.html)), I find him completely enthralling. I am certainly looking forward to hearing cantatas with him.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on January 22, 2009, 09:51:48 AM
Funny enough, I think Koopman has grown towards Herreweghe far more during the years, and so did Suzuki.

In what way have these come closer toward Herreweghe? Does that also mean they (Koopman & Suzuki) have come closer together? Because the latter I can't really hear.

When I heard the first Suzuki recordings, I was very pleased with the strong rhythmic differentiations. They made me think of the young Koopman. (Living in the Low Countries has given me the opportunities to listen to mr. K. more often, especially on broadcast, which I did quite a lot when I was younger myself. I heard him live only once, with Mozart.)
During the years, it seems to me that Suzuki's approach has become more 'widened' and less 'straight', less European/Lutheran/Protestant, so to speak. I don't mind about that, the fact that I like them all enriches my senses, although it costs me loads of money. ;D
About Koopman & Herreweghe: they are both of the same generation, and have stated more than once that they were great admirers of Leonhardt/Harnoncourt (Herreweghe and his Collegium Vocale Gent did work a lot with Harnoncourt in the 'earlier' years). But after some time they more or less went their own ways, with more room for the singing qualities of Bach's music, and less strict according to the L/H 'HIP-doctrine'. If there ever was such a doctrine, of course. But in my experience, the L/H cycle is far more 'reciting' than any other one.

BTW, these 'statements' of Koopman & Herreweghe (especially the latter) were made f.i. in Dutch magazines and books about the Bach-traditions of Naarden and Amsterdam. Too bad that these works never have been translated into English (AFAIK).
But I'll give you the titles anyway:
Maurits Schmidt, Het geheim van Naarden, 1988.
C.M. Schmidt et al, De Matthäus Passion - 100 jaar passietraditie van het Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, 1999.

Considerations like the above of course don't mean necessarily that they all sound more or less the same. It wouldn't surprise me if Suzuki's career is a bit comparable with Koopman's. Suzuki once was a pupil of Koopman, they exchanged and shared a lot of insights, and after his study Suzuki developed these insights into a more personal interpretation, I guess. Like Koopman and Herreweghe developed themselves in earlier times, after they were influenced by Leonhardt/Harnoncourt.

Again: all these different approaches make me a rich man .... [etc.] Maybe it's completely useless to divide all these interpretations into groups. Yes, come to think of it: maybe it's only useful to people who can't help they want to talk about music so much. So that they, at least, can create their own issues to talk about. Hence this board. ;)

Too bad that he decided not to do the complete cantatas. But hey, the man loves all music, so why only be a Bach-freak?

Is there such a decision?

In the nineties, both Koopman and Suzuki started their complete cycles, and Herreweghe kept making lots of cantata recordings. Bach/Herreweghe admirers and journalists asked him several times: are you planning to do a complete cycle, too? And Herreweghe said: NO! Reasons: he only made recordings of the cantates he was very much attracted to. With Rilling, Leonhardt/Harnoncourt, Koopman and Suzuki (and Leusink [Brilliant] and Gardiner preparing it), he thought there was enough choice in complete cycles. It would take too much of his time, and he would have been 'forced' to concentrate mainly on Bach for at least 10 years of his life, while he wanted to play a lot of other music, too.

Was there ever the plan to record all of them in the first place?

See above. I don't think so. Maybe his record company at some time, because he got so many positive reviews. (And sales figures?)

And who cares as long as he'll keep recording them while he's active as a conductor. Better keep the high standards he's had so far and record only 120 cantatas than rush things, sacrifice some of that excellence, and give all of the cantatas to us, some at 90% or less.

I totally understand what you mean. I shouldn't care, especially because his standard remains high.
To me, for instance, Leusink's cycle is a bad example of rushing things. A complete cycle recorded in about 14 months! That's simply not possible, and his cycle is the proof.
Nevertheless, I would have preferred a complete Herreweghe cycle to a complete Suzuki, Koopman or Gardiner. Just because I like Herreweghe's approach more. That's why I care. It's strictly personal ;).
Although I do think there are more Herreweghe fans around the world. :D

About Van Veldhoven: I'm also glad he's there, too. I felt lucky and priviliged to go to a concert of his reconstruction of Bach's Markus-Passion in 1986, I'm glad he made a reconstruction of the 1724 Johannes-Passion, and I like his Weihnachts-Oratorium. I also like the way he makes his basso continuo groups play, and the richness of their sound. In most cases, I think he's a joy to listen to, but still, Herreweghe is my favourite.

And Leonhardt/Harnoncourt, well, to me they are heroes. :)
They gave me Bach and strengthened my love for his music when I was a young adolescent. The way they played Bach touched me in a special way, as if Bach was talking to me directly. It's not easy to explain such a mystery, but I think it has a lot to do with their music as speech approach.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on January 22, 2009, 05:24:28 PM
...but when I listen to these I can't help but thinking the guy [Veldhoven] really doesn't have a clue what Bach is composing about.

I'd say Veldhoven puts his personal stamp on Bach but that's a far cry from "doesn't have a clue".

I have his Christmas Oratorio and St. John Passion and find them wonderful.

Herreweghe's more sullen style is my overall preferred in Bach but I find Veldhoven a nice counterweight.


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on January 25, 2009, 12:56:30 AM
I'd say Veldhoven puts his personal stamp on Bach but that's a far cry from "doesn't have a clue".

I have his Christmas Oratorio and St. John Passion and find them wonderful.

Herreweghe's more sullen style is my overall preferred in Bach but I find Veldhoven a nice counterweight.

My 'problem' is: I can hear great things in almost every interpretation. :( ;)
So of course Van Veldhoven is a nice counterweight to me, too. (Although I do not expercience Herreweghe's style as sullen, but more like a warm, crackling and comforting fireplace.)

I was reffering to Van Veldhoven's interpretation of the two SJP tenor-arias. When I listen to them in his recording, I can't help but think this really must be some kind of a statement only, because the lyrics do not subscribe to this interpretation at all.

The first aria Ach, mein Sinn is about a soul in panic and total distress (Peter, who is unthinking), after he has denied his best friend. The utterly slow way Van Veldhoven plays it, sounds more like a mourning lullaby, dedicated to a friend who died (and Jesus is still alive). Anyway, IMO, this isn't the way you feel when you're totally in anguish. Therefore I think that this has to be played in a totally different way.

The second aria is an appeal for consideration. We, the listeners/believers/churchgoers should expercience that Jesus' bleeding back and the brutal slashing of the whip are actually signs of God's ability to love and forgive. This is really wonderfully composed, by using the two violas d'amore (violins of love) in such a poignant and harrowing way.
If you rush this aria like Van Veldhoven does, we really do not get a chance to experience anything at all (especially the effect of the two string instruments has almost totally disappeared), and to consider what the flogging and torture really means.

Is it possible that Van Veldhoven has exchanged both interpretations? ???
To me, the first aria should have been played like Van Veldhoven plays the second, and vice versa.

In general, though: I think this is a good recording of Bach's SJP. I admit the above is mainly criticism about details. But I hope that I somehow made my point.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on February 05, 2009, 02:32:52 PM
Bach and Herreweghe; new release:

http://www.amazon.com/J-S-Bach-Jesu-deine-Passion/dp/B001QS0X0C/ref=dm_ap_alb3

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514fGEC2cRL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

To prepare ourselves for Lent!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on February 05, 2009, 07:26:19 PM
Bach and Herreweghe; new release:

http://www.amazon.com/J-S-Bach-Jesu-deine-Passion/dp/B001QS0X0C/ref=dm_ap_alb3

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514fGEC2cRL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

To prepare ourselves for Lent!

Is this available on cd yet, Marc?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on February 05, 2009, 07:56:49 PM
Is this available on cd yet, Marc?

I ordered the St Matthew Passion by Herreweghe after having heard so many people raved about it.  Unfortunately, the set has not arrived yet, along with 2 other sets that were in the same MDT order.  There is no doubt Herreweghe has a different approach to Bach's choral works, but that does not necessarily mean he is better.  This is where I find interpretations between different conductors intriguing.  I personally think very highly of the St Matthew Passion by HvK among the nine versions I have ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on February 06, 2009, 02:03:53 AM
Is this available on cd yet, Marc?

I think that depends on where you live.
And I guess I'm lucky in this case. :P
Here, in the Netherlands, it was released already a few weeks ago. I bought it at mid-price, and (of course ;)) without any regrets.
At the Amazon.com-site it is said official release date: February 26, 2009.

And on the German Amazon-site it will be released at February 13, but it's possible to order it already.
http://www.amazon.de/Jesu-Deine-Passion-Bwv-127-159/dp/B001L15C8W

And, of course, there are also some CD shops in the Netherlands, where there is a possibility to order CD's when you're living abroad.
For instance:
http://www.prelude-klassiekemuziek.nl/
At the homepage, click on the 'Union Jack' and you can read all about it, in english. The Jesu, deine Passion-issue is available there for € 15,00.

Good luck!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 06, 2009, 01:39:04 PM
I've recently discovered this ancient CD, which is giving me a lot of pleasure, especially the young Schwarzkopf singing Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen.

Highly recommended if you're not allergic.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on February 06, 2009, 05:56:55 PM
I've recently discovered this ancient CD, which is giving me a lot of pleasure, especially the young Schwarzkopf singing Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen.

Highly recommended if you're not allergic.

I bought this CD from Moviemar based in North Carolina.  While I had some good experience with this outfit for the first 2 orders, this CD arrived unsealed and has scratches.  Lo and behold, it also skips in one of my CD players.  After an email complaint that was ignored, the order also became the last order I ever placed with this Amazon MarketPlace vendor.  Indeed, the singing on this CD is beautiful.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on February 07, 2009, 07:20:10 AM
I think that depends on where you live.
And I guess I'm lucky in this case. :P
Here, in the Netherlands, it was released already a few weeks ago. I bought it at mid-price, and (of course ;)) without any regrets.
At the Amazon.com-site it is said official release date: February 26, 2009.

And on the German Amazon-site it will be released at February 13, but it's possible to order it already.
http://www.amazon.de/Jesu-Deine-Passion-Bwv-127-159/dp/B001L15C8W

And, of course, there are also some CD shops in the Netherlands, where there is a possibility to order CD's when you're living abroad.
For instance:
http://www.prelude-klassiekemuziek.nl/
At the homepage, click on the 'Union Jack' and you can read all about it, in english. The Jesu, deine Passion-issue is available there for € 15,00.

Good luck!

Thanks much. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on February 08, 2009, 07:28:31 AM
Since I already have 2 complete Bach Cantatas on CD alone, I doubt I will be collecting a third set anytime soon.  I am always willing to take a look at what is new and promising.  I picked up the following set at my local Borders for a song.  I paid no more than $20 for the set, which is now OOP and the best price on Amazon is about $40.  I bought the St Mathew Passion by Herreweghe from MDT a few days ago and the set is still in cellophane.

Bill,  Keep an eye on your local Borders store, you just never know what bargains may be available in the brick-and-mortar store ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41M7C1K976L._SS400_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 05, 2009, 05:47:49 AM
Is this the place for Bach Cantatas?

This is the latest (if you're in DC you can still run out and catch it)...

on BWV 21

http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=531 (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=531)

Feedback and mild criticism as always appreciated.

Cheers,

jfl
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 05, 2009, 06:25:02 AM
While we are at it, this preceded the BWV 21 missive:

Bach for Palm Sunday
http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=520 (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=520)

on BWV 182

Quote
For today, Palm Sunday, it is BWV 182 Himmelskönig, sei willkommen (“King of Heaven, be Thou welcome”), first performed on March 25th, 1714 in Weimar. That this is the only cantata for Palm Sunday has to do with the tradition in Leipzig to perform Passions, but not cantatas on the Sundays in Lent. And that it’s such an extensive cantata has to do with Palm Sunday concurring with the Annunciation that year, making that Sunday a very special event.

BWV 182 opens with a sonata for violin, recorder, and basso continuo. After the chorus of “Himmelskönig…” and the recitative for bass, three successive arias (for bass, alto, and tenor) follow. The alto aria with recorder “Leget euch dem Heiland unter” is a slow moving (over 10 minutes in Karl Richter’s recording with Anna Reynolds but only 6:30 with Ton Koopman’s counter tenor Kai Wessel), beautiful point of rest before the tenor aria “Jesu, lass durch Wohl und Weh” suggests weariness...

etc.etc. (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=520)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on May 05, 2009, 07:33:49 AM
Is this the place for Bach Cantatas?

You guessed right! :)

Quote from: jlaurson
 
This is the latest (if you're in DC you can still run out and catch it)...

on BWV 21

http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=531 (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=531)

Feedback and mild criticism as always appreciated.

BWV 21 is great!
I don't know all the versions you mention. I'm not familiar with the non-HIPs and also with the Purcell Quartet. I do have Volume 1 of the latter, thought it was very shallow and decided to avoid them. :(

About your preferences in the HIP-section: they look a lot like mine. I slightly prefer Herreweghe to Kuijken, but that's only marginal. Unfortunately René Jacobs' voice (Kuijken recording) wasn't all that good anymore in those years, compared to his 70's recordings for f.i. Leonhardt.

Barbara Schlick, IMHO, is very good in Herreweghe's performance. But in Koopman's recording she had difficulties with the higher regions, probably because Koopman opted for a higher pitch, according to the Weimar circumstances.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 05, 2009, 08:19:01 AM
You guessed right! :)

actually it had to be moved here by some admin.  :(

BWV 21 is great!
I don't know all the versions you mention. I'm not familiar with the non-HIPs and also with the Purcell Quartet.
About your preferences in the HIP-section: they look a lot like mine. I slightly prefer Herreweghe to Kuijken, but that's only marginal. Unfortunately René Jacobs' voice (Kuijken recording) wasn't all that good anymore in those years, compared to his 70's recordings for f.i. Leonhardt.
Barbara Schlick... had difficulties with the higher regions, probably because Koopman opted for a higher pitch, according to the Weimar circumstances.

Hamburg/Koethen circumstances, to be finnicky ;). But yes, Koopman has her go through it in D-minor, Herreweghe in C-minor. Since they use the same pitch, that's a whole tone higher for her to sing with TK than with PH.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on May 05, 2009, 08:33:29 AM
Hamburg/Koethen circumstances, to be finnicky ;).

Finnicky: no problem. I was too lazy to check all the booklets myself. :P
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on May 05, 2009, 01:05:25 PM
My 'problem' is: I can hear great things in almost every interpretation. :( ;)

My problem too. Even in Leusink´s Sacred Cantata set.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on May 07, 2009, 09:40:33 AM
My problem too. Even in Leusink´s Sacred Cantata set.

Sure. But I'm sorry to say: I cannot stand Knut Schoch's voice, and also the choir singing isn't very much to my likings. But surely it was a great achievement of Leusink c.s. to record all Bach cantatas in a periode of appr. one year.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on June 03, 2009, 12:53:28 PM

J.S. Bach
Aria (Alto)
Cantata BWV 117/7
Ich will dich all mein Leben lang

http://www.mediafire.com/?3jhzyiyhkey

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on June 06, 2009, 04:46:04 PM
Sure. But I'm sorry to say: I cannot stand Knut Schoch's voice, and also the choir singing isn't very much to my likings. But surely it was a great achievement of Leusink c.s. to record all Bach cantatas in a periode of appr. one year.


I had an aversion for Rene Jacobs before he got into conducting ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on June 14, 2009, 04:09:13 PM
What a great experience are every time the Bach cantatas.

Do you remember the movie American Beauty? There the character Ricky Fitts explains to Jane a video filmed by him, where a little bag is rocked by the wind:

“It was one of those days when it's a minute away from snowing and there's this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that's the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and... this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video's a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember... and I need to remember... Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in”.

Something like that is frequently my sensation with Bach and it has been today my experience with a new disc by the Ricercar Consort. It includes three early cantatas (BWV 131, 182, 4) played in the usual sober style of the group conducted by Pierlot, accompanied by four excellent singers (Katharine Fuge, soprano; Carlos Mena, contra-tenor; Hans Jörg Mammel, tenor; Stephan McLeod, bass).

An immense sensation of calm beauty, like the painting on the cover:

"The Magdalen in a Landscape" (or "The Magdalen Penitent")
Adriaen Isenbrandt or Adrien, Isenbrant, Ysenbrant, Ysenbrandt or Hysebrant (1480 or 90–1551)
Dimensions : 40 cm x 31 cm
circa from 1510 to 1525

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bunny on June 15, 2009, 01:25:45 PM
Is this available on cd yet, Marc?

Just follow the link on the page that says "also available in cd format (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001L15C8W/ref=dm_dp_cdp?ie=UTF8&s=music)"  ;)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Franco on June 18, 2009, 09:51:59 AM
This cycle is new to me:

Kuijken Bach Cantatas series (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/llf/-/Kuijken%2BBach%2BCantatas/1)

Here's a blurb from BBC magazine earlier this year:

Quote
“…a profoundly impressive achievement… liberating performances inhabiting a language of elevated perception and intimacy. Rarely can a single-voiced chorus have sounded so warm and integrated.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2008

“Sigiswald Kuijken is gently ploughing his own furrow in a mini-series with modest forces and intimate conceits. The performances here of Cantatas BWV1, 18 and 23 are extraordinarily refined, coherent and perceptive. This is Bach stripped bare, but rapt.” Gramophone Magazine

“The sonority of the early BWV 18 is inspired - initially four violas and continuo, with flutes added a decade later. The dark timbre is lightened by authentic high pitch, in a gloriously enveloping SACD acoustic; the opening concerto-like sinfonia is captivating. Soloists are admirable throughout.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2009 ****


Also the website, Presto Classical (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/), is new to me, but looks pretty interesting, too - although I usually don't order from overseas outlets.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on June 18, 2009, 10:14:03 AM
Also the website, Presto Classical (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/), is new to me, but looks pretty interesting, too - although I usually don't order from overseas outlets.

I have ordered from them twice, and there has been nothing to complain about their service. Also, their shipping works out really good especially if you buy boxes. (Averages to 1-2 Pounds per item to anywhere in the world.)

EDIT: Just noticed that they have slightly upped the shipping charges.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on June 18, 2009, 11:33:17 PM
Listened to BCJ/Suzuki volume 36 today. It was very interesting to read about violoncello piccolo and viola pomposa that J. S. Bach might have invented according to some documents. I am constantly amazed by the fact how much these cantatas give instrumental problems/challenges performing them properly.

 :P
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on June 19, 2009, 05:16:27 AM
The supernatural talent of Bach in this unassuming duet from one of his wonderful cantatas.  

J.S. Bach
Duet,  ‘Ich fürchte {zwar, nicht} des Grabes Finsternissen”
Cantata, ‘Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen’
BWV 66/5

http://www.mediafire.com/?w2tt1z2kdym

Alto: Paul Esswood
Tenor: Kurt Equiluz
Collegium Vocale
Teldec
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on June 19, 2009, 11:08:06 AM
The supernatural talent of Bach in this unassuming duet from one of his wonderful cantatas.  

J.S. Bach
Duet,  ‘Ich fürchte {zwar, nicht} des Grabes Finsternissen”
Cantata, ‘Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen’
BWV 66/5

http://www.mediafire.com/?w2tt1z2kdym

Alto: Paul Esswood
Tenor: Kurt Equiluz
Collegium Vocale
Teldec

Beautiful piece indeed.

But I don't hear:
- Paul Esswood
- Kurt Equiluz
- Collegium Vocale [duetto; no choir included :P]
So: probably no Teldec production.

I do hear though:
- Kai Wessel
- James Taylor
- a BWV 66 duetto of the studio recording of Herreweghe c.s.
Which is a Harmonia Mundi production.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on June 20, 2009, 03:50:51 AM
Yes Marc !

You are absolutely right ! Thanks. My labelling of individual tracks is far from perfect. Must do a complete sort out of so much material. These cantatas are simply amazing, yes ? The harmonic inventiveness and majesty of Bach's music is indescribably wonderful. 

J.S. Bach
Duet
‘Jesus ist gefunden’
Cantata 154
Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren
BWV 154/7

http://www.mediafire.com/?ohm4jymyahg


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on June 21, 2009, 11:09:25 AM
These cantatas are simply amazing, yes? The harmonic inventiveness and majesty of Bach's music is indescribably wonderful.

I don't have a thorough grounding in music to say something 'definite' about Bach that would disclose his music's secret. But something special happened to me at the age of 12 or 13, when I first heard music of Bach, and it has been happening until today.

And my special moments with Bach's music will go on till death do us part.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on June 23, 2009, 12:07:31 AM
Hi there Marc,

Me too.

‘’She played Bach. I do not know the names of the pieces, but I recognized the stiff ceremonial of the frenchified little German courts and the sober, thrifty comfort of the burghers, and the dancing on the village green, the green trees that looked like Christmas trees, and the sunlight on the wide German country, and a tender cosiness; and in my nostrils there was a warm scent of the soil and I was conscious of a sturdy strength that seemed to have its roots deep in mother earth, and of an elemental power that was timeless and had no home in space‘’. (W. Somerset Maugham, ‘The Alien Corn’).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on June 24, 2009, 08:08:22 AM
Hi there Marc,

Me too.

‘’She played Bach. I do not know the names of the pieces, but I recognized the stiff ceremonial of the frenchified little German courts and the sober, thrifty comfort of the burghers, and the dancing on the village green, the green trees that looked like Christmas trees, and the sunlight on the wide German country, and a tender cosiness; and in my nostrils there was a warm scent of the soil and I was conscious of a sturdy strength that seemed to have its roots deep in mother earth, and of an elemental power that was timeless and had no home in space‘’. (W. Somerset Maugham, ‘The Alien Corn’).

.... still, no words could describe what was really happening deep inside of me ....

But some writers come close in slightly touching it .... your quotation of Somerset Maugham is one of the beautiful tranquil examples, I think.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on June 25, 2009, 06:50:46 AM
This whole cantata is so beautiful in every way. No. 111. One of my favourites (along with dozens of others !!!). An excerpt in this duet.

J.S. Bach
Duetto
Cantata 111
BWV 111/4

Annette Markert/Christoph Prégardien
Ton Koopman - Dir.
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Complete Bach Cantatas Vol. 12
Erato
 
http://www.mediafire.com/?f3mnojjoka4

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on June 25, 2009, 07:24:45 AM

Not forgetting -

Cantata 11
Chorale Finale

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDWeTVbkft8&feature=related
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on June 29, 2009, 06:32:43 AM
J.S. Bach
Cantata 137
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
BWV 137/1-2

1. Coro: Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren
2. Aria (Alto): Lobe den Herren, der alles so herrlich regieret

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ki6nOD3_2yw&feature=related

and -

3. Aria (Soprano, Basso): Lobe den Herren, der künstlich und fein dich bereitet
4. Aria (Tenore): Lobe den Herren, der deinen Stand sichtbar gesegnet
5. Chorale: Lobe den Herren, was in mir ist, lobe den Namen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYFwMIrbK_I&feature=related

/
Donna Brown, soprano
Ingeborg Danz, alto
James Taylor, tenor
Michael Volle, bass
Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart
Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
Helmuth Rilling, conductor

(Recorded 1998)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on July 10, 2009, 07:40:40 PM
I'm not very fond of the Suzuki's cycle, but I'm sure this will make many people happy:

"To celebrate the achievements of its premier baroque ensemble, BIS Records has reissued the first 40 volumes of Bach Collegium Japan’s magnificent Bach Cantatas series in 4 lavish, limited-edition boxed sets".

 8)

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on July 10, 2009, 11:05:14 PM
I'm not very fond of the Suzuki's cycle,

I am fond of it and Suzuki's cycle will probably be the only one I will ever buy (I already have almost all of the first 40 volumes.)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on July 11, 2009, 03:30:03 AM
I am fond of it and Suzuki's cycle will probably be the only one I will ever buy (I already have almost all of the first 40 volumes.)

Without any doubt Suzuki is a great director, who understands deeply this music.

I have not any argument against him, but a totally subjective preference for Leonhardt/Harnoncourt and the Koopman’s cycle.  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on July 11, 2009, 05:02:02 AM
I'm not very fond of the Suzuki's cycle, but I'm sure this will make many people happy:

"To celebrate the achievements of its premier baroque ensemble, BIS Records has reissued the first 40 volumes of Bach Collegium Japan’s magnificent Bach Cantatas series in 4 lavish, limited-edition boxed sets".

 8)

Wonderful news! Thanks, Antoine. They've still go a little under 20 volumes to go, right? (My count is based on the fact that the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt set contains 60 CDs)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on July 11, 2009, 05:14:30 AM
Wonderful news! Thanks, Antoine. They've still go a little under 20 volumes to go, right? (My count is based on the fact that the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt set contains 60 CDs)

The cycle isn't finished, not even close! BIS has released 43 volumes so far out of ~60. Now, they release the first 40 volumes in four 10 volumes sets (if I understood correctly.).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on July 11, 2009, 05:18:22 AM
Without any doubt Suzuki is a great director, who understands deeply this music.

I have not any argument against him, but a totally subjective preference for Leonhardt/Harnoncourt and the Koopman’s cycle.  :)

I have never heard Leonhardt or Harnoncourt doing Bach cantatas. Suzuki cycle is multichannel SACD from volume 28. That is a big plus!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on July 12, 2009, 10:50:55 AM
To my dear friends in the USA -

J.S. Bach
Cantata 198
Final Movements

Aria - "Der Ewigkeit saphines Haus"
Recit - "Was Wunder ist",
Chorus - "Doch, Königin!",
Howard Crook, Tenor
Peter Kooy, Bass
La Chapelle Royale
Philippe Herreweghe

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7V_Dxpq4nY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgpJeLBqXVg&feature=related


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on July 12, 2009, 12:35:29 PM
Without any doubt Suzuki is a great director, who understands deeply this music.

I have not any argument against him, but a totally subjective preference for Leonhardt/Harnoncourt and the Koopman’s cycle.  :)

My Harnoncourt's set is still in its cellophane since it arrived from MDT in early February.  I prefer to listen to Bach Cantatas during the coldest months of the winter. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on July 16, 2009, 02:14:18 AM
This astounding cantata. Full of joy, celebration and dance -

J.S. Bach
"Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild",
Reformation Celebration
BWV 79/1
Opening Chorus
Bach Collegium Musicum and Thomanerchor Leipzig
Hans Jochim Rotzsch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tmio2ZdUm_A
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on July 16, 2009, 04:15:21 AM
Without any doubt Suzuki is a great director, who understands deeply this music.

I have not any argument against him, but a totally subjective preference for Leonhardt/Harnoncourt and the Koopman’s cycle.  :)

With a pseudonym like Antoine Marchand, you would like Koopman's cycle better.  ;)

But I agree, actually. I had much coveted the Suzuki cycle when I owned nothing of it... and took for granted my Koopman cycle, of which I have a good deal (but not all).

Now that I have a fair amount of the Suzuki canatas, I must say that I respect them... but I don't love them. Some I find truly excellent, but that's usually because of a particular singer. Nothing wrong with Suzuki, either... just leaves me cold. Koopman, on the other hand, although perhaps not achieving as uniform a standard of excellence (the same would certainly be true of the audibly earlier LoeHarn recordings which I'm not a big fan of) as Suzuki, is one whole-cycle-option that I appreciate more and more, the more I listen to it again.

Speaking of not appreciating as much as it's made out to be: How about admitting that Gardiner's cycle is awesome in principle but hardly the last word in Bach Cantatas?  ;)

If I had to broadly name a favorite by pointing to a conductor, rather than individual recordings, it'd be Herreweghe who almost unfailingly excites me. And, lo and behold, the new Kuijken 1-year cycle on Accent SACDs. Very enjoyable--despite, because, or irrelevant of being total-OVPP-HIP.

Re: Franco: I'm really, really impressed with those. I didn't think I would, because I'm not particularly keen on the OVPP ideology (and it seems to be that, at teims, rather than purely-honest musical or scholarly pursuit)... but they are just truly exceptional. Very moving performances. I have volumes 1-7 (No. 8 too, but I haven't yet listened), and I am looking forward to every new issue.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Franco on July 16, 2009, 04:47:14 AM
Quote
And, lo and behold, the new Kuijken 1-year cycle on Accent SACDs. Very enjoyable--despite, because, or irrelevant of being total-OVPP-HIP.

I purchased Vols 1 and 8 of this series and found them very enjoyable.  I am glad someone else has discovered them, I had posted a couple of times asking about them but yours has been the first response.

I plan on filling the gaps and continuing with getting these as they come out.

Now I wish when I bought a new preamp that I had gone ahead and gotten the 5.1 system instead of the stereo ... but I'm not about to buy another preamp so soon after investing in my relatively recent indulgence.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on July 16, 2009, 08:18:28 AM


If I was to recommend one series above all others of the Bach cantatas my choice would be the HÄNSSLER Series. With few exceptions this is the most wonderful series I've heard as a whole.  And yes, there are some superb other recordings. Closely followed by various cantatas recorded by Masaaki Suzuki in Japan and some superb individual recordings by La Chapelle Royale under Philippe Herreweghe. And of course there's Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque. (Over the years I've grown to love and admire Ton Koopman's work and that of the Amsterdam Baroque more and more).

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on July 16, 2009, 04:41:11 PM

If I was to recommend one series above all others of the Bach cantatas my choice would be the HÄNSSLER Series. With few exceptions this is the most wonderful series I've heard as a whole.  And yes, there are some superb other recordings. Closely followed by various cantatas recorded by Masaaki Suzuki in Japan and some superb individual recordings by La Chapelle Royale under Philippe Herreweghe. And of course there's Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque. (Over the years I've grown to love and admire Ton Koopman's work and that of the Amsterdam Baroque more and more).



The HÄNSSLER Series must be recorded by Helmut Rilling with his Bach-Collegium Stuttgart.  No?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on July 17, 2009, 04:01:44 AM
The HÄNSSLER Series must be recorded by Helmut Rilling with his Bach-Collegium Stuttgart.  No?

Yes, Coopmv,

That's the series. There are so many wonders of that series. But it's tough to judge any series above another. Bach's music has so many levels of interest all I tend to look for is precision/clarity. Muffled recordings are the worst of all. The Hanssler series  (Rilling/Bach-Collegium Stuttgart) is often marvellous for this reason.

I would rate these Bach cantatas as amongst the very greatest body of musical works ever written by anyone in any form. Up there with the very best, for sure.

Regards


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on July 17, 2009, 04:25:37 AM
Yes, Coopmv,

That's the series. There are so many wonders of that series. But it's tough to judge any series above another. Bach's music has so many levels of interest all I tend to look for is precision/clarity. Muffled recordings are the worst of all. The Hanssler series  (Rilling/Bach-Collegium Stuttgart) is often marvellous for this reason.

I would rate these Bach cantatas as amongst the very greatest body of musical works ever written by anyone in any form. Up there with the very best, for sure.

Regards



I may have some Bach cantatas by Rilling on LP.  On CD, I only have the St Matthew Passion on Hanssler and a highlight from a much older recording on Sony. Many of his Bach cantatas included Christine Schäfer.  No?

(http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Bio/Schafer-Christine-7.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on July 17, 2009, 04:51:48 AM
I may have some Bach cantatas by Rilling on LP.  On CD, I only have the St Matthew Passion on Hanssler and a highlight from a much older recording on Sony. Many of his Bach cantatas included Christine Schäfer.  No?

(http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Bio/Schafer-Christine-7.jpg)

Yes, exactly ! Christine Schafer has a truly wonderful voice. I note her teachers were amongst the very best. Arleen Augér and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, for example.



Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on July 17, 2009, 05:00:44 AM
Yes, exactly ! Christine Schafer has a truly wonderful voice. I note her teachers were amongst the very best. Arleen Augér and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, for example.




Arleen Augér was probably the best native-born soprano the US has ever produced.  I have many of her CD's.  I have a DVD on some Advent program by Bach conducted by Harnoncourt and she was one of the soloists ...

 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on July 17, 2009, 05:08:06 AM
Arleen Augér was probably the best native-born soprano the US has ever produced.  I have many of her CD's.  I have a DVD on some Advent program by Bach conducted by Harnoncourt and she was one of the soloists ...

  

Oh, yes ! - She (Arleen Auger) had one of the most wonderful voices I've ever heard.

Here is Christine Schafer -

Cantata BWV 147/3
Aria
Bereite dir, Jesu, noch itzo die Bahn

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIDRf-YlQVc&feature=related



Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on July 17, 2009, 05:22:42 AM
Arleen Augér was probably the best native-born soprano the US has ever produced.  I have many of her CD's.  I have a DVD on some Advent program by Bach conducted by Harnoncourt and she was one of the soloists ...

 

I really meant to say Christine Schäfer was on this DVD by Harnoncourt.  I gave the impression that it was Arleen Augér  ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on July 17, 2009, 05:42:39 AM
I really meant to say Christine Schäfer was on this DVD by Harnoncourt.  I gave the impression that it was Arleen Augér  ...


OK fine.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on July 19, 2009, 01:34:50 AM
Cantata 180
Opening Chorus
BWV 180/1
Oregon Bach Festival Chorus and Orchestra
Oregon Bach Festival, USA
Live Performance

June 1984

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y34CDOP26qI


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on July 19, 2009, 08:14:43 AM
Cantata 180
Opening Chorus
BWV 180/1
Oregon Bach Festival Chorus and Orchestra
Oregon Bach Festival, USA
Live Performance

June 1984

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y34CDOP26qI




Was the performance conducted by Helmut Rilling?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on July 19, 2009, 11:17:44 AM
Was the performance conducted by Helmut Rilling?

According to the notes on Youtube Rilling prepared the performance, but it was conducted by his student for this live radio broadcast. Its tempo is wonderful, I think.



Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on July 19, 2009, 01:28:17 PM
And, lo and behold, the new Kuijken 1-year cycle on Accent SACDs. Very enjoyable--despite, because, or irrelevant of being total-OVPP-HIP.

Re: Franco: I'm really, really impressed with those. I didn't think I would, because I'm not particularly keen on the OVPP ideology (and it seems to be that, at teims, rather than purely-honest musical or scholarly pursuit)... but they are just truly exceptional. Very moving performances. I have volumes 1-7 (No. 8 too, but I haven't yet listened), and I am looking forward to every new issue.



It was funny to read these angry answers by Leonhardt about the OVPP issue:


You’ve now mentioned the topic twice, so I must take up the challenge and ask for your views on the most controversial current aspect of Bach performance, the question of one-to-a-part Bach choirs.
Luckily, the question can be answered in one word. There are hundreds of things we do not know about Bach’s performances or wishes, but this we do happen to know. The idea that in Leipzig, which is the main place at issue, Bach wanted a choir of single voices to a part is rubbish. It is complete rubbish! We have in Bach’s own handwriting his requirements of a minimum of three singers for each voice.


But surely that was an ideal, rather than a fact?
It was an ideal and maybe he didn’t always get that ideal, but remember Bach was also responsible for the performance of the motet. Many motets were in eight parts, so with a double chorus they could still be done. But for the cantatas, he said he wanted three singers to each part. The adherents of this idea claim that you cannot have three singers reading from a single part. Of course they can! Look at Della Robbia, for instance, with angels looking over each other’s shoulder at the music and there are many more examples from the Renaissance. It is ridiculous that even intelligent people have fallen into this trap, which I simply cannot understand. Of course, the economic consequences have something to do with it. Think of the difference in the cost of air tickets and hotel bills, for instance!

(Ouuch, Sigiswald!)

From “An Interview with Gustav Leonhardt”, Early Music World (originally in Goldberg Early Music Magazine).

Here the complete interview:
http://www.earlymusicworld.com/id2.html

 :)


 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on July 20, 2009, 02:20:57 AM


But surely that was an ideal, rather than a fact?
It was an ideal and maybe he didn’t always get that ideal, but remember Bach was also responsible for the performance of the motet. Many motets were in eight parts, so with a double chorus they could still be done. But for the cantatas, he said he wanted three singers to each part. The adherents of this idea claim that you cannot have three singers reading from a single part. Of course they can! Look at Della Robbia, for instance, with angels looking over each other’s shoulder at the music and there are many more examples from the Renaissance. It is ridiculous that even intelligent people have fallen into this trap, which I simply cannot understand. Of course, the economic consequences have something to do with it. Think of the difference in the cost of air tickets and hotel bills, for instance!

(Ouuch, Sigiswald!)

From “An Interview with Gustav Leonhardt”, Early Music World (originally in Goldberg Early Music Magazine).

Those are precious quotes that resonate with me very much. Thanks for putting them up here.

It reminds me a.) of a half-serious quip that Rosalyn Tureck replied to a similar question with: "Oh, Josh*? He just wants to save money."

(* Rifkin)

and b.)  it reminds me of how I wasn't advanced from the subsidiary (mass-singing and chorale duty) choir into the concert choir on one occasion because I was reading the music from the two chaps in front of me, instead of my own... too lazy to hold my own set up when I could so conveniently look over the two front-men's little shoulders. In choir (a 1000 year old institution) we always shared the note material, both in concert and in rehearsal... (albeit between two, not three boys).
For economic reasons alone, they would not have copied or printed a set of notes for each singer back then. I'm not saying that that's proof that OVPP is bull... I'm just saying that using that argument as proof for OVPP is bull. OVPP is a hypothesis, with strengths and weaknesses and it should be judged by the results and in any case not be considered gospel.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: robnewman on July 20, 2009, 04:00:48 AM

J.S. Bach
Aria
'Schlummert ein'
Cantata 82
David Daniels - Counter Tenor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-6BI2p7UW4&feature=related




Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on August 04, 2009, 08:53:51 AM
BIS has now released the first 30 discs in Suzuki's cycle in 3  10 CD limited edition boxes at around 28 £ per box on mdt.

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/BISCD9024-26.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on August 04, 2009, 11:15:27 AM
For those (apparently quite a few) of this forum who read German:

http://www.klassikinfo.de/Bach-Kantaten-mit-Sigiswald-Ku.816.0.html (http://www.klassikinfo.de/Bach-Kantaten-mit-Sigiswald-Ku.816.0.html)

(http://www.klassikinfo.de/typo3temp/pics/d9d04882c9.jpg) (http://tinyurl.com/klcxox)

English review (not just a translation, actually...) up on WETA  (http://www.weta.org/fmblog)within the week.

Quote
"Meine Seufzer, meine Tränen"

Johann Sebastian Bach: "Cantatas - Vol.8
La Petite Bande. Leitung, Sigiswald Kuijken
Accent ACC25308


Bei den Ausmaßen der verschiedenen Zyklen von Bach Kantateneinspielungen - dutzende CDs, zum Teil hunderte Kantaten - sind es die Gesamteindrücke, die bleiben, mehr denn Impressionen einzelner Werke. Und die sind, selbst bei wechselnden Sängerbesetzungen, erstaunlich gleichbleibend. Auf audiophilen Accent SACDs plant Sigiswald Kuijken einen Ein-Jahres Zyklus, die dem "One-Voice-per-Part" Stil folgen. Die Theorie dahinter kann man mögen, oder nicht... es greift Duke Ellingtons Diktum: Wenn es gut klingt, ist es gut. Und die Resultate bei Kuijken klingen zum verlieben gut. [weiter (http://www.klassikinfo.de/Bach-Kantaten-mit-Sigiswald-Ku.816.0.html)]
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on August 09, 2009, 02:39:36 AM
(http://www.weta.org/fmblog/wp-content/themes/fmblog/images/masthead/masthead_main.png)

NEW RELEASES: CDS

Sigiswald Kuijken and Bach Cantatas

(http://www.weta.org/fmblog/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/bach_logo_png3.png) (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=603)

Quote
Over the last years of listening to the various Bach Cantata cycles, whether ongoing, complete, or partial, my reactions to them is beginning to fit a pattern: Suzuki—curious disappointment despite highlights. John Elliot Gardiner—highest expectations not quite met. Philippe Herreweghe—uncommon delight. Ton Koopman—modest recollection far exceeded. The Purcell Quartet—lightweight enchantment. And now there’s the One-Voice-per-Part, 1-year Bach Cantata cycle by Sigiswald Kuijken on Accent SACDs which has just reached volume 8. I love it...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on August 09, 2009, 03:28:01 AM
BIS has now released the first 30 discs in Suzuki's cycle in 3  10 CD limited edition boxes at around 28 £ per box on mdt.

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/BISCD9024-26.jpg)

£28 per box? That's £2.8 per disc!  :o That's maybe one fifth of what I have paid for separate discs!  :-[
These boxes should cost £60-70 new.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on August 09, 2009, 04:15:00 AM
(http://www.weta.org/fmblog/wp-content/themes/fmblog/images/masthead/masthead_main.png)

NEW RELEASES: CDS

Sigiswald Kuijken and Bach Cantatas

(http://www.weta.org/fmblog/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/bach_logo_png3.png) (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=603)


Good review!  I read up on the issue of OVPP in Geck's biography of Bach.  It seems if there is one thing we know about Bach's intentions with his choir is that we know almost nothing about it.  it's just too poorly documented.  Rifkin seems to have passed off speculation as "authentic".  I'm willing to try Kuijken if it sounds good, that's the important thing. :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bunny on August 09, 2009, 06:18:56 AM
BIS has now released the first 30 discs in Suzuki's cycle in 3  10 CD limited edition boxes at around 28 £ per box on mdt.

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/BISCD9024-26.jpg)

It's not being released or shipped until Sept. 2009

I also wonder if the cds are being released in SACD/hybrid format or only in the less expensive stereo version.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on August 09, 2009, 06:55:03 AM
I also wonder if the cds are being released in SACD/hybrid format or only in the less expensive stereo version.

Well, only volumes 28-30 would be SACD anyway...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on August 09, 2009, 07:09:35 AM
It's not being released or shipped until Sept. 2009

I also wonder if the cds are being released in SACD/hybrid format or only in the less expensive stereo version.

That question really only applies for the last of the four boxes, since SACDs didn't start until volume 28...

ah, I see Bunny got there first.

Well, only volumes 28-30 would be SACD anyway...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sean on August 10, 2009, 05:54:40 AM
It's a slightly incomplete work I understand but I'm wondering if the material is included anywhere else, though I've been unable to establish this. There are several recordings of 193 (Ihr Tore zu zion) elsewhere, and also the chorale used in it is included in the chorales section of the complete Bach set I have here. Everything else checks out...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on August 10, 2009, 06:51:43 AM
I don't think they included any of the reconstructions, not just bwv 193.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bunny on August 10, 2009, 07:31:04 AM
That question really only applies for the last of the four boxes, since SACDs didn't start until volume 28...




I guess we will find out some time in September when they are released.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on August 10, 2009, 07:38:54 AM
I guess we will find out some time in September when they are released.

I'm guessing they will be similar to the The Great Sacred Masterworks box, most/all? of which were originally released as SACDs.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bunny on August 10, 2009, 07:49:29 AM
I don't know whether Suzuki released the cantatas in order so I don't know which ones were SACD/hybrids.  However, the box sets are all listed as CD format, fwiw.  Also no mention of when they will be released in the USA.  Searching Amazon (US) with the ASIN from the UK site did not yield any results.  No matter, US release dates are always behind European release dates.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sean on August 10, 2009, 10:11:13 AM
Thanks.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on November 05, 2009, 02:36:31 PM
i Just stumbed on this very curious review of the new BIS/Suzuki set of Bach orchestral music:

"J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos; Orchestral Suites
Album: J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos; Orchestral Suites
Label: Bis
Source: AMG
Listening to this irresistibly joyful and magnificently musical set of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos and Orchestral Suites, one is immediately struck by two thoughts. First, that Masaaki Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan have been wasting their time concentrating on Bach's dour cantatas, and second, that Bach himself was wasting his time writing his melancholy church music when he could have been composing infinitely more cheerful secular music. While Suzuki and his crew have turned in superlatively performed, if spectacularly severe recording of the cantatas, they sound just as virtuosic and vastly more comfortable here. Their performances are just as musical; from top to bottom, the Bach Collegium Japan is an outstanding period instrument chamber orchestra. Their sound is rich but bright, their ensemble tight but relaxed, and their intonation virtually flawless. One can point out any number of felicities -- Shigeharu Yamaoka's warm-toned flute in the Second Brandenburg, Natsumi Wakamatsu's keen-edged violin in the Fourth Brandenburg, and Masaaki Suzuki's airborne harpsichord in the Fifth Brandenburg. Recorded in Bis' characteristically vivid super audio digital sound, this three disc set begs to be heard by anyone who likes the works. ~ James Leonard, All Music Guide"

All "boldings" are mine. This is some of the most peculiar Bach reviewing I've seen, and makes me question some aspects of the reviewers mental state. Any views?

Haven't heard any of the Suzuki recordings, but am in general agreement with regard to Bach's output.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on November 05, 2009, 02:44:41 PM
But Bach's cantatas are joyful!

And besides that; the statement seems to like saying one wishes Wagner had concentrated on writing comic operas, instead of dour operas about dying Gods. Isn't that like saying I like Wagner, if only he wasn't so very characteristically Wagnerian?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on November 05, 2009, 03:02:22 PM
But Bach's cantatas are joyful!

And besides that; the statement seems to like saying one wishes Wagner had concentrated on writing comic operas, instead of dour operas about dying Gods. Isn't that like saying I like Wagner, if only he wasn't so very characteristically Wagnerian?

Bach wrote both vocal and instrumental music throughout his career.  I don't see anything inconsistent in preferring the instrumental music.  

I don't know about dour vs. joyful, but I get far more pleasure from Bach's orchestral music than from the religious music, particularly the Cantatas.   If he had written fewer cantatas and a lot more concerti I would be happy.

(I was thinking of getting one of the aniversary editions of the Suzuki Cantata set, maybe I should get that Brandenburg set instead.   ;D)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Franco on November 05, 2009, 05:28:37 PM
Quote
If he had written fewer cantatas and a lot more concerti I would be happy.

I wouldn't.

 8)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on November 05, 2009, 05:59:24 PM
I wouldn't.

 8)

You've listened to all 200 odd Cantatas?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Franco on November 05, 2009, 06:05:31 PM
You've listened to all 200 odd Cantatas?


I am making my way through them, and the quality is amazingly high for each one.  Despite not having heard all of them as of yet, I can say with confidence that because I prefer vocal music in general, and choral music in particular, the idea of reducing the number of cantatas and adding more instrumental works would not make me happier.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on November 05, 2009, 06:13:54 PM
If he had written fewer cantatas and a lot more concerti I would be happy.

He wouldn't have been happy had he done that... you know, without a job and all that. ;)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 05, 2009, 06:19:35 PM
I am making my way through them, and the quality is amazingly high for each one.  Despite not having heard all of them as of yet, I can say with confidence that because I prefer vocal music in general, and choral music in particular, the idea of reducing the number of cantatas and adding more instrumental works would not make me happier.

I will be on vacation during the Christmas week when I can finally start playing this set, which I got back in February at a great price from MDT ...

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/2564699437.jpg)
 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 05, 2009, 06:22:16 PM
He wouldn't have been happy had he done that... you know, without a job and all that. ;)

Indeed, as the cantor of St. Thomas in Leipzig, Bach had to compose cantatas for the various occasions.  It was an obligation ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Franco on November 05, 2009, 06:42:12 PM
I will be on vacation during the Christmas week when I can finally start playing this set, which I got back in February at a great price from MDT ...

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/2564699437.jpg)
 

I bought the Leusink complete cycle on Brilliant earlier this year, but I am buying individual recordings of the ones I especially like, and also sampling some from the Sigiswald Kuijken series.  These are some of my favorite Bach works.

 :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on November 05, 2009, 06:57:31 PM
Indeed, as the cantor of St. Thomas in Leipzig, Bach had to compose cantatas for the various occasions.  It was an obligation ...

I have always kept one end in view, namely, with all good will to conduct a well-regulated church music to the honor of God”, J.S. Bach.

 :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on November 05, 2009, 10:50:41 PM
You've listened to all 200 odd Cantatas?

Yep. Several times. And I'm not even a particularly dour fellow.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: 71 dB on November 06, 2009, 02:34:47 AM
Last Suzuki I bought was volume 37 with solo cantatas 35, 169, 170 & 200 sung by "not so highly ranked" Robin Blaze. Contrary to my modest expectations I find this volume very good! It seems I prefer Bach's solo cantatas in general but I need to study this theory further. It seems Bach's solo cantatas have a spiritual (noble) feel instead of the religious (church-like) feel of the non-solo cantatas (secular cantatas excluded, of course).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on November 06, 2009, 05:54:50 AM
Over the last month or more, I've been taking advantage of the BIS offering of the 4 anniversary volumes (10 CDs each) for just $40/box from MDT - the last arrived a few days ago (bought 'out of order') - listening to one at the moment!

(http://giradman.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/BachSuzuki110/657791271_247yo-S.jpg)  (http://giradman.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/BachCantatasVol2/672197508_ywkSE-S.jpg)

(http://giradman.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/BachSuzukiV1120/704266335_yoias-S.jpg)  (http://giradman.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/BachSuzukiV3140/704266341_2CpuB-S.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 06, 2009, 09:11:36 AM
I have always kept one end in view, namely, with all good will to conduct a well-regulated church music to the honor of God”, J.S. Bach.

:)

Yep.
It was his own choice (and wish) to go to a place like Leipzig and compose this well-regulated church music. And I'm very glad he did!
Another good reason was, of course, the Thomanerschule being a very good place of education for his offspring.

BTW, I think that, in Bach's view, all music was meant to honour God ... Soli Deo Gloria!
Personally, I don't see any difference in quality within his oeuvre, regardless if it's church or secular music.
But because of the fact that the human voice is one of my favourite instruments, I particularly embrace Bach's cantatas, oratorias, masses and passions. Although lately I've developed a VERY weak spot for the organ ....
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Franco on November 06, 2009, 09:22:09 AM
Yep.
It was his own choice (and wish) to go to a place like Leipzig and compose this well-regulated church music. And I'm very glad he did!
Another good reason was, of course, the Thomanerschule being a very good place of education for his offspring.

BTW, I think that, in Bach's view, all music was meant to honour God ... Soli Deo Gloria!
Personally, I don't see any difference in quality within his oeuvre, regardless if it's church or secular music.
But because of the fact that the human voice is one of my favourite instruments, I particularly embrace Bach's cantatas, oratorias, masses and passions. Although lately I've developed a VERY weak spot for the organ ....

I definitely remember a quote from Bach something to the effect of (paraphrase): The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.

EDIT: After doing a little Googling I found some interesting information about this quote - it was made in the context of playing continuo.  Here's is a longer exceprt from a book on continuo playing with Bach's extended remarks that include the above quote:

Quote
"The thorough-bass is the most perfect foundation of music, being played with both hands in such manner that the left hand plays the notes written down while the right adds consonances and dissonances, in order to make a well-sounding harmony to the Glory of God and the permissible delectation of the spirit; and the aim and final reason, as of all music, so of the thorough-bass should be none else but the Glory of God and the recreation of the mind. Where this is not observed, there will be no real music but only a devilish hubbub."

I cannot vouch for the translation - but here is the German:

Quote
Um Ketils Zitat im Originalwortlaut von 1738 zu komplettieren: „Der General Bass ist das vollkommenste Fundament der Music[,] welcher mit beyden Händen gespielet wird [,] dergestalt [,] dass die linke Hand die vorgeschriebene Noten spielet [,] die rechte aber Con- und Dissonantien darzu greift [,] damit dieses eine vollklingende Harmonie gebe zur Ehre Gottes und zulässiger Ergötzung des Gemüths [,] und soll wie aller Music also auch des General Basses Finis und End Uhrsache anders nicht als nur zu Gottes Ehre und Recreation des Gemüths seyn. Wo dieses nicht in acht genommen wird [,] da izts keine eigentliche Music [,] sondern ein Teuflisches Geplerr und Geleyer.“
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 06, 2009, 09:40:50 AM
I definitely remember a quote from Bach something to the effect of (paraphrase): The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.

Well, his music certainly refreshes my soul.

Since about 1979, to be precise :), when I first encountered the world of Bach's Matthäus-Passion, mainly thanks to my dad, who, together with my mum, sang in an amateur oratorio choir. He made a music cassette selection for me and I listened to it almost every day. My first favourite was Mache dich, mein Herze, rein.

And one year later I definitely fell in love when hearing the opening choir of the Johannes: home alone, in our family's living room, on a quiet Palm Sunday afternoon, listening to a live Concertgebouw/Harnoncourt broadcast and really not believing what I actually did hear. This magnificent chorus had me completely flabbergasted.
I started to listen to as much Bach vocal music as possible. All recorded on a small mono tape recorder. How I enjoyed my own music sessions with The Beatles and Bach's Bleib' bei uns, denn es will Abend werden!

The rest, so they say, is history. The love story's still continuing and will be in saecula saeculorum (for as long as I live, that is ;)).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 06, 2009, 09:50:55 AM
EDIT: After doing a little Googling I found some interesting information about this quote - it was made in the context of playing continuo. 

Well, the importance and the rhythm of the continuo parts were one of the first things in Bach's music that struck me as a child, and I loved it! It really was a thorough bass. I had many difficulties to sit still and quiet whilst listening to Bach. I always felt the urge to move or dance. This still happens to me, also when I'm attending a concert.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 08, 2009, 12:45:58 AM
As I quite often do, early on a Sunday morning, I am listening to Bach Cantatas and wondering what more marvelous music there could be. I have 96 cantatas in 144 versions and I decided to trawl through Amazon to see whether there were bargains to be had that mainly hit some of the missing cantatas from my collection.

I have ordered the following:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51T1R627KRL._SS500_.jpg)

Volume 8 of Pieter Jan Leusink on Brilliant. Five CDs for £3.83. I am sure they have to be worth rather more, even if just to get me going on some cantatas that I just don't know. But while waiting for them to arrive; has anyone any opinions either on this volume or this series generally?

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on November 08, 2009, 01:09:06 AM
I have 96 cantatas in 144 versions Mike

Wow.  You some kind of control freak? I like to be surprised when I peruse my collection. I know I have them all, almost all of them in multiple versions, but the info stops there.....
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 08, 2009, 02:07:34 AM
Thanks for the kind remarks.

With over 200 cantatas 'out there', I cannot possibly remember which ones I have, apart from the really famous names ones. So, some time ago I sat and catalogued them onto a spreadsheet, (one piece of A4 paper). This means I can fill in the gaps and not stand wondering...do I have that one or not?

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on November 08, 2009, 02:14:29 AM
Thanks for the kind remarks.

With over 200 cantatas 'out there', I cannot possibly remember which ones I have, apart from the really famous names ones. So, some time ago I sat and catalogued them onto a spreadsheet, (one piece of A4 paper). This means I can fill in the gaps and not stand wondering...do I have that one or not?

Mike
As I mentioned, buy them all and the problem disappears, then you can sleep peacefully and avoid all work (except for that needed to get money to buy them). ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 08, 2009, 03:35:14 AM
I have a nice spread of styles of performance and I like the solo cantatas sung by some of the pre-hip singers, preferring to add a hip-performance. Often to get two cantatas I don't have, I end up with one or two I already have, sometimes in multiple versions.

I have given up on giant boxes, I never get through them. This way, buying slowly, I am getting to grips with the pieces and differing styles of performance. No one conductor covers all the bases with these inexhaustible works.

BTW, I don't have catalogues of any other bodies of work, but I defy most to know whether they have any, some or all of whenever Gardiner, Koopman, Suzuki et all pump another volume out.

I have been tempted to catalogue my Schubert songs; I have about 30 to 40 discs, but can't be bothered.

Anyway...anyone out there with knowledge of the Brilliant set?

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 08, 2009, 04:42:15 AM
I have 2 complete cantatas cycles in these two sets.  But I have yet to open the Harnoncourt set, which arrived from MDT back in February.  I also have many of the individual cantatas by Gardiner and Harnoncourt (on LP only) and will start collecting those by Rilling soon.  There is no such thing as having too many Bach Cantatas ...

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/2564699437.jpg)

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/93102.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on November 08, 2009, 05:35:12 AM
I have given up on giant boxes, I never get through them. This way, buying slowly, I am getting to grips with the pieces and differing styles of performance. No one conductor covers all the bases with these inexhaustible works.

Best, truest, thing I've seen written in this forum! I couldn't possibly agree more.
(But even knowing that you are 100% right doesn't mean it's easy to follow that advice.
But at least anyone introduced to music should never be inundated with a box set. Even
a set of Beethoven Symphonies would probably be too much already. It splinters the focus
and hinders discovery.)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on November 08, 2009, 05:39:10 AM
I have 2 complete cantatas cycles in these two sets.  But I have yet to open the Harnoncourt set, which arrived from MDT back in February.  I also have many of the individual cantatas by Gardiner and Harnoncourt (on LP only) and will start collecting those by Rilling soon.  There is no such thing as having too many Bach Cantatas ...

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/2564699437.jpg)

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/93102.jpg)

“To collect” it seems to be the key verb here.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 08, 2009, 05:49:00 AM
I have 2 complete cantatas cycles in these two sets.  But I have yet to open the Harnoncourt set, which arrived from MDT back in February.  I also have many of the individual cantatas by Gardiner and Harnoncourt (on LP only) and will start collecting those by Rilling soon.  There is no such thing as having too many Bach Cantatas ...

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/2564699437.jpg)

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/93102.jpg)

BTW, I left out a very important conductor of this subgenre of classical music, Herreweghe.  After having blown him off for a while, I finally started to collect his recordings in earnest.  The goal is to get all the passions by him and to start on the cantatas by midyear next year.  If my investments cooperate, this can happen even earlier ... 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 08, 2009, 05:59:23 AM
Best, truest, thing I've seen written in this forum! I couldn't possibly agree more.
(But even knowing that you are 100% right doesn't mean it's easy to follow that advice.
But at least anyone introduced to music should never be inundated with a box set. Even
a set of Beethoven Symphonies would probably be too much already. It splinters the focus
and hinders discovery.)

A long time ago I gave up on collected works sets. Though there is one exception I will get to in a moment. But when there were LPs, I bought the entire 27 Mozart piano concerti. I doubt I ever got through half of them.

The exception was the recent 71 disc Karajan EMI vocal pieces box set, just too good to miss, though I had or knew about a half of the performances. However, typically, over a year later, they still have not all had an outing.

As for symphonic box sets, I have only bought them once I already had built up each cycle as I discovered them. That exploration is often a chance journey. I prefer that to an inexorable travail through a slab of a set, almost...duty calls.

It has taken me about 20 years to get almost half of the Bach Cantatas, I am content to assume I have another two decades to explore the remainder. Time is just about still on my side.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 08, 2009, 06:04:15 AM
BTW, I left out a very important conductor of this subgenre of classical music, Herreweghe.  After having blown him off for a while, I finally started to collect his recordings in earnest.  The goal is to get all the passions by him and to start on the cantatas by midyear next year.  If my investments cooperate, this can happen even earlier ... 

We are all different, but your way of collecting, like jewels to be looked at rather than living art works to be encountered, has always puzzled me. You seem to have loads you have not listened to. Possessing seems to be enough. When you do listen, I hope for some authoritative opinions from someone with so much 'product' in specific genres. But you confine yourself to a sentence here or there about the general quality of the discs. I wish you would give us a few more inches; though I know that such a thing is not always provided without pain.  >:D

Mike

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on November 08, 2009, 06:31:31 AM


I have given up on giant boxes, I never get through them. This way, buying slowly, I am getting to grips with the pieces and differing styles of performance. No one conductor covers all the bases with these inexhaustible works.


Mike
Actually that is my feeling as well. But if it has to be giant boxes, then I prefer them to be focused on at consistent series of works, like the Bach cantatas, etc, rather than a complete composer package, or even worse, a complete performer set. My preferred modus operandi is to collect selected works combined with a complete set. That way, you get them all - collecting single discs always will leave nooks and crannies - as well as choice performances of favorite works.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Frellie on November 08, 2009, 06:45:00 AM
Volume 8 of Pieter Jan Leusink on Brilliant. Five CDs for £3.83. I am sure they have to be worth rather more, even if just to get me going on some cantatas that I just don't know. But while waiting for them to arrive; has anyone any opinions either on this volume or this series generally?

Mike

The cantatas on the Brilliant set have been recorded in a great hurry, and the music bears the sour fruits of that haste. I would not recommend them, except perhaps in order to get to know the cantatas a bit more, before buying more expensive recordings.

The recordings by Suzuki (which can be bought pretty darn cheap these days) are much more polished and sound gorgeous. Try for example the Suzuki #8, with the incredible cantatas BWV 22, 23 and 75, and compare for yourself. For a more historically informed performance, Koopmans cycle is the preferred choice. But those cd's are stilll very expensive.


I own both the (running) Suzuki cycle and the Koopman cycle, along with the very recommendable Herreweghe recordings, and find that combination to be very satifying.


Gardiner is doing some very great things too, but his interpretations sometimes differ greatly from the mainstream, so I wouldn't recommend that cycle as a primary collection.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on November 08, 2009, 06:46:04 AM
We are all different, but your way of collecting, like jewels to be looked at rather than living art works to be encountered, has always puzzled me. You seem to have loads you have not listened to. Possessing seems to be enough. Mike


Big sets can be overwhelming, nearly paralyzing. Jeezus, how can I get through this? Better put it in the back to avoid a bad conscience.

I generally listen to everything I buy. Even the 35 CD set of Brendel on Brilliant, which provided me with lots of Eureka! moments even in music I didn't think I'd enjoy. That set served a purpose.

There are a few exceptions to listening to everything though. If it's a larger box set, I tend to listen to works I don't know already, or to performances that particularly interests me. There is no shame in not playing everything in a big box, at todays prices you can buy a box if 1/3 of it interests you and still save money, not to mention shelf space compared to single discs. To buy without even the intention (or hope) of listening however seems a waste.

But the road of discovery which is a strong part of exploring classical music is better served by single discs. Big sets aren't (for me) for in general discovery, though Brendel nearly proved me wrong, but rather for dotting the i's and crossing the t's in your collection. I'm buying Gardiners Bach cantatas disc by disc, particularly seduced by the superb packaging, rather than hoping for a cheap, complete set sometime....regardless that I already have all the cantatas..... and a superb trip it is.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 08, 2009, 07:00:59 AM
Frellie, Thanks. Perhaps I will be lucky and get some of the best if the overall cycle is patchy. Certainly once my appetite is whetted, I will feel justified by the tiny outlay for the Brilliant discs to duplicate the ones I especially like with better performances. I have about half a dozen double sets of the Gardiner pilgrimage and enjoy them a great deal; for sure much more than his Bach of 20 years ago.

Not all of the soloists manage quite the expressiveness I look for, but there are always compensations and Gardiner's need to teach the audience is given a superb outlet with his linear notes.

Erato,

I have been tempted to subscribe to the full Gardiner set; but I know I would fall behind and sometimes pay mere lip-service as they plopped through he door and were consigned to the shelves.

I agree, single discs: just today I have ordered Symphony 4 by Joly Braga Santos because of the advocacy here and I am looking forward to sounds new to my ears.

Mike

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Franco on November 08, 2009, 08:04:32 AM
I have been happy with the Brilliant set, knowing of course that it is not the best.  

I lean more towards the idea of avoiding complete sets if you are interested in finding very good recordings of specific works - but if your goal is to familiarize yourself with a large canon of works by a composer, e.g. the Bach cantatas (a groups of works I was generally unfamiliar with), then buying piece meal is just about impossible since you are faced with literally hundreds of works and (at least I) are stuck wondering where to begin.  Using the Brilliant set as a source group, I am going through it disk by disk, rather slowly, but finding those individual numbers that I want to find done by other groups.

For this purpose I find the Brilliant boxes a very good value since while the performances are rarely "the critically thought of as best" they are rarely bad, and inexpensive enough so that I think the cost:benefit is a worthwhile investment.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on November 08, 2009, 08:48:24 AM

For this purpose I find the Brilliant boxes a very good value since while the performances are rarely "the critically thought of as best" they are rarely bad, and inexpensive enough so that I think the cost:benefit is a worthwhile investment.

For those of us who collect with a librarian element in mind (being able to go to the shelves whenever a work comes to mind and finding at least one version), the Brilliant-Leusink Bach is not just adequate, it's excellent. The rest can be handled with personal favorites. Among them is almost always Philippe Herreweghe, whose Bach I admire and adore; ditto his attitude about recording all Cantatas. (Which is roughly: "No need; I focus on those I like best")
Among the recordings I have that are, or will be, complete cycles, I find Koopman getting the highest marks on average, of not the necessarily the highest on any given cantata. Suzuki has those... but I'm strangely not (yet) all that enthused with his general approach. Gardiner I enjoy not unlike Koopman, but since I have higher expectations of him, I seem to be more stern in my judgement. Rilling is like Leusink, except in an old-fashioned way and sometimes with superb singers. Among incomplete and to-be-incomplete cycles, I love both Karl Richter and--although interpretively dramatically different--Kuijken.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on November 08, 2009, 09:18:44 AM
Leusink, Suzuki, Koopman, Herreweghe, Kuijken, Gardiner...and not a word about the marvelous set by Harnoncourt & Leonhardt. :o :'(

I've put in a good word for this set many times, let my point out this time a damn good review by American harpsichordist Peter Watchorn. Please excuse my copy-paste form Amazon.com! :)


The Greatest of all Bach Cantata Recordings, November 8, 2008
By Peter G. Watchorn (Cambridge, MA USA)


I first wrote this review in 2003 for the previous incarnation of this set. I see that it is now down to under $250 in its new compact format. When I acquired the original LP sets (with scores) between 1971 & 1989 the cost was over $1,300. It is still the greatest and most powerful recording in existence of these works, for, with its various blemishes, it contains the most eloquent musicianship of the pioneers of the Early Music revival from Vienna and Amsterdam. The blemishes are important too, as they eloquently document the rapid development of skills necessary to realise one of the leading musical ideas of our time: attempting to get as close as possible to the actual sounds the composers heard when they wrote their music. As a next-generation member of this fraternity (I am a professional harpsichordist, organist and co-director of several, and have worked with many of the people on these recordings. I have also written a major biography of one of the members of the generation before Leonhardt & Harnoncourt, the Viennese harpsichordist Isolde Ahlgrimm), I can only reiterate even more strongly what I wrote five years ago and urge lovers of Bach to acquire this set immediately. Here is my original review:

Had this set not been made, then the history of performance practice in the last quarter of the 20th century and beyond would have proceeded very differently. Had this set not been made we would not have many of the current leading figures in the field of early music performance, nearly all of whom were in some way connected with the performance revolution which found its most profound expression in these recordings. For it was during the 14 or so years of this recording project (between 1971 and 1985) that three of the greatest musicians of our time, Gustav Leonhardt, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Frans Bruggen forever altered the public's perception of the surviving remnants of Bach's fabled, but rarely heard, "Jahrgaenge", or yearly cycles of church cantatas. For this reason alone, this recording is of profound importance. Leonhardt, with his consort in Amsterdam, and Harnoncourt, with his Concentus Musicus of Vienna shared the task of recording, with an unmatched team of vocal and instrumental soloists, Bach's roughly 200 surviving "concerti sacri", perhaps a further hundred being lost to us. It was a repertoire more honoured in the history books than experienced in performance. This enterprise changed that state of affairs for ever.

The arguments which are now sometimes made (chiefly by those who are unaware of the extraordinary and revolutionary step which these performances represented), decrying the slightly "raw" (I prefer "vocal") sound of original instruments, or the occasional shakiness of a boy soprano soloist, miss the point of this enterprise, which was to present the music in a new way using Bach's own contemporary resources. Leonhardt and Harnoncourt are the first to insist that using "historical instruments" makes sense because those are simply the best tools for the job. Re-constituting something old has never been their aim. Rather, their idea was to break free of the mindless tradition of performance which took no account of the sounds that Bach actually had in his head when he created his "well-regulated" music for the churches of Saxony. And how does this work in practice? We are left to marvel at an extraordinary level of accomplishment on the part of nearly everyone associated with this project, vocally and instrumentally.

Gustav Leonhardt was well aware (and hopeful) that subsequent generations would likely improve upon aspects of performance which still remained to be sorted out. But, as he said, it was a start. Indeed, when he and Harnoncourt were jointly awarded the Erasmus prize in the Netherlands in 1980, he remarked, with singular modesty and self-awareness: "It was not done well, but it is remarkable that it was done at all". This tells us more about Leonhardt's famous humility, than it does about the standards of these performances, which are usually (with few exceptions) very high indeed. In many instances they will never be surpassed. What we have here is a glimpse of one of music's "golden" ages captured forever on disc. What the listener will marvel at is the extraordinary assuredness of technique and style which is evident in every one of these cantata performances.

The solo vocal contributions of Kurt Equiluz, Max van Egmond, Paul Esswood, Marjanne Kweksilber (BWV 51) are simply without equal, and the current generation of fine Bach singers would be the first to concede their enormous debt to the participants in this great enterprise (their teachers, in many cases). The choirs should also be singled out for attention: Wiener Sangerknaben, Tolzer Knabenchor, Hannover Knabenchor, Choir of Kings College, Cambridge as well as directors Heinz Hennig, Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, Philippe Herreweghe, David Willcocks and Hans Gillesberger. So Europe's finest were all involved in this.

The instrumental soloists: Frans Bruggen, Walter van Hauwe, Kees Boeke, Anner Bylsma, Jurg Schaftlein, Lucy van Dael, Sigiswald, Wieland and Bart Kuijken, Ton Koopman, Bob van Asperen, Lidewij Schiefes, Alice Harnoncourt, Herbert and Herwig Tachezi, Erich Hobarth, Friedemann Immer - to list only the more familiar names - have created a whole world of intelligent and vital performance which has transformed musical thought in our time. No-one in any area of musical performance has remained untouched by the ideas which are so forcefully presented here (even those who'd be the last to admit it). The fundamental idea of treating each period's music as a vital and representative product of its time is one which now extends to music of all periods, signaling the fulfilment of one of Leonhardt's and Harnoncourt's chief aims: to eliminate the artificial distinction between mainstream and "early" music, and, instead, to treat all music with proper respect for its origins and context.

What this recording continues to offer the listener is the experience of hearing the music for the first time, which the technical polish of subsequent surveys cannot quite match. For the young person wishing to learn about music, there is no better starting point than investing in this set, now available at a fraction of its original cost (unfortunately, minus the scores, which were one of the hallmarks of this series in its first incarnation on LP.

It seems pointless to list highlights, but one might start with the following: BWV 1, 6, 8, 11, 13, 19, 23, 29 and so on. The list is endless. Better still, buy the set and begin a life-time's voyage of discovery instead. Bach, Leonhardt and Harnoncourt: you can't do better than that. Oh, and we should also acknowledge the contribution of the founder recording producer for this project, Wolf Erichson (even though he didn't stay with Teldec to the end of it). Without him, the revolution in informed and intelligent music performance on recordings would never have happened.

2008: At its new price and in its new format, this set is now within reach of everyone who loves Bach's music, eloquently performed by the greatest specialist musicians of our time. One of the pinnacles of recording.

Peter Watchorn (2008 & 2003)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on November 08, 2009, 09:26:43 AM
... American harpsichordist ...

Well, Australian-American to be fair.  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on November 08, 2009, 09:32:32 AM
Well, Australian-American to be fair.  :)

Point taken! :)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 08, 2009, 09:37:18 AM
The cantatas on the Brilliant set have been recorded in a great hurry, and the music bears the sour fruits of that haste. I would not recommend them, except perhaps in order to get to know the cantatas a bit more, before buying more expensive recordings.


While I agree with your general assessment of the BC set - it was rushed out.  However, there are some exceptions.  A number of cantatas actually have some excellent singing by Ruth Holton, who should be no stranger to people who are familiar with the cantatas by Gardiner ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on November 08, 2009, 09:57:23 AM
Point taken! :)

Q

BTW, thanks for posting that superb review of a superb musician! :) 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 08, 2009, 10:08:16 AM
Big sets can be overwhelming, nearly paralyzing. Jeezus, how can I get through this? Better put it in the back to avoid a bad conscience.

I generally listen to everything I buy. Even the 35 CD set of Brendel on Brilliant, which provided me with lots of Eureka! moments even in music I didn't think I'd enjoy. That set served a purpose.

There are a few exceptions to listening to everything though. If it's a larger box set, I tend to listen to works I don't know already, or to performances that particularly interests me. There is no shame in not playing everything in a big box, at todays prices you can buy a box if 1/3 of it interests you and still save money, not to mention shelf space compared to single discs. To buy without even the intention (or hope) of listening however seems a waste.

But the road of discovery which is a strong part of exploring classical music is better served by single discs. Big sets aren't (for me) for in general discovery, though Brendel nearly proved me wrong, but rather for dotting the i's and crossing the t's in your collection. I'm buying Gardiners Bach cantatas disc by disc, particularly seduced by the superb packaging, rather than hoping for a cheap, complete set sometime....regardless that I already have all the cantatas..... and a superb trip it is.

We have much in common in our collection style.  Big boxes are generally not my preferred approach to collection.  A case in point - I collected all 6 volumes of Krebs Organ Works by John Kitchen on the Priory label and that Volume 4 has been next to impossible to find until I started checking out BRO, which had the CD available for the princely sum of $2.99.  I bought the Karajan Symphony Edition simply to get my hands on the Bruckner collection, whose price I have been unwilling to pay, though the 77 beethoven cycle is like icing on cake since I only have the latter on LP.  I decided against buying the Brahms set on DG since I do not like the lieders.  I will just compile my own Brahms lieders.  To sum it up, I only make target purchase of big box.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on November 08, 2009, 10:28:14 AM
Anyway...anyone out there with knowledge of the Brilliant set?

Mike

Mike, they are considering the speed with which it was recorded, reasonably good, not top notch, but neither something to be ashamed about.
For the money its a bargain any day.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 08, 2009, 11:37:59 AM
Mike, they are considering the speed with which it was recorded, reasonably good, not top notch, but neither something to be ashamed about.
For the money its a bargain any day.


That was exactly my rationale when I bought the box almost 2 years ago ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 08, 2009, 11:39:23 AM
Anyway...anyone out there with knowledge of the Brilliant set?

Mike

Definitely not my cup of tea. :(
Above average, IMHO: most of the instrumentalists, soprano Marjon Strijk, altus Sytze Buwalda (you have to like his typical voice, though, and I don't, actually, but he knows what he's singing about), tenor Marcel Beekman and bass Bas Ramselaar.
Disappointing: soprano Ruth Holton (very insecure singing & bad German pronouncation, was performing much better with Gardiner), tenor Nico van der Meel (apparently not in good shape, sounding too rushed, only above average in recitativos), tenor Knut Schoch (a disaster, I have to say), and the choir (trying to sound like a tight British choir, but above mezzoforte their singing sounds more like shouting).
About Leusink's interpretations: IMHO, nothing special really, though nothing really wrong with it, either. :-\
Personally, I prefer Harnoncourt, Leonhardt, Herreweghe, Koopman, Suzuki, Kuijken, Gardiner, Rifkin, Coin and Daniel Taylor (et cetera et cetera) in this oeuvre.  
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Frellie on November 08, 2009, 12:00:13 PM
Leusink, Suzuki, Koopman, Herreweghe, Kuijken, Gardiner...and not a word about the marvelous set by Harnoncourt & Leonhardt. :o :'(

Noted! I didn't mention this cycle because, in my opinion, it has been outclassed by contemporary cycles. It's an antique, and as such of course extremely interesting.

Peter Watchorn makes a good point: it's a hallmark cycle. And throughout the review, he strikes a tone of nostalgia. I'm sensing his argument is not that the Har&Len cycle is in all respects the best one around, just that we shouldn't forget the importance it has in the history of Bach cantata recordings.

Well, its place in that history is on a big pedestal, no doubt. But its achievement has been bettered.

[Edit] I feel like adding that there is of course only so much one can say about 'outclassing'. A great deal has got to do with shifting tastes, and different points of attention. As for me, especially the sometimes cautiously slow tempi and the less fluent musical flow are what make the H&L recordings less easy to enjoy than, say, those by Suzuki or Gardiner. Listen for example to the opening of BWV 62, as recorded by H&L. To my ears, that sounds a bit too studied, too contrived.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on November 08, 2009, 01:27:57 PM
Noted! I didn't mention this cycle because, in my opinion, it has been outclassed by contemporary cycles. It's an antique, and as such of course extremely interesting.

Peter Watchorn makes a good point: it's a hallmark cycle. And throughout the review, he strikes a tone of nostalgia. I'm sensing his argument is not that the Har&Len cycle is in all respects the best one around, just that we shouldn't forget the importance it has in the history of Bach cantata recordings.

Well, its place in that history is on a big pedestal, no doubt. But its achievement has been bettered.

[Edit] I feel like adding that there is of course only so much one can say about 'outclassing'. A great deal has got to do with shifting tastes, and different points of attention. As for me, especially the sometimes cautiously slow tempi and the less fluent musical flow are what make the H&L recordings less easy to enjoy than, say, those by Suzuki or Gardiner. Listen for example to the opening of BWV 62, as recorded by H&L. To my ears, that sounds a bit too studied, too contrived.

Well, I have to disagree.  :) I do not think the Harnoncourt & Leonhardt set has been bettered upon, and I have heard performances by practically all "newcomers". Amongst those I prefer the Belgians: Kuijken (Accent), Herreweghe (HM) and Pierlot (Mirare).

Some things are just splendid - and remain that way.... 8)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on November 08, 2009, 03:40:07 PM
Amongst those I prefer the Belgians: Kuijken (Accent), Herreweghe (HM) and Pierlot (Mirare).

Nice to see the Ricercar Consort & Pierlot mentioned here. Apparently they have not had a big sucess among the GMGers.

Some monts ago I wrote a fervent tribute to their superb last disc of cantatas - which includes three beautiful early cantatas: BWV 131, 182, 4 -, but unfortunately nobody was interested in it.  :-\ 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 08, 2009, 04:30:33 PM
Well, I have to disagree.  :) I do not think the Harnoncourt & Leonhardt set has been bettered upon, and I have heard performances by practically all "newcomers". Amongst those I prefer the Belgians: Kuijken (Accent), Herreweghe (HM) and Pierlot (Mirare).

Some things are just splendid - and remain that way.... 8)

Q

Q, I wholeheartedly agree with your statement.
We need to get away from the mentality that newer is always better.  We had this debate in the Handel's thread where some members who feel Marc Minkowski is better than John Eliot Gardiner or Christopher Hogwood simply because he is a newer face.  I subsequently bought a few recordings by Minkowski and I have noticed no evidence he is perceptibly better than Gardiner or Hogwood.  We are talking about performance arts here, we are not talking about cars.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on November 08, 2009, 05:42:51 PM
Noted! I didn't mention this cycle because, in my opinion, it has been outclassed by contemporary cycles. It's an antique, and as such of course extremely interesting.

Peter Watchorn makes a good point: it's a hallmark cycle. And throughout the review, he strikes a tone of nostalgia. I'm sensing his argument is not that the Har&Len cycle is in all respects the best one around, just that we shouldn't forget the importance it has in the history of Bach cantata recordings.

Well, its place in that history is on a big pedestal, no doubt. But its achievement has been bettered.

Bettered in many a sense. The playing, alone, has come a long, long way. That's not to say these recordings haven't still a lot to offer (and Frellie certainly doesn't say that), but there are qualitative improvements  from newer versions to these that are very hard to miss.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on November 08, 2009, 11:47:32 PM
Bettered in many a sense. The playing, alone, has come a long, long way. That's not to say these recordings haven't still a lot to offer (and Frellie certainly doesn't say that), but there are qualitative improvements  from newer versions to these that are very hard to miss.

Well Jens, I hear you.  :)

But I had these recordings first and foremost as interpretations in mind. And in that sense - stylistically and as an approach to Bach's cantatas - I do not think they have been bettered upon, though there are some very (sometimes equally) good other recordings around. To my mind Harnoncourt & Leonhardt's recordings channel directly into the heart and soul of these works, they never fail to engage me.

Naturally in terms of technique - in playing and recording - things have moved on since these recordings were made.

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on November 09, 2009, 12:09:18 AM
Nice to see the Ricercar Consort & Pierlot mentioned here. Apparently they have not had a big sucess among the GMGers.

Some monts ago I wrote a fervent tribute to their superb last disc of cantatas - which includes three beautiful early cantatas: BWV 131, 182, 4 -, but unfortunately nobody was interested in it.  :-\ 

Oh, you never know! :)

I did invest in two issues a while ago. I think they are excellent and very interesting/ different, considering the competition. Very finely grained, maybe a bit on the precious side, but wonderfully detailed and balanced, sufficiently articulated. The result is a exquisitely rich but transparent sound picture. On occassion slightly mixed feelings on some of the singers, mainly on account of their German and the projection of the content of the texts. I may attempt more elaborate comments, if time permits.

(http://multimedia.fnac.com/multimedia/images_produits/ZoomPE/2/2/0/3760127220022.jpg)  (http://multimedia.fnac.com/multimedia/images_produits/ZoomPE/5/0/3/3760127220305.jpg)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on November 09, 2009, 12:33:26 AM
The Leonhardt/Harnoncourt cycle is a monument in Bach recordings and should be owned by anyone with an interest in Bach performance. But what should be mentioned is that the cycle is quite variable in quality (in my opinion); and yes; playing technique on old instruments has come a long way the last 30 years. But again, it's a monumwent, and at its best (eg cantata 21) easily holds its own against anything newer.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Frellie on November 09, 2009, 05:29:26 AM
But I had these recordings first and foremost as interpretations in mind. And in that sense - stylistically and as an approach to Bach's cantatas - I do not think they have been bettered upon, though there are some very (sometimes equally) good other recordings around.

[...]

Naturally in terms of technique - in playing and recording - things have moved on since these recordings were made.

I agree! Although I do find some choices in the interpretations debatable, especially in the tempi department.

With outclassing, I meant in particular the overall quality of the playing, the recording, the instruments, and - yes! - the tempi. However, I'm also susceptible to the argument that one can actually overpolish the cantatas.

I'm interested in the Pierlot recordings. Will order one soon. It's always refreshing to hear a stilistically different version of old chestnuts like the BWV 106. In my collection, the very precious BWV 106 by Konrad Junghänel serves that goal. Especially because he uses a one-voice-per-part choir, which is historically incorrect, but feels very intimate and reveals more of the musical texture.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/619imeATPJL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 09, 2009, 10:25:18 AM
Thanks to those who commented on the Brilliant issue. A surprise about Ruth Holton, I had hoped she would be one of the virtues of the set. I will report back eventually.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on November 09, 2009, 11:42:53 AM
The Leonhardt/Harnoncourt cycle is a monument in Bach recordings and should be owned by anyone with an interest in Bach performance. But what should be mentioned is that the cycle is quite variable in quality (in my opinion); and yes; playing technique on old instruments has come a long way the last 30 years. But again, it's a monumwent, and at its best (eg cantata 21) easily holds its own against anything newer.

  I feel the same way as you do erato about the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt set.  There is a raw earnestness about that set that has me coming back for more.  It is I believe as close to the intentions of Bach as we are ever going to get, having an all boys chorus. 

  marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 09, 2009, 02:46:32 PM
Not clear what happens there with the soloists; but in the Harnouncourt/Leonhardt versions of the Passions from 35 years ago, the soprano solos were sung by boys. I think this is a fairly hopeless gesture towards authenticity. How can a lad convey the aspects of faith that Bach stitches into those arias? Skating across them using a semi-capable technique undermines them. Most adults can't get to the heart of these complex meditations. In context I think boys are hopeless in these pieces. Perhaps adults are used in teh cantatas, I have not looked into it.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 09, 2009, 03:08:44 PM
Not clear what happens there with the soloists; but in the Harnouncourt/Leonhardt versions of the Passions from 35 years ago, the soprano solos were sung by boys. I think this is a fairly hopeless gesture towards authenticity. How can a lad convey the aspects of faith that Bach stitches into those arias? Skating across them using a semi-capable technique undermines them. Most adults can't get to the heart of these complex meditations. In context I think boys are hopeless in these pieces. Perhaps adults are used in teh cantatas, I have not looked into it.

Mike

I am convinced had the Christian church tradition at Bach's time allowed women to perform publicly, he would have used women vocalists instead of boys.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 09, 2009, 03:37:47 PM
Well, whether or not that is the case, I prefer the extra layers that an adult soprano can bring to this music; also the very best technique is needed. Bach leaves no where to hide if you have faults in your technique. I thought the boys palid, breathy in some cases and conveying little meaning with the words. Gentling your way nicely round the arias does not cut the mustard for me.

But I understand people settling for the full on all-male versions; it depends on what you are looking for.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 09, 2009, 04:49:15 PM
Never underestimate the empathy of a child. :)

For instance: check out and compare the contributions of Ruth Holton (Leusink) and the boy soprano Ansgar Pfeiffer (Leonhardt) in the aria "Doch bin und bleibe ich vergnügt" of Cantata BWV 150 Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich. Who's getting nicely one's way around?

And there are other very good boy sopranos in the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt integral, like Sebastian Hennig, Peter Jelosits and Helmut Wittek.
If you really think that these children can't be as 'meaningful' as adult women, my gentle advice would be: just listen once (twice, thrice, ....) more. :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 09, 2009, 10:48:43 PM
Marc, I wondered who would come back on me about this; I can't really argue, as I don't have the specified discs. I did however get rid of the Passions in the all male versions specifically because I felt the boys failed to live up to the music.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on November 10, 2009, 12:13:04 AM
Marc, I wondered who would come back on me about this; I can't really argue, as I don't have the specified discs. I did however get rid of the Passions in the all male versions specifically because I felt the boys failed to live up to the music.

Mike
The boys are variable of course, but at their best have a "wide eyed innocence" that suits the music at times to a degree that no grown up can ever hope to achieve. At their worst they are merely charming.  ;) I have actually occasionally more problems with some of the male soloists, countertenors have come a long way since the 70-ies.

My favorite Schutz disc as well is an old Archive disc of Kleine Geistliche Konzerte with soloists from the Tølzen Knabenchor that is heartbreaking to a degree that absolutely NO Schutz discs I've ever heard are even close to achieving (and I have tons of discs, he is my favorite German baroque composer beside Bach and Handel).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 10, 2009, 12:41:33 AM
Yes, I agree with all of that first paragraph. Innocence can indeed hit the spot occasionally. And I confirm that I found some of those early countertenors a trial; especially going directly from the likes of Fassbaender or Baker.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on November 10, 2009, 12:46:54 AM
Yes, I agree with all of that first paragraph. Innocence can indeed hit the spot occasionally. And I confirm that I found some of those early countertenors a trial; especially going directly from the likes of Fassbaender or Baker.

Mike
If we consider the cantatas simply as sung music, with no regard for style or content of the text, we should all simply run and buy all the Richter discs we can lay our hands on. I have about half of his recordings, and they are magnificent on that level. But I seldom play them....
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 10, 2009, 12:51:14 AM
Not quite sure what you are saying there. For myself, I find that quite a range of approaches work. In part it depends on the mood that I am in. I am certainly looking for a lot more than all the notes in the right places. But I don't think any generation has held the totality of how these pieces can be squeezed to yield their best. Some of the older recordings get to the heart of it, despite overblown orchestral sounds and slow tempi.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcEqZWRypGw

Beside this I find Gorne rather bland.

Mike

Edit: Sorry, can't carry on for a few days, I will be away from home and the Net.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: KevinP on November 10, 2009, 01:33:15 AM
If we consider the cantatas simply as sung music, with no regard for style or content of the text, we should all simply run and buy all the Richter discs we can lay our hands on. I have about half of his recordings, and they are magnificent on that level. But I seldom play them....

Richter can be a little inconsistent. His earlier recordings are wonderful but the later ones, somewhat lacking. However, at this best, they are *the* best cantatas in my collection. I have his complete 'incomplete cycle.'
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 10, 2009, 05:52:09 AM
Marc, I wondered who would come back on me about this; I can't really argue, as I don't have the specified discs. I did however get rid of the Passions in the all male versions specifically because I felt the boys failed to live up to the music.

Mike

Mike,  I am with you there.  I definitely prefer some female soloists over an all-male cast.  Had there not been Emma Kirkby, Judith Nelson and Carolyn Watkinson, I would not have enjoyed Christopher Hogwood's Handel Messiah since Hogwood used an all-male choir.  The DVD, which was recorded in the Westminster Abbey a few years after the original recording was made, clearly illustrates my point. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 10, 2009, 01:07:21 PM
Marc, I wondered who would come back on me about this; I can't really argue, as I don't have the specified discs. I did however get rid of the Passions in the all male versions specifically because I felt the boys failed to live up to the music.

Hi Mike,

No problem of course. Different people have different opinions and taste.
Your opinion sounds familiar to me, because some time ago I thought I felt the same way. But more and thorough listening to various recordings of Bach's vocal works convinced me that some adult singers are either badly coached or maybe feel that they don't need no coaching anymore.
My opinion is, that Leonhardt and Harnoncourt (in co-operation with the chorus masters) did a magnificent job with 'their' boys in the Teldec church cantata cycle. They took their time of course (around 15 years), and f.i. Leusink didn't have that time. Still, without coaching I really think that a singer like Ruth Holton is rather shallow in this oeuvre, despite her attractive and crispy boyish voice. Mind you, Gardiner did a much better job and in his recordings she's really moving me with her BWV 140 & 147 contributions.

About getting rid of some passions: one thing I'm sure of, the all-male Leonhardt set of the Matthäus-Passion will NEVER leave da house! All plus and minors considered, I think this is the best SMP I've yet listened to. It's a sermon, and it gets me (a non-believer, btw) immensely involved in the music and the story.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on November 10, 2009, 02:03:23 PM
About getting rid of some passions: one thing I'm sure of, the all-male Leonhardt set of the Matthäus-Passion will NEVER leave da house! All plus and minors considered, I think this is the best SMP I've yet listened to. It's a sermon, and it gets me (a non-believer, btw) immensely involved in the music and the story.

Are you talking about the first Harnoncourt version (Telefunken)? Well Leonhardt played continuo in that recording.  But Leonhardts own wersion (DHM) uses female singers.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 10, 2009, 02:09:31 PM
Leonhardts own wersion (DHM) uses female singers.

Perhaps because you have a wersion, and I have a version? ;D
Sorry to say, but my Leonhardt/DHM recording has got:
- the male singers of La Petite Bande
- the Tölzer Knabenchor
- Prégardien, Van Egmond, boy soprano soloists, Jacobs, Cordier, Schäfer (MARKUS), Elwes, Mertens and Lika.
Maybe some of them went to surgeon later, but at the time (around 1990) they were all male, AFAIK. ;)

Well, of course I remain silent about the ladies in the orchestras ....
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 10, 2009, 02:15:03 PM
While this recording is clearly non-HIP, it has some of the most beautiful duets ever sung in Cantata No. 140 - Mein Freund ist mein - with the great Elly Ameling ...



Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 10, 2009, 02:18:05 PM
Perhaps because you have a wersion, and I have a version? ;D
Sorry to say, but my Leonhardt/DHM recording has got:
- the male singers of La Petite Bande
- the Tölzer Knabenchor
- Prégardien, Van Egmond, boy soprano soloists, Jacobs, Cordier, Schäfer (MARKUS), Elwes, Mertens and Lika.
Maybe some of them went to surgeon later, but at the time (around 1990) they were all male, AFAIK. ;)

Well, of course I remain silent about the ladies in the orchestras ....

But La Petite Bande with Sigiswald Kuijken also used female soloists in some of their more recent recordings ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on November 10, 2009, 02:32:27 PM
Perhaps because you have a wersion, and I have a version? ;D
Sorry to say, but my Leonhardt/DHM recording has got:
- the male singers of La Petite Bande
- the Tölzer Knabenchor
- Prégardien, Van Egmond, boy soprano soloists, Jacobs, Cordier, Schäfer (MARKUS), Elwes, Mertens and Lika.
Maybe some of them went to surgeon later, but at the time (around 1990) they were all male, AFAIK. ;)

Well, of course I remain silent about the ladies in the orchestras ....

You are right, it is Leonhardt´s  b-minor mass which uses female singers for the arias (Isabelle Poulenard and Guilmette Laurens). Excuse my slip of memory.

Morale (for me only) : Consult your shelves before posting here.

Thought provoking though, that he uses boy soprano for the SMP and female soprano for the Mass.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 10, 2009, 03:06:00 PM
But La Petite Bande with Sigiswald Kuijken also used female soloists in some of their more recent recordings ...

No kidding. Kuijken has used female singers already from the very start. But Gustav Leonhardt only used the male singers of Kuijken's choir for his SMP recording. That was the issue between Premont and yours truly,

Marc.

Post scriptum: I somehow knew that Premont was referring to the Leonhardt recording of Bach's Grand Mass. But I felt this naughty desire to punish him basso profundo!
;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 10, 2009, 04:09:28 PM
About using boys in soprano/alto parts: of course one should realize that in Bach's days, in general, a boy's voice didn't break before the age of 17 or 18 (which is 12 or 13 nowadays).

There is some difference between a 17-year old adolescent who's thorougly taught in Lutheran belief and in music (a.o.) and a 20th or 21st century 12-year old boy who lives in an age of decreasing church visiting and little Bible knowledge (again: generally speaking).

That makes it much more difficult nowadays to use a child for the soprano and alto parts.
One can perform Historically Informed, but a lot of talk about true authenticism is, if I may say so, plain rubbish.

The times they-are-a changin'.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on November 10, 2009, 04:25:23 PM
One can perform Historically Informed, but a lot of talk about true authenticism is, if I may say so, plain rubbish.

Leonhardt says something similar in an interesting INTERVIEW (http://www.earlymusicworld.com/id2.html):

"You’ve now mentioned the topic twice, so I must take up the challenge and ask for your views on the most controversial current aspect of Bach performance, the question of one-to-a-part Bach choirs.

"Luckily, the question can be answered in one word. There are hundreds of things we do not know about Bach’s performances or wishes, but this we do happen to know. The idea that in Leipzig, which is the main place at issue, Bach wanted a choir of single voices to a part is rubbish. It is complete rubbish! We have in Bach’s own handwriting his requirements of a minimum of three singers for each voice".

 ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 10, 2009, 04:26:32 PM
About using boys in soprano/alto parts: of course one should realize that in Bach's days, in general, a boy's voice didn't break before the age of 17 or 18 (which is 12 or 13 nowadays).

There is some difference between a 17-year old adolescent who's thorougly taught in Lutheran belief and in music (a.o.) and a 20th or 21st century 12-year old boy who lives in an age of decreasing church visiting and little Bible knowledge (again: generally speaking).

That makes it much more difficult nowadays to use a child for the soprano and alto parts.
One can perform Historically Informed, but a lot of talk about true authenticism is, if I may say so, plain rubbish.

The times they-are-a changin'.

I think most of the discussions so far have ignored the fact that women were just not allowed to perform religious works in public (especially in a church) in Bach's time.  Bach simply could not use women in his cantatas or passions, period.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 11, 2009, 01:47:46 AM
Of course I am familiar with that fact.
But then we would be discussing a so-called historical truth, and I must admit that such a discussion wasn't my intention, although I did mention the historical truth about the breaking-of-voices myself.

I didn't live in Leipzig around 1725, so what could I say about this historical truth? I only read about some (plausible) facts, hypotheses and possibilities, and the scholars, connaisseurs and informed performers all seem to differ in their opinions and conclusions (see also posting Antoine Marchand).

What I wanted to discuss (only), at first, was the idea that boys wouldn't be up to the task to sing Bach. That's what has been suggested in this thread, and that's what I don't agree with (exceptions not included of course). I mentioned the historical truth about the breaking-of-voices because I think it's true that the boys in Bach's time were more up to the task of meaningful interpretations. They were older and more filled with the apt educational, cultural and religious environment.

And, but that's another thing, I also wanted to add some thoughts about my idea that singers nowadays (adults and non-adults) who didn't grew up in a (more or less) 'German' environment nor in a Lutheran/protestant/Christian culture, seem to have difficulties with the meaning of Bach's cantata texts. Of course this isn't their fault and they're certainly not to blame (and the 'apt environment' of the 18th century is all part of the past), but it means, IMHO, that a thorough and proper coaching is needed, and in (some?) cases I think this is rather superficially done.
I love Ruth Holton's voice, and the boy soprano (Connor Burrowes) who sang in the reconstructed Markus-Passion (Goodman/re-issued on Brilliant) did have a gorgeous singing voice, but somehow I get the idea that they do not have a clue what they're actually singing about. And I don't have that idea when I listen to the majority of boys in the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt cycle. In such cases I'm willing to accept the fact that 'adult beauty' can not be reached. Their contributions do have another certain intense charm and effect though.

But hey, that's only my opinion/taste.
Anyone who prefers the Leusink/Holton soprano performances: please, be my guest and enjoy them! :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 13, 2009, 07:34:31 AM
I love Ruth Holton's voice, and the boy soprano (Connor Burrowes) who sang in the reconstructed Markus-Passion (Goodman/re-issued on Brilliant) did have a gorgeous singing voice, but somehow I get the idea that they do not have a clue what they're actually singing about. And I don't have that idea when I listen to the majority of boys in the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt cycle. In such cases I'm willing to accept the fact that 'adult beauty' can not be reached. Their contributions do have another certain intense charm and effect though.

But hey, that's only my opinion/taste.
Anyone who prefers the Leusink/Holton soprano performances: please, be my guest and enjoy them! :)

Ruth Holton voice, its purity was what grabbed my attention when I first heard this recording she made with Gardiner.  If she did not come across as equally convincing in the BC set, I would put the blame on the conductor.  How can the same and not inexperienced soloist put in excellent performance in one recording and put in lackluster performance in another?

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bulldog on November 13, 2009, 07:47:53 AM
Ruth Holton voice, its purity was what grabbed my attention when I first heard this recording she made with Gardiner.  If she did not come across as equally convincing in the BC set, I would put the blame on the conductor.  How can the same and not inexperienced soloist put in excellent performance in one recording and put in lackluster performance in another?

That can easily happen, just as a baseball slugger can hit three homeruns on one day and strike out three times the next day.  Humans aren't machines.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 13, 2009, 07:55:22 AM
That can easily happen, just as a baseball slugger can hit three homeruns on one day and strike out three times the next day.  Humans aren't machines.

But recordings have rehearsals and they are rarely a one-shot event as in sports.  Then there could be partial re-record.  Now I am not familiar with how BC operates, perhaps it is such low-budget operation that there is only one-shot (recording session) for each recording.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 13, 2009, 06:15:27 PM
It's been mentioned before in this thread: Leusink c.s. had to record 200 church cantatas in about a year (starting in the autumn of 1999), to make sure that the entire Brilliant Bach integral was finished before the end of the Bach year 2000.
This was an impossible task, IMO. But anyway, conductor and singers and musicians agreed. Which makes it a shared responsibility, I think.
And I must admit: considering the lack of time they did an admirable job. But personally, would I be a musician, I would never say 'yes' to such an undertaking. But hey: it's the market! And this integral made Leusink almost world famous ;) before he could wink his eye.
 
On the other hand: I've met music & Bach lovers who consider the Leusink set as the best they've ever heard. I don't understand them, but I respect their opinion.
And at a Dutch internet forum (around 2000) I also read about people who praised this integral especially because of the 'not so good' quality, for Bach himself wasn't satisfied with the quality of performances in Leipzig, either. So, they argued, the Leusink set was the most 'authentic'!
To such arguments I can only say:
???
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 13, 2009, 08:23:47 PM
It's been mentioned before in this thread: Leusink c.s. had to record 200 church cantatas in about a year (starting in the autumn of 1999), to make sure that the entire Brilliant Bach integral was finished before the end of the Bach year 2000.
This was an impossible task, IMO. But anyway, conductor and singers and musicians agreed. Which makes it a shared responsibility, I think.
And I must admit: considering the lack of time they did an admirable job. But personally, would I be a musician, I would never say 'yes' to such an undertaking. But hey: it's the market! And this integral made Leusink almost world famous ;) before he could wink his eye.
 
On the other hand: I've met music & Bach lovers who consider the Leusink set as the best they've ever heard. I don't understand them, but I respect their opinion.
And at a Dutch internet forum (around 2000) I also read about people who praised this integral especially because of the 'not so good' quality, for Bach himself wasn't satisfied with the quality of performances in Leipzig, either. So, they argued, the Leusink set was the most 'authentic'!
To such arguments I can only say:
???

Why looking for perfection in an imperfect world?  I thought Ruth Holton's singing in this box set was lovely.  I had more problems with other female sololists ....
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on November 13, 2009, 10:59:39 PM
Why looking for perfection in an imperfect world? 

We only try to reduce the amount of imperfection, albeit we cannot reduce it to nothingness.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 14, 2009, 03:08:10 AM
Why looking for perfection in an imperfect world?  I thought Ruth Holton's singing in this box set was lovely.  I had more problems with other female sololists ....

Hey Coop: no prob! :)
In fact: I sort of agree with you, but with different conclusions in the end, I guess. Holton's singing didn't satisfy me. But maybe she sings with more 'perfection' than others. But that's just my personal taste: I want my Bach with more meaning, and that's why I'm (generally speaking) not that happy with most British performances of his music: technical perfection (both in vocal & instrumental ways), but, IMHO, rather shallow compared to others.
F.i.: the McCreesh SMP is 'perfect', but it doesn't move me at all. Harnoncourt (plm. 1970, his first recording) is far from perfect, but it speaks to me in a way that I apparantly find very satisfying. So, I think I'm not really looking for perfection. Or: I'm looking for another kind of perfection: the meaning behind the notes and the words. A kind of perfection that suits me the best. I know it's a boring thing to say: but everyone has his/her own preferences. So please (as I said before): enjoy your Leusink discs. I just reacted to Kinght Mike's question about (personal) experiences with the Leusink performances. And yours and mine are definitely different. Again: no prob. In the end, Mike has to find out for himself. As we all do.
Greetz,
Marc.

P.S.: funny thing about SMP preferences: I like Herreweghe 2, but I dislike Bostridge in this recording. Not because he's shallow, but I find him overly emotional and trying to be 'to deep to convince' .... ??? So you see: my opinion about British Bach-performing will never be a black-to-white one, despite my remarks above. Bostridge is a very good tenor, and I like him in f.i. Schubert and Britten. But when Bach recitatives are concerned, he should take a listen to Kurt Equiluz .... and also to his fellow British countryman (yes!) John Mark Ainsley.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 14, 2009, 04:58:04 AM
Hey Coop: no prob! :)
In fact: I sort of agree with you, but with different conclusions in the end, I guess. Holton's singing didn't satisfy me. But maybe she sings with more 'perfection' than others. But that's just my personal taste: I want my Bach with more meaning, and that's why I'm (generally speaking) not that happy with most British performances of his music: technical perfection (both in vocal & instrumental ways), but, IMHO, rather shallow compared to others.
F.i.: the McCreesh SMP is 'perfect', but it doesn't move me at all. Harnoncourt (plm. 1970, his first recording) is far from perfect, but it speaks to me in a way that I apparantly find very satisfying. So, I think I'm not really looking for perfection. Or: I'm looking for another kind of perfection: the meaning behind the notes and the words. A kind of perfection that suits me the best. I know it's a boring thing to say: but everyone has his/her own preferences. So please (as I said before): enjoy your Leusink discs. I just reacted to Kinght Mike's question about (personal) experiences with the Leusink performances. And yours and mine are definitely different. Again: no prob. In the end, Mike has to find out for himself. As we all do.
Greetz,
Marc.

P.S.: funny thing about SMP preferences: I like Herreweghe 2, but I dislike Bostridge in this recording. Not because he's shallow, but I find him overly emotional and trying to be 'to deep to convince' .... ??? So you see: my opinion about British Bach-performing will never be a black-to-white one, despite my remarks above. Bostridge is a very good tenor, and I like him in f.i. Schubert and Britten. But when Bach recitatives are concerned, he should take a listen to Kurt Equiluz .... and also to his fellow British countryman (yes!) John Mark Ainsley.

Marc, I hear you.  While I understand your misgivings about Bach Cantatas performed by English Soloists, I also have problems with continental soloists performing English Handel oratorios.  Call it the language and perhaps the cultural barrier that are somewhat insurmountable if I may (Handel was thoroughly Anglicized IMO).  In fact, this seems to extend to Handel's instrumental music as well, as one performance of Water Muisc by Karajan with the BPO was the worst I had ever heard.  I have that recording on Angel LP, the American label for EMI and the tempi are all wrong.  Little wonder why HvK and BPO rarely performed works of Handel.  This same apprehension is extended to an Italian group performing Handel.  While I have no problems spending money on my collection, I just do not want to collect the wrong/bad recordings.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419ikzcPyGL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 14, 2009, 07:45:26 AM
Thanks for your very thoughtful remarks Marc. I have just got hold of the Brilliant box and 'Wachet Auf' is unfurling as I write.

I think I was probably being a bit provocative about the boy's voices issue. In choir I am happy; as long as they avoid the English Hoot. I am sure some lads do splendidly on occasion and that I would be more than happy with some of the specified performances you point to.

In solo cantatas I often prefer the voices of the earlier generation of soloists, but I much prefer the HIP orchestral sounds and the modern choirs are often breathtakingly good. But then some modern recordings need to allow the music to breathe more and rush less. The most up to date ones do now seem to be giving more elbow room and the phrasing is less stiff or drilled.

I will report back on the Brilliant box, though direct comparisons will be sparse as I chose VIII because most of the cantatas are new to my collection.

The illustration about lack of perfection being more authentic in the minds of some; is hilarious. It shows how the search for authentic can lead down a dead end and sight is lost of the music itself. The thing is almost reduced to a competition where the 'Authentic' aspects wipe out issues of musicality and of releasing the meaning. It may sound 'right', but be dead in the water.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 14, 2009, 07:53:59 AM
Tenor Niko van der Meel......EEEK!

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on November 14, 2009, 08:31:10 AM
Listen what the cat dragged in:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516nFeFpVPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
3 Cantatas - New Recordings juxtaposed
with the "Alte Werk" recordings.
Harnoncourt, Concentus Musicus et al.
 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002K9C0RK?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguide-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002K9C0RK)

Haven't heard it yet--still busy with f&*($# Mahler--but with three of my four favorite singers (C.Schaefer, W.Guera, C.Gerhaher), what could possibly go awry?

Didn't get the concept at first... three cantatas on two discs?? What cantatas are those? But these are really three cantatas, newly recorded, on one disc.... and then his old recording (licensed from Warner) on the second disc, for comparison. Awesome.  For the price of one, at that.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on November 14, 2009, 08:36:38 AM

3 Cantatas - New Recordings juxtaposed
with the "Alte Werk" recordings.
Harnoncourt, Concentus Musicus et al.
 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002K9C0RK?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguide-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002K9C0RK)

Will be looking forward to reviews of that one!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 14, 2009, 08:52:25 AM

In solo cantatas I often prefer the voices of the earlier generation of soloists, but I much prefer the HIP orchestral sounds and the modern choirs are often breathtakingly good. But then some modern recordings need to allow the music to breathe more and rush less. The most up to date ones do now seem to be giving more elbow room and the phrasing is less stiff or drilled.


Mike,  Couldn't agree with you more on this point.  I prefer the likes of Elly Ameling, Janet Baker, Julia Hamari and the semi-retiring Emma Kirkby over the current generation of soloists, though I undoubtedly prefer the orchestra to perform on period instruments.  Unfortunately, there is no time machine here ...    :(
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 14, 2009, 11:09:50 AM
Tenor Niko van der Meel......EEEK!

Funny you mention him, because I almost added his name to the list of good recitativo singers (along with Equiluz and Ainsley). I didn't do it because Van der Meel tends to interprete along too straight lines, IMO.
But: I've heard the man several times in live concerts and, even not always 'beautiful', 'perfect' or whatever, as a storyteller in Bach's passions he was really able to completely 'drag' me into the event.

But yes, in many Leusink recordings he's definitely not at his best. (But I prefer him about 1000 times more than Schoch.)

There's also another thing between a listener and the human (singing) voice: one person can detest the voice of a singer, whilst another is able to completely adore it. If you really dislike the sound of a voice, it's very difficult to hear the good aspects of his/her interpretation. Van der Meel has got a rather thin voice, and I think that (a.o. because you seem to like the old-fashioned singers more) he is just not your cup of tea.
In fact: lots of negative things that I mentioned about Bach singing could be rather positive to you! I've entirely embraced (good ;))singing HIP-soloists. Which means f.i. that Lucia Popp singing BWV 51 isn't really satisfying to me anymore, even though she's my favourite lyric soprano. 'Oldie' Elly Ameling though, IMO, is a great Bach soprano ....

Enjoy yourself with Leusink, with the goods as well as the bads! :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 14, 2009, 11:17:41 AM
Listen what the cat dragged in:

[Harnoncourt: Bach cantatas]

Haven't heard it yet--still busy with f&*($# Mahler--but with three of my four favorite singers (C.Schaefer, W.Guera, C.Gerhaher), what could possibly go awry?

Didn't get the concept at first... three cantatas on two discs?? What cantatas are those? But these are really three cantatas, newly recorded, on one disc.... and then his old recording (licensed from Warner) on the second disc, for comparison. Awesome. For the price of one, at that.

That's nice!
(Although I already have the oldies. :'()

Harnoncourt should open an internet forum now, where listeners can discuss! :)
Or should we offer him this board?

It reminds me in a way of this: Mengelberg played Mahler 4 in Amsterdam twice in concerts, before and after the intermission. So that people could compare and also could get used to a new work with some new sounds or unusual musical thoughts, et cetera. Mahler himself thought that was a brilliant idea!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Franco on November 14, 2009, 05:16:52 PM
Quote
Leusink c.s. had to record 200 church cantatas in about a year

This is not a monumental task.  The cantatas, while great music are not long works, and share many performance characteristics that once certain interpretative decisions are made, a lot of rehearsal is not necessary.  And, for any professional choir, this music is not new or difficult.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on November 14, 2009, 10:05:14 PM
Gardiner did he same, all the while travelling around the world and performing them at the same time.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 16, 2009, 05:06:36 AM
This is not a monumental task.  The cantatas, while great music are not long works, and share many performance characteristics that once certain interpretative decisions are made, a lot of rehearsal is not necessary.  And, for any professional choir, this music is not new or difficult.

As much as I respect another opinion, my own in this case would be: every musician who shares yours will not be able to give a satisfying perfomance of a Bach cantata, nor any other great work. I really wouldn't know how to record 60 cd's of great music in one year and maintain a high level. A high level to my taste, that is of course. ;)
BTW: the choir of Leusink isn't professional.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 16, 2009, 05:09:50 AM
Gardiner did he same, all the while travelling around the world and performing them at the same time.

And already announcing his plans years before. So I bet he was rather well prepared, as was his choir. BTW: from what I've heard, I'm not that impressed by his SDG cycle, either. Although I know that loads of other Bach lovers definitely do not share ??? this opinion.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on November 16, 2009, 05:50:31 AM
For what it's worth, I'm with you, Marc.  ;)

Leusink's, whatever lack of perfection one can point to, was an astounding achievement--and it's a monumental task, no matter how you look at it.
But the most important thing about Leusink's project is the result: Bach Cantatas for half of the Netherlands, picked up alongside Preparation-H and
Cranberry juice.  ;D
Gardiner's efforts, although with a band that had much of the works in their repertoire, are every bit as big and perhaps more astounding, still.
And I don't think that Gardiner quite matches the expectations everyone had and has from his extraordinary cycle... and much of the praise
for Gardiner is, upon closer inspection, fairly devoid of specifics (incl. mine)... there's a sense of treading water when reading them... an assertion
of greatness when there is only excellence to be had.

Listened to the below Bach set once.
Strangely: I almost liked the first cantata better in the first (older) version, even though the playing of the Concentus Musicus has become more refined and even though the soloists and esp. the choirs are better. But there is something quite natural, quite enchanting to the old ways. Even the boy soprano in BWV 140 is no bother. One accepts the natural shortcomings of a boy's voice and tries to get from it the elements that another voice cannot possess. Kudos, little Alan B.. But in BWV 61, the stunner among the newly recorded three cantatas, the boy soprano makes matters just about unlistenable. Perpetual cringe. Little Seppi K. tries way too hard and comes up with a big bowl of FAIL.


Listen what the cat dragged in:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516nFeFpVPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
3 Cantatas - New Recordings juxtaposed
with the "Alte Werk" recordings.
Harnoncourt, Concentus Musicus et al.
 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002K9C0RK?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguide-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002K9C0RK)

Haven't heard it yet--still busy with f&*($# Mahler--but with three of my four favorite singers (C.Schaefer, W.Guera, C.Gerhaher), what could possibly go awry?

Didn't get the concept at first... three cantatas on two discs?? What cantatas are those? But these are really three cantatas, newly recorded, on one disc.... and then his old recording (licensed from Warner) on the second disc, for comparison. Awesome.  For the price of one, at that.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 16, 2009, 05:57:13 AM
But in BWV 61, the stunner among the newly recorded three cantatas, the boy soprano makes matter just about unlistenable. Perpetual cringe. Little Seppi K. tries way too hard and comes up with a big bowl of FAIL.

Well, Advent is quickly on its way, so I should take a listen to the grungy oldies (like BWV 61&62) of Harnoncourt again. ;)

I know, there are mismatches with the boys, but my positive remarks about the L/H-set was mainly meant in general. I'm afraid that, in the end, no complete set will be entirely satisfying for anyone. But that's no wonder: 200 works of quality, and thousands and thousands of listeners with different and differing tastes!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on November 16, 2009, 05:59:39 AM
Listened to the below Bach set once.
. ""One accepts the natural shortcomings of a boy's voice and tries to get from it the elements that another voice cannot possess.""
 

Well good for you if you can, I get almost sick, from these boys.
A artistic mistake in my opinion. I hate shortcomings, when it comes to voices.
Everything about these old recordings I like, apart from disaster called boy sopranos.

Note: Boys choirs are okay for me, but as soloists, nah, thank you!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 16, 2009, 06:28:28 AM
Well good for you if you can, I get almost sick, from these boys.
Hey Harry, too bad we ain't got those pukey emoticons on this board!
That would give a nasty mess, when we forced you to listen to a Leonhardt Bach cantata! ;D

I had a pretty good boy soprano voice myself, if I may say so, even as an adolescent (singing Jon Anderson and Jimmy Sommerville vocals in schooltime breaks for endeared - and endearing - pretty girls), and luckilly I never got sick of myself .... singing, that is. :P
I did get sick smoking though, and it ruined my voice. >:D

About other personal characteristics I remain SILENT. :-X
(I did quit smoking, though.)

(Unfortunately those girls never found out that I was a pretty good kisser, too. :'()
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on November 16, 2009, 07:27:58 AM
Hey Harry, too bad we ain't got those pukey emoticons on this board!
That would give a nasty mess, when we forced you to listen to a Leonhardt Bach cantata! ;D

I had a pretty good boy soprano voice myself, if I may say so, even as an adolescent (singing Jon Anderson and Jimmy Somerville vocals in school time breaks for endeared - and endearing - pretty girls), and luckily I never got sick of myself .... singing, that is. :P
I did get sick smoking though, and it ruined my voice. >:D

About other personal characteristics I remain SILENT. :-X
(I did quit smoking, though.)

(Unfortunately those girls never found out that I was a pretty good kisser, too. :'()

I really enjoyed reading this Marc, there was a wide grin on my face ;D.
I realize my bold statement about Boy soloists, is rather fierce, but then my reaction to hearing them was even worse.
Its the only part in these interpretations I object too, where they not there, I would buy the set for 160 euro's without a blink of the eye.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 16, 2009, 07:49:45 AM
Well, Advent is quickly on its way, so I should take a listen to the grungy oldies (like BWV 61&62) of Harnoncourt again. ;)


Yeah, it is time to take this DVD out for a spin ...   ;D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5152X4ABS6L._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 16, 2009, 08:34:11 AM
I really enjoyed reading this Marc, there was a wide grin on my face ;D.
I realize my bold statement about Boy soloists, is rather fierce, but then my reaction to hearing them was even worse.
Its the only part in these interpretations I object too, where they not there, I would buy the set for 160 euro's without a blink of the eye.


As I'm growing older (granddad speaking) I'm getting more cautious with bold statements, but I know there are many music lovers who get rash only from listening to boy sopranos, so I wasn't really shocked by yours ;).
I have a slight advantage (though not in a financial/economical way): despite the fact that I'm not always that fond of the heavenly bright and perfect yet sometimes shallow British choir singing in Bach, I still think it sounds GREAT. So I still like to listen to it, even though the music isn't always digging as deep as .... for instance when the boys of good old Gustav are singing.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 16, 2009, 09:01:07 AM
As I'm growing older (granddad speaking) I'm getting more cautious with bold statements, but I know there are many music lovers who get rash only from listening to boy sopranos, so I wasn't really shocked by yours ;).
I have a slight advantage (though not in a financial/economical way): despite the fact that I'm not always that fond of the heavenly bright and perfect yet sometimes shallow British choir singing in Bach, I still think it sounds GREAT. So I still like to listen to it, even though the music isn't always digging as deep as .... for instance when the boys of good old Gustav are singing.

The only English choir that sings Bach choral works I would go for is the Monteverdi Choir. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on November 16, 2009, 09:56:27 AM
The only English choir that sings Bach choral works I would go for is the Monteverdi Choir. 

May I say it that way, that English choirs are not what I look for when it is about Bach.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 16, 2009, 10:01:21 AM
May I say it that way, that English choirs are not what I look for when it is about Bach.

That is why I would not go for the St Matthew Passion by Stephen Cleobury.  Any of my future acquisitions of this work have to be either by German or Dutch (and certainly not by American, whose performances are often subpar).  In fact, I don't even find Cleobury's Handel's Dixit Dominus all that convincing ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on November 16, 2009, 10:08:38 AM
That is why I would not go for the St Matthew Passion by Stephen Cleobury.  Any of my future acquisitions of this work have to be either by German or Dutch (and certainly not by American, whose performances are often subpar).  In fact, I don't even find Cleobury's Handel's Dixit Dominus all that convincing ...

Cleobury´s SMP is very cheap, and there are some good singers and instrumental contributions.  But certainly not my preferred version.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 16, 2009, 10:16:08 AM
Cleobury´s SMP is very cheap, and there are some good singers and instrumental contributions.  But certainly not my preferred version.

We are definitely in agreement.  Our observations may also explain why Marriner has never recorded St. Matthew Passion.  At least I have never seen one ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 16, 2009, 03:18:31 PM
Guys, we're getting a bit off-topic now.
It's about Bach CANTATAS, not about PASSIONS in this thread!

Pfui euch! ;D

Oh, may I say something about Cleobury's passions? :-[

In the SMP I get very moved during O Mensch, bewein' dein Sünde groß. When the boys start singing "Den'n Toten er das Leben gab .... und legt dabei all' Krankheit ab" it's very difficult to keep my eyes dry, I have to admit.
But in general, I think Cleobury's straightforward interpretation of the SJP is better. There are similarities with Gardiner's SJP, and of all Gardiner's vocal Bach attributions I still think his SJP is by far the best. Also, in both (Gardiner's and Cleobury's SJP) there is a good Evangelist, resp. Anthony Rolfe Johnson and John Mark Ainsley. The German pronouncation of the latter is slightly better, but the way Johnson sings "Barabbas aber war ein Mörder! ... Da nahm Pilatus Jesum und geißelte ihn!" is without competition, I dare say.

In Cleobury's SMP it seems that the boys are doing better with their German, but this doesn't go for Evangelist Rogers Covey-Crump. And I also think his interpretation is weak, too laid-back. Beautiful singing, but no he's no probing storyteller like Johnson or Ainsley.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on November 16, 2009, 06:30:15 PM
When the boys start singing "Den'n Toten er das Leben gab .... und legt dabei all' Krankheit ab" it's very difficult to keep my eyes dry, I have to admit.

Oh, that happens so frequently with Bach!

A mysterious and unexpected feeling of cosmic gratitude… I know, it sounds rather sentimental, but it is true. My last experience: this Saturday early in the morning - alone on the street - while I listened to the "Domine Deus" of the Missa Brevis BWV 234 in my Ipod (Ricercar Consort - Tombeau de Sa Majesté la Reine de Pologne). All sounded so incredibly beautiful and moving. As you say, it was hard to keep my eyes dry.

 :-[

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on November 16, 2009, 10:19:01 PM
Guys, we're getting a bit off-topic now.
It's about Bach CANTATAS, not about PASSIONS in this thread!

Pfui euch! ;D

Oh, may I say something about Cleobury's passions? :-[

In the SMP I get very moved during O Mensch, bewein' dein Sünde groß. When the boys start singing "Den'n Toten er das Leben gab .... und legt dabei all' Krankheit ab" it's very difficult to keep my eyes dry, I have to admit.
But in general, I think Cleobury's straightforward interpretation of the SJP is better. There are similarities with Gardiner's SJP, and of all Gardiner's vocal Bach attributions I still think his SJP is by far the best. Also, in both (Gardiner's and Cleobury's SJP) there is a good Evangelist, resp. Anthony Rolfe Johnson and John Mark Ainsley. The German pronouncation of the latter is slightly better, but the way Johnson sings "Barabbas aber war ein Mörder! ... Da nahm Pilatus Jesum und geißelte ihn!" is without competition, I dare say.

In Cleobury's SMP it seems that the boys are doing better with their German, but this doesn't go for Evangelist Rogers Covey-Crump. And I also think his interpretation is weak, too laid-back. Beautiful singing, but no he's no probing storyteller like Johnson or Ainsley.
Thank you for this. I've got Cleobury's SJP on Brilliant and always liked it a lot, but never bought the SMP.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on November 16, 2009, 11:54:41 PM
Thanks for a very absorbing set of posts. I have been listening to the Leusink Volume VIII. I have been enjoying the performances.

Over the last few pages I have been picking up on a number of perhaps sweeping statements that English choirs are not steeped in the meaning and traditions of Bach. How do folk feel the Japanese choir manages?

I am not clear whether these are amateur or professional choirs or both that are included in the statement. But in fact I agree in the main. I have belonged to a number of large choirs over the last 35 years, some well known, others local ones. I also belonged to a couple of very good chamber choirs. However, all the training was really backing performance of the later main stream choral repertoire and modern composers.

Even in the good choirs I got very frustrated with some singers who could not detect that different styles of music meant more than big or small numbers of singers. Bach would be sung using the same tone palate as for Verdi. We were not really coached in the German. We loved singing Bach and did a couple of performances of the St Matthew with Abbado. Apart from him perhaps being the wrong conductor for this, the choir had altogether the wrong sound. We were cut down in numbers, but the sound was still that which we were asked for in Mahler or Brahms. That was the sort of music these large choirs were formed to perform. Though singing with a huge range of dynamics and often great subtlety, there was no sense of digging into Bach's sound world.

In the chamber choir we sang a great range of music, the Handel was first rate, but that was music that was in the blood with us.

Turning to the haste with which the Brilliant cycle was recorded. Some of the performances I have feel superficial, not poorly played or sung through brief acquaintance with the music, but there are signs that the performers have not been marinaded in it. The notes with each disc are excellent in bringing out detail that fails to register in the performances.

As to the remarks that any decent musicians could virtually sight-read them as they are simple.....well, they may be simple on the page, but the genius of Bach stitched a lot of sublety and symbolic meaning into both the instrumentation and the vocal lines, which comment on one another. You don't capture that detail or meaning whilst sightreading through them.

Gardiner had clearly steeped himself in the world of Bach but again, his notes stipulate things that I feel are sometimes missed in performance. But he had quite a roster of singers and the same small number was not involved in all the performances. He had a very complex schedule to change singers round, including the choir. I know there are alternative solo singers in the Leusink set, but not such a wide number of soloists. Leusink'a soloists seem to have to carry more individual responsibility for what must have felt a bit like factory farming. The musicians need time with the music to contemplate it.

But with almost anyone's live recordings, it is probably not going to happen that all the detail comes out. So, what Gardiner does bring out shows enormous skill and understanding.

In the Brilliant set, I find the boy's voices in the choir just fine. Holton I like, she sounds almost like a boy, but she does not express much. In contrast, while Nico van der Meel is expressive, I find his sound unpleasant and unreliable. His intonation is suspect and his tone thin and acidic. The other tenor on the set is Knut Schock, he has a better nourished sound, but on occasion cannot make his voice get round the notes and sound at ease.

Even when the vocal technique is just below what Bach needs, if the voice has been put round the difficulties often enough, it can be made to fit like a glove. So, there I detect the feel of virtual sightsinging. The orchestra sounds good to my ears, especially the wind players, but, they lack piquancy and individuality in the phrasing. This is where more preparation pays dividends.

Mike

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on November 17, 2009, 12:09:56 AM
Mike, you sound like the ideal candidate for the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt set. :)

Because from what I've heard of it, the Leusink sounds like a redo of that old set - only then in modern sound, with less visionary conducting, smaller names as performers and hastily recorded - but very much in the same style and tradition.
 
The L&H has plenty of that Bach tradition and superb singers like Paul Esswood, Kurt Equiluz and Max van Egmond. 0:) Orchestral/instrumental accompaniment includes Bob van Asperen, Sigiswald Kuijken, Anner Bijlsma, Frans Brüggen - you name it! Choirs are excellent all around (cond. by Gillesberger, Herreweghe, Schmidt-Gaden). Though there are a few instances where the boy soloists are below standard, on the other hand also quite a few who do admirably and deliver really touching interpretations (Sebastian Hennig!).

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on November 17, 2009, 03:19:30 AM
Oh, that happens so frequently with Bach!

A mysterious and unexpected feeling of cosmic gratitude… I know, it sounds rather sentimental, but it is true. My last experience: this Saturday early in the morning - alone on the street - while I listened to the "Domine Deus" of the Missa Brevis BWV 234 in my Ipod (Ricercar Consort - Tombeau de Sa Majesté la Reine de Pologne). All sounded so incredibly beautiful and moving. As you say, it was hard to keep my eyes dry.

 :-[

I am afraid I never shed one tear over Bach, and I am certainly not a unfeeling fellow. ::)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sean on November 17, 2009, 09:16:07 AM
Thanks for a very absorbing set of posts. I have been listening to the Leusink Volume VIII. I have been enjoying the performances.

I'm also working my way through the Leusink- I like it, unpretentious, straightforwardly presented and produced & listenable, though that mezzo or whoever she has a slightly insistent tone.

I thought the secular cantatas show how close Bach could be to Handel...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 17, 2009, 06:37:26 PM
Mike, you sound like the ideal candidate for the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt set. :)

Because from what I've heard of it, the Leusink sounds like a redo of that old set - only then in modern sound, with less visionary conducting, smaller names as performers and hastily recorded - but very much in the same style and tradition.
 
The L&H has plenty of that Bach tradition and superb singers like Paul Esswood, Kurt Equiluz and Max van Egmond. 0:) Orchestral/instrumental accompaniment includes Bob van Asperen, Sigiswald Kuijken, Anner Bijlsma, Frans Brüggen - you name it! Choirs are excellent all around (cond. by Gillesberger, Herreweghe, Schmidt-Gaden). Though there are a few instances where the boy soloists are below standard, on the other hand also quite a few who do admirably and deliver really touching interpretations (Sebastian Hennig!).

Q

I hope to start listening to my Leonhardt/Harnoncourt set over the Christmas holidays ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 18, 2009, 05:13:48 AM
Thanks for a very absorbing set of posts. I have been listening to the Leusink Volume VIII. I have been enjoying the performances.
[following Mike's review]
Mike, thanks for this contribution. Of course we differ in opinion in some or many cases, but I entirely understand your explanations.
Greetz,
Marc
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 18, 2009, 05:15:36 AM
I thought the secular cantatas show how close Bach could be to Handel...

Yeah, nice to read this. I know what you mean. At least many of these cantatas show that, in a way, Bach also wrote (mini-) operas.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 18, 2009, 05:36:24 AM
I am afraid I never shed one tear over Bach, and I am certainly not a unfeeling fellow. ::)

Now please, Harry, thou should not be afraid!

We, the Bach CryBaby's, allow you to shed your floating tears over .... errr .... Léhar?

Vilja, o Vilja, du Waldmägdelein,
Fass' mich und lass' mich
Dein Trautliebster sein!
Vilja, O Vilja, was tust du mir an?
Bang fleht ein liebkranker Mann!


:'(  :'(  :'(
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on November 18, 2009, 05:42:29 AM
Now please, Harry, thou should not be afraid!

We, the Bach CryBaby's, allow you to shed your floating tears over .... errr .... Léhar?

Vilja, o Vilja, du Waldmägdelein,
Fass' mich und lass' mich
Dein Trautliebster sein!
Vilja, O Vilja, was tust du mir an?
Bang fleht ein liebkranker Mann!


:'(  :'(  :'(

Indeed, that is a passion I understand. My heart must be lightweight. :o
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 18, 2009, 05:48:25 AM
Don't underestimate yourself. It moves me, too (if it relieves you to read this :)).
I have two recordings of this song, sung by Cheryl Studer and by Lucia Popp. Especially the latter brings me to tears .... as she does many times, btw.
Dear me, I should not call myself a Bach CryBaby, I'm a CryBaby period. :'(
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Harry on November 18, 2009, 05:55:01 AM
Don't underestimate yourself. It moves me, too (if it relieves you to read this :)).
I have two recordings of this song, sung by Cheryl Studer and by Lucia Popp. Especially the latter brings me to tears .... as she does many times, btw.
Dear me, I should not call myself a Bach CryBaby, I'm a CryBaby period. :'(

Yes oddly enough it does relieves me, thank you. My operetta passion is looked upon as something for people that do not understand opera.
I love baroque opera, and dislike heartily romantic opera, including that megalomaniac German composer. ;D
Lucia Popp is liked by me too, in her younger days she sang quite a lot of operetta tunes.
They say real men don't cry,  8) I have only cried once in my life, and that was a experience I would not like to repeat...ever. It nearly broke my heart.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 18, 2009, 06:04:43 AM
Yes oddly enough it does relieves me, thank you. My operetta passion is looked upon as something for people that do not understand opera.
I love baroque opera, and dislike heartily romantic opera, including that megalomaniac German composer. ;D
Lucia Popp is liked by me too, in her younger days she sang quite a lot of operetta tunes.
They say real men don't cry,  8) I have only cried once in my life, and that was a experience I would not like to repeat...ever. It nearly broke my heart.


Yes, we can talk about crying or talk about crying. I think you're talking about the latter. I did it more than once, I have to admit, and it also nearly broke my heart, but afterwards it felt good.
When I listen to music that moves me, the first kind of crying can happen. That moment when one suddenly realizes that there's some liquid coming out of one's eye(s), and slowly floating down one's cheek(s). I must say, in most cases it's not a bad experience at all.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sean on November 18, 2009, 10:23:28 AM
Yeah, nice to read this. I know what you mean. At least many of these cantatas show that, in a way, Bach also wrote (mini-) operas.

Sure thing Marc.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sorin Eushayson on November 18, 2009, 02:18:32 PM
While I enjoy the Bach cantatas it must be said that I've never cried over them!  Maybe that will change.  I'm about half-way through the Leusink set at the moment and am quite enjoying them.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 18, 2009, 06:40:30 PM
Don't underestimate yourself. It moves me, too (if it relieves you to read this :)).
I have two recordings of this song, sung by Cheryl Studer and by Lucia Popp. Especially the latter brings me to tears .... as she does many times, btw.
Dear me, I should not call myself a Bach CryBaby, I'm a CryBaby period. :'(

Lucia Popp was wonderful.  I recently bought the Mass in B by her and the St. Matthew Passion is on the way ...

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/0021232BC.jpg)

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4757761.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 19, 2009, 03:50:19 AM
While I enjoy the Bach cantatas it must be said that I've never cried over them!  Maybe that will change.  I'm about half-way through the Leusink set at the moment and am quite enjoying them.

When I shed tears (only once in a while) whilst listening to music, then those are tears of enjoyment, but also comfort, relief, happiness, satisfaction, love, empathy, et cetera. :)
 
I remember another thread, about depressive/depressing music, where I added that I do not know of any depressing music. Music has never turned me into a sad mood really, regardless if it is Dido's Lament of Purcell, the Finale of Tchaikovsky's Sixth or Twenty-four Hours by Joy Division.
Maybe most tears are floating because of matters like identification and understanding, with the music adding a breathless moment of .... can't think of the right word. :'(  ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 19, 2009, 03:56:55 AM
Lucia Popp was wonderful.  I recently bought the Mass in B by her and the St. Matthew Passion is on the way ...

Oops, Coop!
Awfully sorry to say, but no matter how much I like or even love Lucia Popp's voice, she wouldn't be my first choice in Bach. Don't worry though: especially Schreier's Hohe Messe is a fine performance (though not my fave).
We were talking about tears in this thread and this is a strange example: I think Carolyn Watkinson's vibrato is way over the top in the Agnus Dei, yet this might be the most emotional performance I've yet heard of this piece. I think she's feeling and experiencing herself every line she's singing, and to me (despite the vibes) she's utterly convincing! :'( :'( :'(
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on November 19, 2009, 04:47:14 AM
IMO, all this theme about crying and tears is condemned to be trivial or, at least, to produce misunderstandings, not by our own words, but as a part of the nature of things itself.

When I speak about tears I am not -exactly- thinking on “physical” tears, but about very deep emotions; so deeply felt that they can be showed or suggested, but not “demonstrated”. A spiritual zone where words or language in general are powerless. Probably, this is more expressive in some romance languages, as the Spanish: “mostrar” (to show) v/s “demostrar” (to prove).

Therefore, I can not “demonstrate” if Harry is right or wrong -if these words do any sense here- because that is impossible in the realm of these inexpressible things… "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent" (Ludwig Wittgenstein).

 :'(  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 20, 2009, 03:32:01 AM
I never meant to suggest or demonstrate any 'right' or 'wrong' in the crying theme.

And I would like to add that IMO almost all the themes at this board are condemned to be trivial or, at least, to produce misunderstandings, not by our own words, but as a part of the nature of things itself.
And I accept that - for I consider myself part of all that.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on November 20, 2009, 05:19:48 PM
And I accept that - for I consider myself part of all that.

Ok Marc, it is your right.

BTW, is it just my idea or it is slightly bad-mannered to paraphrase my reply in that way?

Anyway, when I said "right" or "wrong" I was not thinking in your replies at all. But probably that was just another misunderstanding.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 20, 2009, 05:40:47 PM
Oops, Coop!
Awfully sorry to say, but no matter how much I like or even love Lucia Popp's voice, she wouldn't be my first choice in Bach. Don't worry though: especially Schreier's Hohe Messe is a fine performance (though not my fave).
We were talking about tears in this thread and this is a strange example: I think Carolyn Watkinson's vibrato is way over the top in the Agnus Dei, yet this might be the most emotional performance I've yet heard of this piece. I think she's feeling and experiencing herself every line she's singing, and to me (despite the vibes) she's utterly convincing! :'( :'( :'(

Carolyn Watkinson is one of my favorites when it comes to alto.  I first discovered her in Handel Messiah by Christopher Hogwood and the AAM.  BTW, I also enjoyed listening to Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in St Matthew Passion or Mass in B (via the recordings by Klemperer and Karajan).  She had such a gorgeous voice ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 20, 2009, 10:32:22 PM
Ok Marc, it is your right.

BTW, is it just my idea or it is slightly bad-mannered to paraphrase my reply in that way?

I'd better placed a smiley. I mean: we don't have really have 'issues', do we? ;)
In a general way, I agreed with your statement. But I wanted to get rid of my 'crying' image. ;D
Real men don't cry, you knöw?

Quote from: Antoine Marchand
Anyway, when I said "right" or "wrong" I was not thinking in your replies at all. But probably that was just another misunderstanding.

I hear you.
But: me was thinking at a certain point: as if I'm nothing but crying whilst listening to music. I wanted to 'clear' that misunderstanding. In a clumsy way, you're right, which can lead to other misunderstandings .... et cetera.
Well, I'm off to a group of friends, who do not like classical music at all. Wish me luck!
Auf wiedersehn!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on November 21, 2009, 06:43:20 AM
I'd better placed a smiley...

As you know, all this thing of tears and crying began when I agreed with you on certain withering effects of Bach music. So here we are, not very far.  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 29, 2009, 03:16:12 PM
Advent has begun.
J.S. Bach composed some great cantatas for this period.

In another thread I read Frellie's remark about BWV 61 & 62, and about preferring the latter.

Any thoughts about favourites? And why?
BWV 36, 61, 62, 132?

Although we could be able to, at least in our heads, listen to reconstructed versions of BWV 70a & 147a, I thought I'd better to leave them out.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Frellie on December 01, 2009, 11:12:18 AM
In another thread I read Frellie's remark about BWV 61 & 62, and about preferring the latter.

Any thoughts about favourites? And why?
BWV 36, 61, 62, 132?

Thank you, Marc, for picking this subject up and putting it down in this thread.

My favorite is indeed BWV 62. But, I must say, after listening a couple of times to BWV 61, I've grown fonder of the latter one than before. Its opening chorus is very enticing, although I maintain that the opening of BWV62 is more impressive, more muscular.

So there's that. My opinion of BWV61 changed favorably, the last days.

What about you, Marc?


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on December 01, 2009, 11:56:17 AM
What about you, Marc?
In most cases when I heard or read about a choice between BWV 61 & 62, the earlier work did win.

So that's why your choice for the latter attracted my attention.

I think that I personally prefer BWV 61.
But to motivate that choice I almost have to be 'mathematical'. :)

Opening chorus: BWV 62 gets my voice. A fantastic piece!
Even when it's performed not like a song of hope of expectation, but as a command (Gardiner, who IMO got it wrong, but survives because of a great and skilled performance).
The tenor arias of both cantatas have a lot in common, they share the same atmosphere and I like them both. No 'winner' here.
When the second aria is concerned (resp. for soprano [BWV 61] and bass [BWV 62], I choose the first. That lovely phrase O, wie selig werd' ich sein!
When the recitativos are concerned, I personally think that the bass recitativo of BWV 61 (Siehe siehe, ich stehe vor der Tür is a little miracle. Another splendid Bach example that baroque recitativos aren't just 'filling'.
Of the finale chorales the joyful piece of BWV 61 gets my vote.

The other two are beautiful, too, btw!
Of BWV 132 I really like the opening aria and its colleague for alto (Christi Glieder, ach bedenket).
BWV 36, which was originally a secular cantata, contains maybe the most beautiful arrangement by Bach of the chorale Nun, komm der Heiden Heiland (together with the organ chorale BWV 659). This duetto for soprano and alto, circling around each other along with the oboe d'amore: alas alas, a joy that lasts far too short! And the last soprano aria, with muted violin solo - Auch mit gedämpften schwachen Stimmen, even beats that other Advent gem when sheer beauty is the issue; the above mentioned soprano aria for BWV 61 (Öffne dich, mein ganzes Herze).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Guido on July 22, 2010, 01:49:07 PM
Has anyone here listened to all of them? I'm quite tempted to at some stage - It wouldn't even take a year at a rate of one a day.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Todd on July 22, 2010, 01:54:07 PM
Has anyone here listened to all of them? I'm quite tempted to at some stage - It wouldn't even take a year at a rate of one a day.



Yes, I listened to the complete Harnoncourt / Leonhardt set.  The average quality level is very high, but some works are definitely better than others.  At their best, the cantatas are transcendant.  At their worst, a bit workaday (though that's workaday for Bach).  I will say that by the time I was done, I was tired of hearing boys sing.  I prefer women sopranos by far. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on July 22, 2010, 01:54:36 PM
I have about half of them and slowly over the years, I will probably end up with them all. But I prefer to take my time and get to know them before I move on to new ones.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on July 22, 2010, 09:08:37 PM
Has anyone here listened to all of them? I'm quite tempted to at some stage - It wouldn't even take a year at a rate of one a day.



Yes, I finished listening to the complete cycle some fifteen years ago.

I have about half of them and slowly over the years, I will probably end up with them all. But I prefer to take my time and get to know them before I move on to new ones.

Mike

Excellent idea!  :) It took me a little some 2 years to go though the entire Leonhardt/Harnoncourt cycle. (It wasn't a cheap "set" back then... :-\)
 
One approach I took was to follow the church calendar and listen to one of the canatas Bach wrote for that day/week.

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Guido on July 23, 2010, 12:58:05 AM
I''d like a set that didn't have boys and I also in general prefer mezzos/altos to countertenors, unless the countertenor is really really good. Is there a set which fulfills my criteria?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on July 23, 2010, 01:40:35 AM
I''d like a set that didn't have boys and I also in general prefer mezzos/altos to countertenors, unless the countertenor is really really good. Is there a set which fulfills my criteria?

Koopman.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Guido on July 23, 2010, 02:29:13 AM
Cheers! I'm a fan of his so excellent!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on July 23, 2010, 05:06:37 AM
Cheers! I'm a fan of his so excellent!

Good.
Big admirer myself. Never the best individually, perhaps, but the best overall in my opinion.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bulldog on July 23, 2010, 08:55:30 AM
I'd better placed a smiley. I mean: we don't have really have 'issues', do we? ;)
In a general way, I agreed with your statement. But I wanted to get rid of my 'crying' image. ;D
Real men don't cry, you knöw?

Except for a death in the family.  Other than that, it's forbidden.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on September 04, 2010, 09:00:26 AM
Slowly yet decisively mr. Suzuki is nearing the completion of his Bach cantata cycle.

I bought Volume 46 today, with a convincing performance of a.o. the beautiful cantata BWV 102 Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben.

(http://i55.tinypic.com/2zyx5le.jpg)

Very good performances of tenor Gerd Türk and Peter Kooy. The latter has been Suzuki's vocal cliff in the breakers during the entire project so far.

The only (small) problem I have is with counter-tenor Robin Blaze. He has never been my fave counter, but even apart from that it seems to me that, like Michael Chance in the recent past, his voice is losing its charm and flexibility now he's getting a little bit older.
I also think he's better in more melodic baroque compositions, and in vocal ensembles like duetti et al.
For instance on this Händel disc with soprano Carolyn Sampson:

(http://i52.tinypic.com/2coojrm.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on October 09, 2010, 12:20:13 PM
Well, since the start of this thread in 2007 (I believe), my Bach Cantata collection has grown from a dozen or so works to probably 150+ (mainly through the addition of Suzuki's 4 10-CD each 'Anniversary' boxes).

I'm not sure how many secular cantatas Bach composed but I recently saw the Brilliant Box below (8 discs) which is being offered at BRO for $24!  Could have posted in the 'considering thread' but I thought maybe there would be more experienced responses here; so, any comments please (and TIA) - Dave  :D

Edit - P.S. for those who own this set, does Brilliant provide a booklet w/ translations of the text?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61Ldt9DWfnL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on October 09, 2010, 12:28:21 PM
Except for a death in the family.  Other than that, it's forbidden.

What if your CD collection was lost in a fire?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 09, 2010, 01:56:35 PM
Well, since the start of this thread in 2007 (I believe), my Bach Cantata collection has grown from a dozen or so works to probably 150+ (mainly through the addition of Suzuki's 4 10-CD each 'Anniversary' boxes).

I'm not sure how many secular cantatas Bach composed but I recently saw the Brilliant Box below (8 discs) which is being offered at BRO for $24!  Could have posted in the 'considering thread' but I thought maybe there would be more experienced responses here; so, any comments please (and TIA) - Dave  :D

Edit - P.S. for those who own this set, does Brilliant provide a booklet w/ translations of the text?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61Ldt9DWfnL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Well, IMO there are better options for the secular cantatas, especially if you are looking for HIP performances (like the sacred cantatas in the same label). The Kammerochester Berlin plays on modern instruments and the general approach is, I'll say, rather "operatic" (maybe not totally wrong if we are talking of secular cantatas). Anyway, you will find a lot of nice voices in these almost complete recordings, although not translations of the texts (at least not in the original edition in jewel boxes, which I have).

If you accept a recommendation, Ton Koopman is a topnotch option in these cantatas, particularly the fifth volume of his integral:


(http://cover7.cduniverse.com/MuzeAudioArt/Large/76/529676.jpg)


http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=6770147&style=classical

 :)

 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on October 09, 2010, 02:55:24 PM
Now that the topic has been revived, what are people's impressions of Rilling's recordings on Hanssler?   One criteria I have is no children's chorus and grown women, not boys, as sopranos.  That's Rilling, right?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on October 09, 2010, 03:03:35 PM
Now that the topic has been revived, what are people's impressions of Rilling's recordings on Hanssler?   One criteria I have is no children's chorus and grown women, not boys, as sopranos.  That's Rilling, right?

That's almost everyone, but Harnoncourt/Leonhardt.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on October 09, 2010, 04:58:07 PM
That's almost everyone, but Harnoncourt/Leonhardt.

Ok. That's useful information.  Anyone have an opinion as to the quality of Rilling's performances?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on October 09, 2010, 05:25:14 PM
Ok. That's useful information.  Anyone have an opinion as to the quality of Rilling's performances?

I think that he is very good, but he is anti-HIP.  That doesn't mean that he uses absurd romanticized treatments of Bach, just that he is on record as strongly objecting to the sound of the period instruments and preferring modern instruments.  The recordings that I've heard has shown depth, nuance and shading but are not PI.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: KevinP on October 09, 2010, 05:35:52 PM
I think that he is very good, but he is anti-HIP.  That doesn't mean that he uses absurd romanticized treatments of Bach, just that he is on record as strongly objecting to the sound of the period instruments and preferring modern instruments.  The recordings that I've heard has shown depth, nuance and shading but are not PI.

I've heard him referred to as HIP, just on modern instruments.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 09, 2010, 06:26:44 PM
I've heard him referred to as HIP, just on modern instruments.

It really depends on where in Rilling's cycle one listens. Rilling's cycle spans about twenty years and his recordings from the '70s display nothing of HIP. But as the cycle progresses a gradual evolving takes place and HIP comes more into play.

Not that HIP ever comes to dominate Rilling's thinking but the later the cycle the less "old school" his performances become.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on October 09, 2010, 11:16:20 PM
Ok. That's useful information.  Anyone have an opinion as to the quality of Rilling's performances?

Rilling is about as solid, non-HIP-but-modernishish as it gets, in a positive way.

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/04/rilling-with-message-from-bach.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/04/rilling-with-message-from-bach.html)
Quote
Unlike the aforementioned, Rilling is not married to the idea of performing Bach
on original instruments, although his performances are informed by the Baroque style.
In a way, Rilling is the continuation of what Karl Richter started: modern performances
of Bach, trimmed of all the excess of the earlier part of the 20th century.

 The early HIPsters were already under way, the lessons of Muenchinger and Richter (rebels, in their time) had been learned, absorbed... and Rilling set about playing Bach in a Bach-scholarly way, without the ideology of HIP or resorting to original instruments or bowing techniques or the like. And, this isn't a minor point, Rilling's Bach (as many others, too) is centered around a chorus, the Bachakademie Stuttgart... a truly great instrument, and used in good number. Rilling's Matthew Passion and Christmas Oratorio are absolutely outstanding, for example, transcending (as every great recording does) any ideological issues of OVPP or Massive-Fun-Time-Bach.

He'd be one of my first choices for the secular cantatas, too... next to Herreweghe and of course Koopman. Not that the Peter Schreier-style of Bach ought to be dismissed; there are very few Bach Cantata sets that can be dismissed at all. (Harnoncourt for the reason you mention, I suppose... Ramin, because the recording and singing quality is just too low... )


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 10, 2010, 12:50:57 AM
The early HIPsters were already under way, the lessons of Muenchinger...

BTW, a small Dutch label named Newton Classics has re-released the Bach's great sacred works directed by Karl Münchinger in a 9-CD set:

(http://www.newtonclassics.com/images/covers/8802001%20NC_Bach.jpg)

 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on October 10, 2010, 05:06:36 AM
Rilling is about as solid, non-HIP-but-modernishish as it gets, in a positive way.

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/04/rilling-with-message-from-bach.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/04/rilling-with-message-from-bach.html)
 The early HIPsters were already under way, the lessons of Muenchinger and Richter (rebels, in their time) had been learned, absorbed... and Rilling set about playing Bach in a Bach-scholarly way, without the ideology of HIP or resorting to original instruments or bowing techniques or the like. And, this isn't a minor point, Rilling's Bach (as many others, too) is centered around a chorus, the Bachakademie Stuttgart... a truly great instrument, and used in good number. Rilling's Matthew Passion and Christmas Oratorio are absolutely outstanding, for example, transcending (as every great recording does) any ideological issues of OVPP or Massive-Fun-Time-Bach.

He'd be one of my first choices for the secular cantatas, too... next to Herreweghe and of course Koopman.....

Thanks Jens, Antoine, et al for the comments, reviews, and recommendations on the Secular Cantatas - I do own Rilling on a 2-CD set (put together for the BMG Club a while back when I was a member, so a cheap purchase) - the recordings are from 1996-7 and I do enjoy them; I guess the question is the additional need for a HIP version?  Koopman looks good to me but his sets are rather costly at least on the Amazon MP, but I'll check again - that BRO price for the Brilliant 8-CD set just was enticing but sounds like Rilling is still a top choice in these works - Dave  :)

(http://giradman.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/BachSecularRilling/1040641160_oQY3J-O.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on October 10, 2010, 06:10:15 AM
Dave, the brilliant set isn't PI and is interpretatively similar to Rilling so there is no point in getting that for a fresh perspective.  If you cut out the completeness requirement you can get the best of the secular cantatas on 1 cd--

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=149620 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=149620)

Amazon inexplicably doesn't have this recording.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on October 10, 2010, 06:40:30 AM
Dave, the brilliant set isn't PI and is interpretatively similar to Rilling so there is no point in getting that for a fresh perspective.  If you cut out the completeness requirement you can get the best of the secular cantatas on 1 cd--

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=149620 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=149620)

Amazon inexplicably doesn't have this recording.

David - thanks for the suggestion above - I'd love to hear a couple of Koopman's performances from his Cantata effort; the 67 disc box is being offered at MDT for nearly $500!

I went to the Arkiv site and a Fanfare review had been reprinted there about the above recording - apparently no texts or translations in the notes - hmmm - and at $16 (plus S&H) a little pricey; also checked out Classics Online and can obtain the same as an MP3 download w/ my points there for about $9 - would just burn a CD-R and put it into the Hanssler Rilling set which has the texts/translations - Dave  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 10, 2010, 06:42:55 AM
David - thanks for the suggestion above - I'd love to hear a couple of Koopman's performances from his Cantata effort; the 67 disc box is being offered at MDT for nearly $500!

I went to the Arkiv site and a Fanfare review had been reprinted there about the above recording - apparently no texts or translations in the notes - hmmm - and at $16 (plus S&H) a little pricey; also checked out Classics Online and can obtain the same as an MP3 download w/ my points there for about $9 - would just burn a CD-R and put it into the Hanssler Rilling set which has the texts/translations - Dave  :)

This is my next target ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MkvHzztgL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

 ;)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on October 10, 2010, 06:43:40 AM
Dave, you'll have to tell me how that classics online site works and whether you like it.  Because I was just thinking about how much I'm pissed at amazon mp3s outrageous pricing on classical music.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on October 10, 2010, 07:43:11 AM
This is my next target ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MkvHzztgL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

 ;)

Stuart - now, you gave a winky?  ;D  Make sure that Koopman's box comes w/ a DAMN good book!  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on October 10, 2010, 07:55:01 AM
Dave, you'll have to tell me how that classics online site works and whether you like it.  Because I was just thinking about how much I'm pissed at amazon mp3s outrageous pricing on classical music.

Hi David - well, I just purchased the recording under discussion from ClassicsOnline (http://www.classicsonline.com/) - just over $9 - already burned to a CD-R and now playing on my den stereo - it is different from Rilling; listening to the Coffee Cantata; as expected much more intimate - like the vocal interplay of the father & daughter better, plus period instruments used - will do some 'back to back' listening in the near future just for a better appreciation of the differences.

Concerning ClassicsOnline - I've ordered just over a half dozen MP3 recordings from them, all have been $9.99 (or less w/ discount points accumulated but not much of a savings); files are 320 kbps - there is a site specific download manager which puts the files in your 'music folder' under 'classicsonline' - good ID3 tagging and the album art is included as a JPEG (in a couple of cases, the booklet notes were provided as a PDF file).  The downloads are quite quick (even over my home Wi-Fi connection, 802.11g) and multiple files are done at once.  Used iTunes on my Vista laptop to burn a CD-R - seems to be sounding quite well at the moment.  Dave  :)

P.S. - in the Peasant Cantata, several 'digital glitches' occurred on my 'burned' MP3 disc; I then hooked up the laptop directly to my stereo system and the files played fine, so the download is OK; will burn another CD-R at a slower rate to see the effect - could be a batch of old CD-Rs?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: dimmer on October 10, 2010, 08:00:59 AM
This is my next target ...

 ;)
Have you checked out the reboxing of Suzuki's cantatas? The first 40 volumes available in 4 boxes, and 10 disks for the price of 3.  The main catch is that they are on CD rather than SACD, but still a remarkable bargain, complete with full booklets.  Better quality overall than Koopman by quite a long way. Look for them on amazon.co.jp - they still seem to be available.
(http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/41jF5whVO3L._SS400_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on October 10, 2010, 08:10:00 AM
This is my next target ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MkvHzztgL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

 ;)

Hmmm.  They apparently don't have the wherewithal to distribute that thing in the US, and to get that thing from overseas will be 300 pounds or so, nearly $500.   I've made lots and lots of small purchased from overseas.  Is there a level at which you are going to get charged import duties by the US customs service, I wonder?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 10, 2010, 09:24:55 AM
Have you checked out the reboxing of Suzuki's cantatas? ... Better quality overall than Koopman by quite a long way.

I have collected both cycles (well, Suzuki's still ongoing) and I prefer Koopman by some distance. But it's just an opinion because technically both cycles are excellent.  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Todd on October 10, 2010, 09:40:38 AM
Is there a level at which you are going to get charged import duties by the US customs service, I wonder?



No: http://www.usitc.gov/tariff_affairs/ (http://www.usitc.gov/tariff_affairs/)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on October 10, 2010, 05:36:33 PM


No: http://www.usitc.gov/tariff_affairs/ (http://www.usitc.gov/tariff_affairs/)

Yes, I did find the "Harmonized Tariff Schedule" but found it impenetrable.  It seems to have been written for someone planning to import good in the course of business, not someone waiting for a package from Amazon.co.uk.    :(
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: dimmer on October 10, 2010, 05:37:28 PM
I have collected both cycles (well, Suzuki's still ongoing) and I prefer Koopman by some distance. But it's just an opinion because technically both cycles are excellent.  :)
Indeed both are, and with different strengths I think.  I think Koopman is better at the more robust cantatas, particularly in choruses, where Suzuki's more reflective approach can underwhelm, but the reverse is true as well.  Both orchestras are excellent, but I think the quality of Suzuki's soloists are better overall (as much as you can claim this over such a large and variable undertaking).  Of course living in Suzuki-san's home town may make me slightly partisan!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on October 11, 2010, 06:09:50 AM
Have you checked out the reboxing of Suzuki's cantatas? The first 40 volumes available in 4 boxes, and 10 disks for the price of 3.  The main catch is that they are on CD rather than SACD, but still a remarkable bargain, complete with full booklets. Better quality overall than Koopman by quite a long way. Look for them on amazon.co.jp - they still seem to be available.

I can't find that true at all. I have all the Suzuki except perhaps the last two recordings... and many are absolutely GREAT. Carlyn Sampson... delicious! Some cantatas, superbly exciting. But... But... I think on average Koopman is not just as good as Suzuki, but considerably more satisfactory. Not the occasional, very high highlights of Suzuki, but an incredibly high average... whereas on average I'm a little let down by Suzuki. (Partly because expectations are so high.)

Esp. since Koopman is chill-out-HIP (i.e. none of that "must have minimal possible amount of performers" business), uses mezzos, not counters, and features (now common) pitch-perfect orchestral playing, I think it is the overall most recommendable cycles of all out there. (Rilling, Harnoncourt/Leonhardt, Leusink, Suzuki...)
Only Herreweghe (not working on a cycle) brings that consistent a smile to my face. (And of course I'll always have a very soft spot in my heart for Karl Richter.)

For HIP, radical OVPP and all, I have to say that Kuijken's non-cycle (1-year cycle) kicks so much ass, it's not even funny.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on October 13, 2010, 09:54:30 PM
Well, since the start of this thread in 2007 (I believe), my Bach Cantata collection has grown from a dozen or so works to probably 150+ (mainly through the addition of Suzuki's 4 10-CD each 'Anniversary' boxes).

I'm not sure how many secular cantatas Bach composed but I recently saw the Brilliant Box below (8 discs) which is being offered at BRO for $24!  Could have posted in the 'considering thread' but I thought maybe there would be more experienced responses here; so, any comments please (and TIA) - Dave  :D


For Bach's secular cantatas Leonhardt's later series for Philips is not to be overlooked IMO! :) Hopefully Universal will do a nice box set reissue soon.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61oqxRkyIGL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41JZ8YYK76L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/02/ciu/9c/28/4baf017b42a04354f9391210.L._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/02/ciu/af/04/c703c27a02a0ceff93bb5110.L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: dimmer on October 15, 2010, 05:43:59 AM
I can't find that true at all. I have all the Suzuki except perhaps the last two recordings... and many are absolutely GREAT. Carlyn Sampson... delicious! Some cantatas, superbly exciting. But... But... I think on average Koopman is not just as good as Suzuki, but considerably more satisfactory. Not the occasional, very high highlights of Suzuki, but an incredibly high average... whereas on average I'm a little let down by Suzuki. (Partly because expectations are so high.)
I have no problem with Koopman's orchestral standards, but the singers can be erratic, with simply bad at times soprano singing in the earlier volumes, and a kind of non-descript approach to text that seems to quite often gloss over meaning in a most generalised way. Of the three complete (or soon to be complete) HIP series I think Koopman lags both Gardiner and Suzuki. Thats not to say he isn't enjoyable in his own right, but both other series offer considerably more insights into the music.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 16, 2010, 07:26:31 PM
For Bach's secular cantatas Leonhardt's later series for Philips is not to be overlooked IMO! :) Hopefully Universal will do a nice box set reissue soon.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61oqxRkyIGL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41JZ8YYK76L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/02/ciu/9c/28/4baf017b42a04354f9391210.L._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/02/ciu/af/04/c703c27a02a0ceff93bb5110.L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Q

But it would be re-issued under London, not Philips ...   :(
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on October 17, 2010, 12:23:06 AM
For Bach's secular cantatas Leonhardt's later series for Philips is not to be overlooked IMO! :) Hopefully Universal will do a nice box set reissue soon.
I have the Brilliant (originally on Berlin) and its no more than a stopgap. Complete quality cycles of the secular cantatas are desperately needed, and I would welcome a Leonhard reissue dearly. The Jacobs double on HM,  consisiting of BWV 201, 205 and 213 are however a brilliant comfort untilo then. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on October 17, 2010, 01:02:03 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HHbFl9PkL.jpg)

Let me add this to the recommendations of recordings of Bach's secular cantatas.

Q :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on October 17, 2010, 06:51:41 AM
Of the three complete (or soon to be complete) HIP series I think Koopman lags both Gardiner and Suzuki. Thats not to say he isn't enjoyable in his own right, but both other series offer considerably more insights into the music.

I don't think you can even say soon to be complete for Gardiner.  He's not even half way.  12 volumes 2 cds each = 24, but it takes 50-60 cds to traverse the catalogue.  Even though Suzuki is much closer to finishing is he actually done?  You must not know what are the three complete HIP cycles, they are:

Harnoncourt/Leonhardt
Koopman
Leusink

Suzuki is not HIP btw!!!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on October 17, 2010, 06:59:43 AM
But it would be re-issued under London, not Philips ...   :(
The London Label was retired long before Philips was.  It would be labeled Decca. 

In any case, I believe Philips Classics is essentially Pentatone now.  When Universal liquidated Philips, the Philips people formed a company that made recordings under contract for other labels, and they issue their own projects under Penatone.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: dimmer on October 17, 2010, 07:27:12 AM
I don't think you can even say soon to be complete for Gardiner.  He's not even half way.  12 volumes 2 cds each = 24, but it takes 50-60 cds to traverse the catalogue.  Even though Suzuki is much closer to finishing is he actually done?  You must not know what are the three complete HIP cycles, they are:

Harnoncourt/Leonhardt
Koopman
Leusink

Suzuki is not HIP btw!!!
Sorry I meant recent series (of which Leusink admittedly also counts as recent). I most definitely know the complete cycles, as I have all of both the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt and the Koopman series. Leusink I have only heard from a few early samples released legally on the web, but they seemed a little too rough and ready for me, so I didn't bother getting them, tempting as the Brilliant box set was.

Gardiner is most definitely complete - as you know the whole lot were recorded in the year 2000, but as far as I know all of them are now released (the final couple of volumes in September). I am missing a few but even then I have over 20 of the volumes. 

Suzuki is the slowest of the cycles, up to Vol 46 released, but many more recorded.  I think the latest concert I attended was preparation for the recording of Vol 58 or thereabouts.  I had an interesting conversation with Suzuki-san about what you do after 15 years of recording Bach, as he is near to completing all his recordings with no big project in mind to follow.  Not sure what you qualify as HIP, but Suzuki is on historical instruments, and his choir is probably as small as the one used by Koopman, Gardiner and Herreweghe, if OVPP is the criteria.

I would still stand by my order of preference: Gardiner, Suzuki, (Herreweghe if he was to do a complete series), Koopman, Harnoncourt/Leonhardt (all credit to them, but performance standards have definitely improved).  As I haven't heard much of Leusink I don't know where the performances slot in. I would be happy if I had any of the top 3 - all give compelling accounts of the music, all have different strengths, and all have their weaknesses.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on October 17, 2010, 07:48:13 AM
Oh woops sorry Dimmer, of course Suzuki is hip what am I thinking?  Let's see this weekend I've said

* I've seen all of these movies! no wait I haven't seen the last
* Hey Dave you should go check out these towns, because I apparently I can't read that you're on a tour bus
* Suzuki isn't hip despite the fact that he is ovpp PI and the most well known hip cycle around
* Gardiner's series is highly incomplete because I forgot about the older recordings, like you know some of the ones I have

I guess I'll just go to back to bed now! :D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 17, 2010, 08:23:53 AM
For Bach's secular cantatas Leonhardt's later series for Philips is not to be overlooked IMO! :) Hopefully Universal will do a nice box set reissue soon.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61oqxRkyIGL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41JZ8YYK76L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/02/ciu/9c/28/4baf017b42a04354f9391210.L._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/02/ciu/af/04/c703c27a02a0ceff93bb5110.L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Q

Additionally, Leonhardt recorded an excellent disc with two secular cantatas on Alpha, three years ago:

(http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/HL-L11%5BAlpha%5D.jpg)

Listening to that disc I thought even Cafe Zimmermann can be redeemed, under the right director: God, what a good vassals! If only they had a good lord!  :D

Samples here (http://www.outhere-music.com/store-Alpha_118).

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 17, 2010, 08:40:54 AM
... but I think the quality of Suzuki's soloists are better overall (as much as you can claim this over such a large and variable undertaking)...

This is a detail, but in my experience the opinion of some people about Koopman's cycle was marked for the inclusion of Barbara Schlick in the first volumes of that cycle, which included a good ammount of the most "popular" cantatas. I love Schlick's voice, but some people really hates her. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on October 17, 2010, 09:09:13 AM
I don't think you can even say soon to be complete for Gardiner.  He's not even half way.  12 volumes 2 cds each = 24, but it takes 50-60 cds to traverse the catalogue. 
There's 27 volumes in the series, of which one is a single = 53 discs.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 17, 2010, 09:20:48 AM
There's 27 volumes in the series, of which one is a single = 53 discs.

Are you sure? I don't have that series, but I think vols. 14, 15 and 16 are singles.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on October 17, 2010, 09:25:33 AM
It strikes me as so illogical that there are multiple cycles being made of these recordings for which the audience is quite small, resulting in cycles being canceled, or available in very expensive editions which have very limited circulation.  I would have thought it would have been interesting if the various players had pooled their resources and produced a collaborative cycle, i.e., Koopman, Gardiner, Suzuki,  etc.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on October 17, 2010, 09:32:19 AM
Are you sure? I don't have that series, but I think vols. 14, 15 and 16 are singles.
You're right!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 17, 2010, 09:32:42 AM
It strikes me as so illogical that there are multiple cycles being made of these recordings for which the audience is quite small, resulting in cycles being canceled, or available in very expensive editions which have very limited circulation.  I would have thought it would have been interesting if the various players had pooled their resources and produced a collaborative cycle, i.e., Koopman, Gardiner, Suzuki,  etc.

It would have been considered a great idea in the Soviet Union! (I mean if Bach had been allowed)  :D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 17, 2010, 09:39:41 AM
You're right!

Besides, some volumes include a different repertoire, i. e., not only cantatas but, for instance, concertos or motets.  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on October 17, 2010, 09:58:53 AM
It strikes me as so illogical that there are multiple cycles being made of these recordings for which the audience is quite small, resulting in cycles being canceled, or available in very expensive editions which have very limited circulation.  I would have thought it would have been interesting if the various players had pooled their resources and produced a collaborative cycle, i.e., Koopman, Gardiner, Suzuki,  etc.

+1 not only would it be more interesting, easier to complete and market, but they would also be done sooner and we could have more recordings with these conductors tackling other composers.  Bach has been hogging the HIP baroque scene ever since there was a HIP baroque scene.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on October 17, 2010, 11:02:53 AM
It would have been considered a great idea in the Soviet Union! (I mean if Bach had been allowed)  :D

Are you under the impression that Harnoncourt/Leonhardt were following a directive from the Soviet Union?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 17, 2010, 11:29:50 AM
Are you under the impression that Harnoncourt/Leonhardt were following a directive from the Soviet Union?

Are you under the impression that Harnoncourt/Leonhardt were following a directive from the Soviet Union?

It was just a joke, Scarpia!  :) Anyway, those were other times. To finish a complete recording of the Bach cantatas seemed an impossible task; especially, to record them under HIP parameters. Therefore, a collaboration between Leonhardt and Harnoncourt was a quite natural idea. Today the divisions are not simply HIP v/s non HIP because the HIP movement itself is extremely heterogeneous. Have you read what thinks Koopman about Rifkin or Parrott or even Leonhardt about the project of his dear friend and pupil Sigiswald Kuijken?

On the other hand, although Koopman and Gardiner saw their projects cancelled (by Erato and Archiv, respectively), that fact was not an obstacle to follow forward and both of them have completed their cycles (well, I don't know if Gardiner cycle is finished).

Finally, although Koopman cycle is still extremely expensive -even in the economic package-, you can buy every of the other cycles at rather affordable prices (Harnnoncourt/Leonhardt, Suzuki, Leusink, even Gardiner these days on Presto Classical).   :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on October 17, 2010, 11:56:30 AM
It was just a joke, Scarpia!  :) Anyway, those were other times. To finish a complete recording of the Bach cantatas seemed an impossible task; especially, to record them under HIP parameters. Therefore, a collaboration between Leonhardt and Harnoncourt was a quite natural idea. Today the divisions are not simply HIP v/s non HIP because the HIP movement itself is extremely heterogeneous. Have you read what thinks Koopman about Rifkin or Parrott or even Leonhardt about the project of his dear friend and pupil Sigiswald Kuijken?

On the other hand, although Koopman and Gardiner saw their projects cancelled (by Erato and Archiv, respectively), that fact was not an obstacle to follow forward and both of them have completed their cycles (well, I don't know if Gardiner cycle is finished).

Finally, although Koopman cycle is still extremely expensive -even in the economic package-, you can buy every of the other cycles at rather affordable prices (Harnnoncourt/Leonhardt, Suzuki, Leusink, even Gardiner these days on Presto Classical).   :)

It may not be an impossible task these days, but it may be an economically non-viable task.   I am a fanatic with thousands of CDs and I want a Cantata cycle.  When I look at the market there is no complete cantata set that I could convince myself to pay the exorbitant prices asked.  (Harnoncourt is out, despite my great admiration for him, because of the boy sopranos.)  If these lunatics think I am too much of a rank amateur to be part of their target market, who are they targeting?  I'd like to know how many sets Koopman has sold.  It's not distributed in the US at all.  I suspect the number sold is in the hundereds, if that.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 17, 2010, 12:15:10 PM
It may not be an impossible task these days, but it may be an economically non-viable task.   I am a fanatic with thousands of CDs and I want a Cantata cycle.  When I look at the market there is no complete cantata set that I could convince myself to pay the exorbitant prices asked.  (Harnoncourt is out, despite my great admiration for him, because of the boy sopranos.)  If these lunatics think I am too much of a rank amateur to be part of their target market, who are they targeting?  I'd like to know how many sets Koopman has sold.  It's not distributed in the US at all.  I suspect the number sold is in the hundereds, if that.

I agree with you about Koopman. Some time ago I had a discussion here -with Jens, IIRC- because I said that the price of the newly repackaged Koopman's set was simply ridiculous. I collected separately those cantatas and the best price was always CD Universe in USA (every 3-CD set for almost $40, although today is a bit higher there). And always it's possible to collect single discs by different directors, although probably it's difficult because the market has accustomed to us to think in terms of "cycles", not individual recordings. Finally, if I were you, I would take a look on Presto Classical; these days they offer Gardiner's double sets slightly over $17 and the costs of shipping are really convenient.  :)   


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on October 17, 2010, 12:31:49 PM
It may not be an impossible task these days, but it may be an economically non-viable task.   I am a fanatic with thousands of CDs and I want a Cantata cycle.  When I look at the market there is no complete cantata set that I could convince myself to pay the exorbitant prices asked.  (Harnoncourt is out, despite my great admiration for him, because of the boy sopranos.)  If these lunatics think I am too much of a rank amateur to be part of their target market, who are they targeting?  I'd like to know how many sets Koopman has sold.  It's not distributed in the US at all.  I suspect the number sold is in the hundereds, if that.

Is this one part of the series?
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514MI6UA%2BLL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
There's at least half a dozen recordings with similar cover art on Amazon, and I've seen this one and at least one other physically in the bins at Borders, although at the time I opted for other things. 

BTW, I don't particularly dislike the Brilliant box of secular cantatas:  the only serious complaint I have about it is the lack of texts.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 17, 2010, 12:40:37 PM
Is this one part of the series?

Yes, it's another re-re-re-issue of the same material, just re-grouped more "thematically". Originally, BWV 1 was part of the box 13; BWV 125, box 14 and 161, box 3.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 17, 2010, 12:52:43 PM
It would have been considered a great idea in the Soviet Union! (I mean if Bach had been allowed)  :D

If the cantatas were written for Marx and Lenin ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on October 17, 2010, 12:56:32 PM
And always it's possible to collect single discs by different directors, although probably it's difficult because the market has accustomed to us to think in terms of "cycles", not individual recordings.

That might be possible if the different cycles didn't group the cantatas in idiosyncratic, incompatible ways.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 30, 2010, 03:54:12 PM
This afternoon I was listening to some cantatas and, suddenly, I recalled this problem in Harnoncourt's BWV 29 (from the Teldec complete cycle). In my system that cantata presents some severe problems of distortion, especially when Kurt Equiluz sings the aria for tenor "Halleluja, Stärk und Macht" (0:58).

Then I recalled that Harnoncourt recorded again that cantata short time ago, including a limited edition with the old version, mmmmh...

Has somebody noticed the same problem?



   
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on October 30, 2010, 07:34:44 PM
This afternoon I was listening to some cantatas and, suddenly, I recalled this problem in Harnoncourt's BWV 29 (from the Teldec complete cycle). In my system that cantata presents some severe problems of distortion, especially when Kurt Equiluz sings the aria for tenor "Halleluja, Stärk und Macht" (0:58).

Then I recalled that Harnoncourt recorded again that cantata short time ago, including a limited edition with the old version, mmmmh...

Has somebody noticed the same problem?

 

I have the limited edition; quite frankly I was so put off the earlier recording's use of boy sopranos that I've only played it once.  I was so put off, in fact, that whatever other flaws were present passed by unnoticed. 

The new recordings, btw, are available as a single disc without the older versions.


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 30, 2010, 08:45:19 PM
I have the limited edition; quite frankly I was so put off the earlier recording's use of boy sopranos that I've only played it once.  I was so put off, in fact, that whatever other flaws were present passed by unnoticed. 

The new recordings, btw, are available as a single disc without the older versions.

Did you like the new recording at least?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bulldog on October 30, 2010, 08:59:35 PM
It strikes me as so illogical that there are multiple cycles being made of these recordings for which the audience is quite small, resulting in cycles being canceled, or available in very expensive editions which have very limited circulation.  I would have thought it would have been interesting if the various players had pooled their resources and produced a collaborative cycle, i.e., Koopman, Gardiner, Suzuki,  etc.

I don't know about the logic of it all, but I like it the way it is.  The companies put out their 1, 2 or 3 disc recordings, and I acquire what I want from the offerings and feel I get maximum variety.  It helps that I'm not interested in complete cycles.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 31, 2010, 06:22:45 AM
It strikes me as so illogical that there are multiple cycles being made of these recordings for which the audience is quite small, resulting in cycles being canceled, or available in very expensive editions which have very limited circulation.  I would have thought it would have been interesting if the various players had pooled their resources and produced a collaborative cycle, i.e., Koopman, Gardiner, Suzuki,  etc.
I don't know about the logic of it all, but I like it the way it is.  The companies put out their 1, 2 or 3 disc recordings, and I acquire what I want from the offerings and feel I get maximum variety.  It helps that I'm not interested in complete cycles.
I also like it.

Took the chance to get the entire Harnoncourt/Leonhardt cycle for a budget price, got myself saddled up with Leusink ;) and decided in the nineties (after a first listening) to go for Suzuki instead of Koopman, but also bought some single Koopman issues and borrowed one or two at the library. Combined with some Herreweghe, Rifkin, Gardiner and Kuijken (et al) I'm a happy person now.

About the 'logic' of it all: I think in this part of the world (North-West Europe) the audience for Bach's vocal works is rather high.
Also if live performances are concerned. In my town for instance, there are so-called Cantata services organized on quite a regular base: normal (mostly protestant) church services, combined with a cantata-for-the-day composed by a certain J.S. Bach.

Not to mention all the Passionen, Hohe Messen and Weihnachts-Oratorien through the seasons.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 31, 2010, 08:22:12 AM
My position is less elegant: I would be totally happy having every complete cycle of cantatas ever recorded and every single disc not forming part of an integral. However, I don't have money or space enough.

Different structures of the personality, I suppose.

I believe the "completists" have -when we are not mere "collectionists"-, the suspect that beauty is watching for us in all parts, even, even behind a mediocre recording. A less satisfactory recording is not a dead weight. 

But there are not time, money or space to buy every recording and I have had to make some decisions.

The first cycle I decided to buy/complete was Koopman, but before to complete it, I purchased the big box of Brilliant -when it needed a lot of space because of the jewel cases- and I have purchased two new complete sets since then. Naturally, I have a lot of individual discs, too (Herreweghe, Rifkin, Pierlot, Fasolis, etc.).

But did I really need all those discs? Yes, I need them because Bach is a very demanding love, who makes some wierd demands, as sometimes do some tyrannical girls.

My only remorse: not to have sufficient time to study exhaustively the cantatas, the most amazing musical corpus ever produced by the human being.


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on October 31, 2010, 08:27:11 AM
I think one needs one cycle to be sure to cover them all, as some aren't particularly often recorded. The one can fill in with discs of sepcial quality, personal favorites etc. Of course, that would be the sane approach. Lots of wisdom in Antoine's post BTW.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on October 31, 2010, 05:00:38 PM
Did you like the new recording at least?

let me put it this way: I'll stick to Gardiner and Herreweghe, which are the two main components of what I have of the cantatas (I don't have a complete cycle, or even bits and pieces of cycles to make a complete set).

I did play the old recording tonight.  I didn't hear any distortion, but the orchestra often sounded rather muffled, as if it was being recorded through a cloth or something, especially in the sinfonia of BWV 29.   Of the three boy soprano soloists, two sounded better than what I remembered, but the boy who sings in BWV 61 (one Seppi Kronwitter)has absolutely no breath control and sounds like he's panting through most of his aria.  And while the boy who sings in BWV 140 (Alan Bergius) is good enough, the context nowadays (love duet with an adult male partner, even if it is a mystical love duet) is a little strange. The boy soprano in BWV 29 is also capable enough, but anonymous, being listed only as "soloist of the Wiener Sangknaben".   Going by the details in the liner notes, the old recording was not remastered. 

I'll probably listen to the new recording tomorrow or the day after and report back with detailed impressions (been a few months since I've listened to it).  For some reason, I seem to have played a different version of BWV 140 for the last three or four nights in a row.  One thing to note is that while Christian Gerharer is a soloist in the new recording, he actually only does on 48 second recitative in BWV 29, and Bernarda Fink does hardly better--including recitative and aria, two minutes worth of performing time.

The new recording uses the Arnold Schoenberg Chor and female sopranos;  in the liner notes Harnoncourt says he made the switch because boys voices are breaking at an earlier age nowadays.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 31, 2010, 06:51:51 PM
let me put it this way: I'll stick to Gardiner and Herreweghe, which are the two main components of what I have of the cantatas (I don't have a complete cycle, or even bits and pieces of cycles to make a complete set).

I did play the old recording tonight.  I didn't hear any distortion, but the orchestra often sounded rather muffled, as if it was being recorded through a cloth or something, especially in the sinfonia of BWV 29.   Of the three boy soprano soloists, two sounded better than what I remembered, but the boy who sings in BWV 61 (one Seppi Kronwitter)has absolutely no breath control and sounds like he's panting through most of his aria.  And while the boy who sings in BWV 140 (Alan Bergius) is good enough, the context nowadays (love duet with an adult male partner, even if it is a mystical love duet) is a little strange. The boy soprano in BWV 29 is also capable enough, but anonymous, being listed only as "soloist of the Wiener Sangknaben".   Going by the details in the liner notes, the old recording was not remastered. 

I'll probably listen to the new recording tomorrow or the day after and report back with detailed impressions (been a few months since I've listened to it).  For some reason, I seem to have played a different version of BWV 140 for the last three or four nights in a row.  One thing to note is that while Christian Gerharer is a soloist in the new recording, he actually only does on 48 second recitative in BWV 29, and Bernarda Fink does hardly better--including recitative and aria, two minutes worth of performing time.

The new recording uses the Arnold Schoenberg Chor and female sopranos;  in the liner notes Harnoncourt says he made the switch because boys voices are breaking at an earlier age nowadays.

Thanks for sharing your impressions, kishnevi. 

Tonight I'm listening to Suzuki's disc 7: BWV 61, 63, 132 & 172.

Yesterday I did some research on You Tube and one video with BWV 29 had exactly the same distortion (0:58 and several times after that):

http://www.youtube.com/v/bIkxz0etjmc

BTW, what a great tenor was Kurt Equiluz!

 :)

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on November 01, 2010, 04:29:29 AM
l
I did play the old recording tonight.  I didn't hear any distortion, but the orchestra often sounded rather muffled, as if it was being recorded through a cloth or something, especially in the sinfonia of BWV 29.   Of the three boy soprano soloists, two sounded better than what I remembered, but the boy who sings in BWV 61 (one Seppi Kronwitter)has absolutely no breath control and sounds like he's panting through most of his aria.  And while the boy who sings in BWV 140 (Alan Bergius) is good enough, the context nowadays (love duet with an adult male partner, even if it is a mystical love duet) is a little strange. The boy soprano in BWV 29 is also capable enough, but anonymous, being listed only as "soloist of the Wiener Sangknaben".   Going by the details in the liner notes, the old recording was not remastered. ...

my impressions from last year: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-recordings-of-2009-9.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-recordings-of-2009-9.html)
Quote
# 9 - Reissue

Bach, 3 Cantatas juxtaposed, Harnoncourt, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 756794

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yFrj-fnyL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
J.S.Bach, Cantatas BWV 140, 61, 29 (x2),
N.Harnoncourt / Concentus Musicus Wien et al.
DHM (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002K9C0RK/goodmusicguide-20)
Technically this isn’t a re-issue but another heartening sign that Sony (through its Deutsche Harmonia Mundi imprint) has started to put more thought into their classical releases. Nikolaus Harnoncourt in new recordings of three Bach Cantatas (BWV 140 “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme”, BWV 61 “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland”, and BWV 29 “Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir”. Harnoncourt recording Bach is an event; when he works with soloists like Christine Schäfer, Bernarda Fink, Werner Güra, Christian Gerhaher, and Gerald Finley—all among my very favorite singers—even more so. The result is, not surprisingly, a very fine, notable new Bach Cantata CD that dedicated Bachians would not want to miss. What turns this from “very fine” to “best of the year” is this twist, though: Sony licensed and includes the same three cantatas from Harnoncourt’s Alte Musik/Teldec cantata cycle and allows direct comparison between his Bach from 30 years ago and what he does now.

The results of comparison can be curious: I liked the earlier version of BWV 140 so much, I could see myself preferring it over the newer version (with Julia Kleiter, Kurt Streit, and Anton Scharinger). The Concentus Musicus has become a more refined orchestra and the soloists and especially the choir(s) (famous boys’ choirs then, the highly professional Arnold Schoenberg Choir now) are better now than they were. But there is something quite natural, quite enchanting to the old ways. Even the boy soprano is no bother in this cantata: one accepts the natural shortcomings of a boy’s voice and tries to focus instead on its elements that another, trained adult voice cannot possess. Kudos, little Alan. But in BWV 61, the stunner among the newly recorded three cantatas, the boy soprano turns matters into perpetual cringe. Seppi tries way too hard—and comparison to Schäfer is simply cruel. Sold at the price of one CD, this side-by-side new and re-release is a winner.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Scarpia on November 01, 2010, 06:42:31 AM
BTW, what a great tenor was Kurt Equiluz!

Yes, the best.  It was his evangelist in the Harnoncourt St. Matthew Passion that turned me on to Bach vocal music.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on November 01, 2010, 06:32:47 PM
And having listened to the "new" Harnoncourt recordings tonight--
the new recordings are better engineered.  Well they ought to be, given the 30 year interval :)  But no muffled orchestra.

And no boy sopranos--a plus in my ears, while Werner Gura sounded better in BWV 29 than Equiluz.  But Equiluz was better in BWV 61.  In BWV 140, about equal. Go figure.

But I still prefer Gardiner in BWV 61 and 140.  (Don't have anyone else in BWV 29).   The recording of BWV 140 I like least, btw,  is an absolutely somnolent performance under Karl Richter, in which the performers needed to heed that Wachet auf!  more than a little (but I keep the CD because of a glorious Magnificat that's coupled with it.)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 02, 2010, 11:42:03 AM
Yes, the best.  It was his evangelist in the Harnoncourt St. Matthew Passion that turned me on to Bach vocal music.
I recognize this feeling. Yet in a slightly different way. As a child, I immediately got hooked on the vocal Bach, but Kurt Equiluz really convinced me of the refinement and expressiveness of Bach's recitatives.
(In arias I think that Christoph Prégardien deserves the 'crown'.)

I've been so lucky to hear Equiluz sing live in the Evangelist parts in BWV 244, 245 and 248 on several occasions. The moments he sang Jesus von Nazareth, der Juden König (SJP) and Sie schrieen aber noch mehr und sprachen (SMP) were bloodcurdling and remain unsurpassed IMO.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on September 18, 2011, 05:27:14 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41a5LedF9lL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TARpsKY-L._AA300_.jpg)

Enjoying this volume this morning....how do the other volumes hold up?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on September 18, 2011, 08:39:26 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41a5LedF9lL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TARpsKY-L._AA300_.jpg)

Enjoying this volume this morning....how do the other volumes hold up?

Good job to bring life to this thread again! :)

Can't say much on Gardiner's Bach Voyage, though. I do have about a dozen DG/Archiv cantata recordings, and, in general, they do not belong to my faves. But there are Gardiner fans all around the world, that's for sure.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on September 18, 2011, 09:15:18 AM
I still have another 45 CD's to go with this set and have most of Gardiner's and Herreweghe's cantatas and all their passions.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41vLAJPH0JL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

If the Euro drops enough against the Dollar, I may even pick up the box by Koopman ...

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on September 18, 2011, 09:35:20 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41a5LedF9lL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TARpsKY-L._AA300_.jpg)

Enjoying this volume this morning....how do the other volumes hold up?

I don't have this particular volume, but I have 7 others from this series, and I need to get going on rounding up the rest. 
Essential response is that quality is (IMO) good throughout--or at least, generally consistent, so if you like one volume of the series, you'll probably like the rest--and if you don't care for a particular volume, you probably won't like the others.

BTW, how many total volumes are there in this series (not counting the ones issued on DG/Archiv, which I have as part of the Archiv Gardiner Bach big box)?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on September 18, 2011, 10:01:44 AM
What do you all think of Dietrich Henschel?  I don't like him at all, I think he barks, and for that reason I haven't been very enthusiastic about  Gardiner's recordings -- but voice is a very personal thing.

Whenever I hear JEG in London he seems to get better and better in baroque choral music -- I remember some Bach motets a couple years ago which were really special, much better than the recording. No soloists in motets of course.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on September 18, 2011, 10:07:17 AM
What do you all think of Dietrich Henschel?  I don't like him at all, I think he barks, and for that reason I haven't been very enthusiastic about  Gardiner's recordings -- but voice is a very personal thing.

Whenever I hear JEG in London he seems to get better and better -- I remember some motets a couple years ago which were really special, much better than the recording.

I like Henschel better as a recitative singer than in the arias.

First time I heard his voice was in the tv-series Die zweite Heimat, early nineties.
As an actor playing a conservatory singing student, he was the main singer in one of the 'premières' of modern work (we're talking about the raving sixties in this case) by the main character, Hermann W. Simon (played by Henry Arnold). Already in that particular piece (probably composed by movie composer Nikos Mamangakis), as a young bloke, he was more convincing in the reciting parts.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0378064/
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on September 18, 2011, 10:11:02 AM
What do you all think of Dietrich Henschel?  I don't like him at all, I think he barks, and for that reason I haven't been very enthusiastic about  Gardiner's recordings -- but voice is a very personal thing.

Whenever I hear JEG in London he seems to get better and better in baroque choral music -- I remember some Bach motets a couple years ago which were really special, much better than the recording. No soloists in motets of course.

Dietrich Henschel used to study voice with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.  The Dietrich's clearly had some affinity for each other ...     :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bulldog on September 18, 2011, 11:53:14 AM
BTW, how many total volumes are there in this series (not counting the ones issued on DG/Archiv, which I have as part of the Archiv Gardiner Bach big box)?

So far - 27 volumes (51 discs).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bogey on September 18, 2011, 01:03:17 PM
Is the Gardiner expense due to the packaging?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on September 18, 2011, 05:53:48 PM
Is the Gardiner expense due to the packaging?

I think their 2-CD sets are not particularly expensive, if you buy them at the right place: Presto Classical. $22 every double set. Even less if you wait the right moment (beginning this year the price was $18 during some weeks). 


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Todd on October 05, 2011, 07:35:42 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51zB5vcyvlL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


Any thoughts on whether Rilling makes sense in big box form?  The complete set is now available for a little over a buck a disc, and while I can certainly live without another complete set, it might be a good buy if the performances are good.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on October 05, 2011, 07:43:04 AM
Any thoughts on whether Rilling makes sense in big box form?  The complete set is now available for a little over a buck a disc, and while I can certainly live without another complete set, it might be a good buy if the performances are good.

There are some really gorgeous bits in this collection... and if you are not dead-set on HIP-Bach, it's a very fine set. Occasionally I get a sense of old-fashiondness when I listen to the cantatas (I have most of them in the topically-related smaller boxes), but most of the time I love listening. (Comparative listening does not fare that well... but on-its-own-account enjoyment equals all but the averages of Koopman, Herreweghe, and Kuijken which are a cut above.)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Todd on October 05, 2011, 07:49:55 AM
There are some really gorgeous bits in this collection... and if you are not dead-set on HIP-Bach, it's a very fine set. Occasionally I get a sense of old-fashiondness when I listen to the cantatas (I have most of them in the topically-related smaller boxes), but most of the time I love listening. (Comparative listening does not fare that well... but on-its-own-account enjoyment equals all but the averages of Koopman, Herreweghe, and Kuijken which are a cut above.)



Thanks, good to know.  I'm definitely not averse to non-HIP Bach, and my only other exposure to many of the cantatas come from the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt set.  I came away from that set appreciating the playing but realizing that I vastly prefer female sopranos. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 05, 2011, 08:35:35 PM
Any thoughts on whether Rilling makes sense in big box form?  The complete set is now available for a little over a buck a disc, and while I can certainly live without another complete set, it might be a good buy if the performances are good.

I have eight discs of Rilling's cantatas. Love them. The "oldfashiondness" jl speaks of might be a reference to the earlier recordings - the ones from the '70s are a bit more 'spread out' in conception and less concise. But still extremely good.

As he moves forward in the series the performances become more HIP influenced, with added clarity and more spunk. It's an interesting progression and fun to witness.

 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bulldog on October 05, 2011, 09:02:11 PM
I acquired about 10 of the Rilling cantata discs.  They might still be in my home, maybe not; doesn't make much difference because I don't have any continued interest in them.  For me, Rilling doesn't hold up to the likes of Gardiner, Suzuki, Herreweghe, Harnoncourt, Rifkin, Kuijken, etc.  I'd pass even if this big set was free; it would take up valuable space and just collect dust.

I'm not saying the above as a strict adherent to period instruments.  I have the Bach cantata discs on Naxos conducted by Helmut Muller-Bruhl and find them a major improvement over the Rilling performances (Richter is also a better proposition).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on October 05, 2011, 09:54:44 PM
I acquired about 10 of the Rilling cantata discs.  They might still be in my home, maybe not; doesn't make much difference because I don't have any continued interest in them.  For me, Rilling doesn't hold up to the likes of Gardiner, Suzuki, Herreweghe, Harnoncourt, Rifkin, Kuijken, etc.  I'd pass even if this big set was free; it would take up valuable space and just collect dust.

I'm with you. Rilling's Bach (any) just entirely rubs me the wrong way - rhythmic treatment, phrasing  - it just sounds off.....and terribly dull. ::) Despite some very fine singers he uses.

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 07, 2011, 09:40:14 AM
I'm with you. Rilling's Bach (any) just entirely rubs me the wrong way - rhythmic treatment, phrasing  - it just sounds off.....and terribly dull. ::) Despite some very fine singers he uses.

I have about a dozen Rilling Bach cantata discs and in general I agree with this. But yes, there are plenty Rilling admirers around the world, so ....
Maybe Todd should try to find some listening examples and check out if he can live with good old Helmuth.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: bigshot on October 07, 2011, 11:17:11 AM
I love the set, but I'm not so stringent about HIP as a lot of other people. There's some fantastic music making in that box.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 08, 2011, 06:15:24 AM
I'm with you. Rilling's Bach (any) just entirely rubs me the wrong way - rhythmic treatment, phrasing  - it just sounds off.....and terribly dull. ::) Despite some very fine singers he uses.

Q

When I listen to Rilling's Bach, I try to get the best out of the soloists since he did have some great soloists like Arleen Auger, Julia Hamari, etc in many of his recordings.  Indeed, phrasing and tempi of his orchestral playing may not be as pleasing as those by Herreweghe, Leonhardt and Gardiner, the outstanding vocal performances just cannot be summarily dismissed IMO ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Jay F on October 08, 2011, 09:48:46 AM
When I listen to Rilling's Bach, I try to get the best out of the soloists since he did have some great soloists like Arleen Auger, Julia Hamari, etc in many of his recordings.  Indeed, phrasing and tempi of his orchestral playing may not be as pleasing as those by Herreweghe, Leonhardt and Gardiner, the outstanding vocal performances just cannot be summarily dismissed IMO ...
Stuart - What would you recommend as the first three CDs to buy of Bach's Cantatas, to someone who's not that familiar with them?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 08, 2011, 10:00:38 AM
Stuart - What would you recommend as the first three CDs to buy of Bach's Cantatas, to someone who's not that familiar with them?

Personally, I started with Cantatas No. 80, 140 and 147 since they are the best known cantatas composed by JS Bach.  Cantatas No. 80, Mighty Fortress is our Lord, whose libretto was actually by Martin Luther, the great German Protestant reformer, clearly reflected JS Bach as a devout Lutheran.  Magnificat - Cantata No. 243 is also excellent.  But then, all of Bach works range from good to great.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VT2ENVXZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on October 09, 2011, 04:45:37 AM
I find it difficult to believe you would promote this version of the Magnificat. This is fairly early Eliot Gardiner, the unreconstructed, hard driven, speed merchant. The tenor is rushed off his feet and the whole thing is done as though done for a dare.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Jay F on October 09, 2011, 08:16:28 AM
I find it difficult to believe you would promote this version of the Magnificat. This is fairly early Eliot Gardiner, the unreconstructed, hard driven, speed merchant. The tenor is rushed off his feet and the whole thing is done as though done for a dare.

Mike
Assuming you're talking to Coopmv, he and I know each other, and he is aware that I have a proclivity for buying Philips recordings. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on October 09, 2011, 08:19:31 AM
What specific qualities do Phillips display that might temp you to buy, even if the performance is not necessarily recommended? I don't understand the aim to buy the product of a specific company.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 09, 2011, 08:50:21 AM
Personally, I started with Cantatas No. 80, 140 and 147 since they are the best known cantatas composed by JS Bach.  Cantatas No. 80, Mighty Fortress is our Lord, whose libretto was actually by Martin Luther, the great German Protestant reformer, clearly reflected JS Bach as a devout Lutheran.  Magnificat - Cantata No. 243 is also excellent.  But then, all of Bach works range from good to great.

Not a bad selection indeed!

BWV 80 and the Magnificat BWV 243 are coupled in a very good recording by Philippe Herreweghe and his gang (Harmonia Mundi).
BWV 140 & 147 are coupled by many others (I guess), a.o. by John Eliot Gardiner (DG/Archiv). A bit shallow, but lovely singing in the duetto's of BWV 140 and also by Ruth Holton in her aria "Bereite dir, Jesu, noch itzo die Bahn" of BWV 147. Unfortunately, the famous chorale(s) on "Jesus bleibet meine Freude" (AKA "Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring) are taken too fast IMO.
For a third try-out disc I would go for some early Bach cantatas. The recording of BWV 4, 12, 106 and 196 by Cantus Cölln & Konrad Junghänel is very good (Harmonia Mundi again, also on hybrid SACD). It's OVPP (One Voice Per Part), but sung and played with great intensity. Again, though: tempi are sometimes too rushed, especially in the first and final chorus of BWV 4.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Jay F on October 09, 2011, 08:55:29 AM
What specific qualities do Phillips display that might tempt you to buy, even if the performance is not necessarily recommended? I don't understand the aim to buy the product of a specific company.

Mike
Oh, I don't buy them to the exclusion of all other brands, or anything.

I liked the first two classical CDs I ever bought (1987), Brendel's Schubert 960 and Mozart 488 (PC 23) and 595 (PC 27), so I continued buying Philips CDs (among other brands). I guess it was the sound quality, plus the fact that I was brand new to classical, and any method of winnowing out the good ones from all that was available then was a real help. I eventually discovered Penguin, and became more familiar with a wider range of labels, artists, and composers, but Philips continued to seem like a label I could depend on.

Then, when I started buying LPs in 1998, I generally found the sound quality better on the used Philips Records I found than, say, most LPs on DG, EMI/Angel or CBS. When I joined another music forum in 2007, I met Coopmv, and discovered he had preferred the s.q. of Philips Records back in the LP era (which was before I started collecting classical, FWIW), so it became a topic of conversation for us.

In any case, I've ordered the JEG Magnificat. And I will probably order Herreweghe's if I can decide which edition I want. I have an equally strong liking for many HM recordings.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Jay F on October 09, 2011, 09:24:22 AM
BWV 80 and the Magnificat BWV 243 are coupled in a very good recording by Philippe Herreweghe and his gang (Harmonia Mundi).

I'm going to listen to the Gardiner first, but I'll probably buy the Herreweghe, too. There are numerous iterations available. Which one do you have?

Quote
BWV 140 & 147 are coupled by many others (I guess), a.o. by John Eliot Gardiner (DG/Archiv). A bit shallow, but lovely singing in the duetto's of BWV 140 and also by Ruth Holton in her aria "Bereite dir, Jesu, noch itzo die Bahn" of BWV 147. Unfortunately, the famous chorale(s) on "Jesus bleibet meine Freude" (AKA "Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring) are taken too fast IMO.

This is the only disc I already have of the Cantatas. I'm listening to it now. I'm enjoying it, though I'm not in love with it. I wonder if it's that "shallow" quality. Do you have one you like more?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 09, 2011, 09:58:22 AM
I'm going to listen to the Gardiner first, but I'll probably buy the Herreweghe, too. There are numerous iterations available. Which one do you have?

I think the first one issued, around 1990.
But yes, it has been re-released many times since. Contratenor Gérard Lesne, who's one of my faves, is among the singers.

EDIT: Herreweghe recorded the 'standard' score of the Magnicifat in D-Major (BWV 243) AND also the alternative Christmas version in E flat (BWV 243a). Both of them are recommendable. The 2nd one is available as a 2-cd called 'Leipziger Weihnachtskantaten'. But only the first recording (BWV 243) is combined with BWV 80 and has been re-issued many times.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Jay F on October 09, 2011, 10:32:21 AM
I think the first one issued, around 1990.
But yes, it has been re-released many times since. Contratenor Gérard Lesne, who's one of my faves, is among the singers.

EDIT: Herreweghe recorded the 'standard' score of the Magnicifat in D-Major (BWV 243) AND also the alternative Christmas version in E flat (BWV 243a). Both of them are recommendable. The 2nd one is available as a 2-cd called 'Leipziger Weihnachtskantaten'. But only the first recording (BWV 243) is combined with BWV 80 and has been re-issued many times.

I've found a 4-CD box set that has both of them, plus BWV80, 8, 63, 125, and 138. I think I might buy it.

http://www.amazon.com/Bach-J-S-Magnificat-Christmas-Cantatas/dp/B003QLY5J2/ref=sr_1_4?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1318183750&sr=1-4.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 09, 2011, 11:56:11 AM
Not a bad selection indeed!

BWV 80 and the Magnificat BWV 243 are coupled in a very good recording by Philippe Herreweghe and his gang (Harmonia Mundi).
BWV 140 & 147 are coupled by many others (I guess), a.o. by John Eliot Gardiner (DG/Archiv). A bit shallow, but lovely singing in the duetto's of BWV 140 and also by Ruth Holton in her aria "Bereite dir, Jesu, noch itzo die Bahn" of BWV 147. Unfortunately, the famous chorale(s) on "Jesus bleibet meine Freude" (AKA "Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring) are taken too fast IMO.
For a third try-out disc I would go for some early Bach cantatas. The recording of BWV 4, 12, 106 and 196 by Cantus Cölln & Konrad Junghänel is very good (Harmonia Mundi again, also on hybrid SACD). It's OVPP (One Voice Per Part), but sung and played with great intensity. Again, though: tempi are sometimes too rushed, especially in the first and final chorus of BWV 4.

BTW, I do agree with you and Mike that JE Gardiner was a tad too fast in the Bach cantatas he recorded a while back.  That is why over the past two years, I have added most if not all of Herreweghe's recordings to my JS Bach choral works collection ... 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 09, 2011, 12:09:03 PM
I've found a 4-CD box set that has both of them, plus BWV80, 8, 63, 125, and 138. I think I might buy it.

http://www.amazon.com/Bach-J-S-Magnificat-Christmas-Cantatas/dp/B003QLY5J2/ref=sr_1_4?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1318183750&sr=1-4.

The 4-CD set probably includes the following single, which has only been added to my collection a few months ago.  BTW, a more recent release by Veldhoven and the Netherlands Bach Society, which is now in my SACD collection, is also worth looking into ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61KXSFM0ZPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51PEi8A4VuL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Josquin des Prez on October 09, 2011, 02:27:43 PM
Anybody knows how long before the completing of the Suzuki set? I decided a long time ago make it my primary set but its taking forever. Its rubs me that i do not yet posses the complete cantatas of Bach.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Bulldog on October 09, 2011, 04:08:58 PM
I find it difficult to believe you would promote this version of the Magnificat. This is fairly early Eliot Gardiner, the unreconstructed, hard driven, speed merchant. The tenor is rushed off his feet and the whole thing is done as though done for a dare.

Mike

I rather like Gardiner's Magnificat - different strokes and all that. ;)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 09, 2011, 07:08:52 PM
I've found a 4-CD box set that has both of them, plus BWV80, 8, 63, 125, and 138. I think I might buy it.

http://www.amazon.com/Bach-J-S-Magnificat-Christmas-Cantatas/dp/B003QLY5J2/ref=sr_1_4?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1318183750&sr=1-4.

Indeed. Both recordings of the Magnificat, plus BWV 80. PLUS: the rest is also top-notch Bach/Herreweghe. The alto aria of BWV 125 is almost unreal in its beauty. This box would make a splendid choice IMO.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 09, 2011, 07:17:17 PM
Anybody knows how long before the completing of the Suzuki set? I decided a long time ago make it my primary set but its taking forever. Its rubs me that i do not yet posses the complete cantatas of Bach.

(Almost) the same here. Still, I have the Leusink (never listen to it though) and the 'classic' Leonhardt/Harnoncourt (was temporarily budget-priced around here some 5 years ago).

Suzuki has got probably about 10 volumes to go. I think it will take him around 3 or 4 years to complete from now.

But you know how it goes with the Far East: they teach us how to be patient.
Also in Japan? Maybe not, but if a Japanese conductor combines his Far East roots with the patient music of Bach .... I rest my case. ;)

Anyway, my own Bach/Suzuki collection has been slowly growing since 1996 or so. And yes, I've learned to be patient.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 09, 2011, 08:26:41 PM
(Almost) the same here. Still, I have the Leusink (never listen to it though) and the 'classic' Leonhardt/Harnoncourt (was temporarily budget-priced around here some 5 years ago).

Suzuki has got probably about 10 volumes to go. I think it will take him around 3 or 4 years to complete from now.

But you know how it goes with the Far East: they teach us how to be patient.
Also in Japan? Maybe not, but if a Japanese conductor combines his Far East roots with the patient music of Bach .... I rest my case. ;)

Anyway, my own Bach/Suzuki collection has been slowly growing since 1996 or so. And yes, I've learned to be patient.

How long was this set in the making, i.e. what was the total elapsed time between the recordings of the first and the last cantata?  I am quite happy with this set, which I bought in early 2009 but still have another 35 CD's to listen through.  LOL

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/2564699437.jpg)


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 09, 2011, 11:25:07 PM
How long was this set in the making, i.e. what was the total elapsed time between the recordings of the first and the last cantata?  I am quite happy with this set, which I bought in early 2009 but still have another 35 CD's to listen through.  LOL

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/2564699437.jpg)

Very patient Europeans: from 1971 to 1989.
Take your time with listening!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on October 10, 2011, 03:16:59 AM
How long was this set in the making, i.e. what was the total elapsed time between the recordings of the first and the last cantata?  I am quite happy with this set, which I bought in early 2009 but still have another 35 CD's to listen through.  LOL

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/2564699437.jpg)

  This is an excellent set!  I have heard it twice in its entirety since acquiring it in a few years ago.  I have commented on it numerous times here and in the What Are You Listening To? thread.  It might be a struggle (due to its length!)  to get through it the first time around but it WILL grow on you and in time you will find that it is all you want to listen to.  I have used the words RAW and EARNEST to describe the performances. I can not think of any other set that matches this set in that regard.

  marvin
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 10, 2011, 07:46:45 AM
  This is an excellent set!  I have heard it twice in its entirety since acquiring it in a few years ago.  I have commented on it numerous times here and in the What Are You Listening To? thread.  It might be a struggle (due to its length!)  to get through it the first time around but it WILL grow on you and in time you will find that it is all you want to listen to.  I have used the words RAW and EARNEST to describe the performances. I can not think of any other set that matches this set in that regard.

  marvin

I think this set may well be the definitive version of Bach Complete Cantatas, though I have not had the chance to listen to a good number of the cantatas in Koopman set.  While some people may consider Leonhardt's performance on the harpsichord a bit dry at times, the Leonhardt-Consort under his direction  provided some exhilarating performance in this set.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Jay F on October 10, 2011, 07:47:28 AM
How long was this set in the making, i.e. what was the total elapsed time between the recordings of the first and the last cantata?  I am quite happy with this set, which I bought in early 2009 but still have another 35 CD's to listen through.  LOL

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/2564699437.jpg)
Who is this set by, Stuart?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 10, 2011, 08:01:19 AM
  This is an excellent set!  I have heard it twice in its entirety since acquiring it in a few years ago.  I have commented on it numerous times here and in the What Are You Listening To? thread.  It might be a struggle (due to its length!)  to get through it the first time around but it WILL grow on you and in time you will find that it is all you want to listen to.  I have used the words RAW and EARNEST to describe the performances. I can not think of any other set that matches this set in that regard.

  marvin

Hi, marvin. I thought you would maybe interested in reading this short review (written on Amazon) by the great harpsichordist Peter Watchorn. It's short, but very informative and written with a sort of deep emotion:


[5.0 out of 5 stars] The Greatest of all Bach Cantata Recordings, November 8, 2008
By
Peter G. Watchorn (Cambridge, MA USA)
_________
This review is from: Bach: The Sacred Cantatas [Box Set] (Audio CD)
_________
I first wrote this review in 2003 for the previous incarnation of this set. I see that it is now down to under $250 in its new compact format. When I acquired the original LP sets (with scores) between 1971 & 1989 the cost was over $1,300. It is still the greatest and most powerful recording in existence of these works, for, with its various blemishes, it contains the most eloquent musicianship of the pioneers of the Early Music revival from Vienna and Amsterdam. The blemishes are important too, as they eloquently document the rapid development of skills necessary to realise one of the leading musical ideas of our time: attempting to get as close as possible to the actual sounds the composers heard when they wrote their music. As a next-generation member of this fraternity (I am a professional harpsichordist, organist and co-director of several ensembles specializing in Bach's music, and have worked with many of the people on these recordings. I have also written a major biography of one of the members of the generation before Leonhardt & Harnoncourt, the Viennese harpsichordist Isolde Ahlgrimm), I can only reiterate even more strongly what I wrote five years ago and urge lovers of Bach to acquire this set immediately. Here is my original review:

Had this set not been made, then the history of performance practice in the last quarter of the 20th century and beyond would have proceeded very differently. Had this set not been made we would not have many of the current leading figures in the field of early music performance, nearly all of whom were in some way connected with the performance revolution which found its most profound expression in these recordings. For it was during the 14 or so years of this recording project (between 1971 and 1985) that three of the greatest musicians of our time, Gustav Leonhardt, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Frans Bruggen forever altered the public's perception of the surviving remnants of Bach's fabled, but rarely heard, "Jahrgaenge", or yearly cycles of church cantatas. For this reason alone, this recording is of profound importance.
Leonhardt, with his consort in Amsterdam, and Harnoncourt, with his Concentus Musicus of Vienna shared the task of recording, with an unmatched team of vocal and instrumental soloists, Bach's roughly 200 surviving "concerti sacri", perhaps a further hundred being lost to us. It was a repertoire more honoured in the history books than experienced in performance. This enterprise changed that state of affairs for ever.

The arguments which are now sometimes made (chiefly by those who are unaware of the extraordinary and revolutionary step which these performances represented), decrying the slightly "raw" (I prefer "vocal") sound of original instruments, or the occasional shakiness of a boy soprano soloist, miss the point of this enterprise, which was to present the music in a new way using Bach's own contemporary resources. Leonhardt and Harnoncourt are the first to insist that using "historical instruments" makes sense because those are simply the best tools for the job. Re-constituting something old has never been their aim. Rather, their idea was to break free of the mindless tradition of performance which took no account of the sounds that Bach actually had in his head when he created his "well-regulated" music for the churches of Saxony. And how does this work in practice? We are left to marvel at an extraordinary level of accomplishment on the part of nearly everyone associated with this project, vocally and instrumentally.

Gustav Leonhardt was well aware (and hopeful) that subsequent generations would likely improve upon aspects of performance which still remained to be sorted out. But, as he said, it was a start. Indeed, when he and Harnoncourt were jointly awarded the Erasmus prize in the Netherlands in 1980, he remarked, with singular modesty and self-awareness: "It was not done well, but it is remarkable that it was done at all". This tells us more about Leonhardt's famous humility, than it does about the standards of these performances, which are usually (with few exceptions) very high indeed. In many instances they will never be surpassed. What we have here is a glimpse of one of music's "golden" ages captured forever on disc. What the listener will marvel at is the extraordinary assuredness of technique and style which is evident in every one of these cantata performances.

The solo vocal contributions of Kurt Equiluz, Max van Egmond, Paul Esswood, Marjanne Kweksilber (BWV 51) are simply without equal, and the current generation of fine Bach singers would be the first to concede their enormous debt to the participants in this great enterprise (their teachers, in many cases). The choirs should also be singled out for attention: Wiener Sangerknaben, Tolzer Knabenchor, Hannover Knabenchor, Choir of Kings College, Cambridge as well as directors Heinz Hennig, Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, Philippe Herreweghe, David Willcocks and Hans Gillesberger. So Europe's finest were all involved in this.

The instrumental soloists: Frans Bruggen, Walter van Hauwe, Kees Boeke, Anner Bylsma, Jurg Schaftlein, Lucy van Dael, Sigiswald, Wieland and Bart Kuijken, Ton Koopman, Bob van Asperen, Lidewij Schiefes, Alice Harnoncourt, Herbert and Herwig Tachezi, Erich Hobarth, Friedemann Immer - to list only the more familiar names - have created a whole world of intelligent and vital performance which has transformed musical thought in our time. No-one in any area of musical performance has remained untouched by the ideas which are so forcefully presented here (even those who'd be the last to admit it). The fundamental idea of treating each period's music as a vital and representative product of its time is one which now extends to music of all periods, signaling the fulfilment of one of Leonhardt's and Harnoncourt's chief aims: to eliminate the artificial distinction between mainstream and "early" music, and, instead, to treat all music with proper respect for its origins and context.

What this recording continues to offer the listener is the experience of hearing the music for the first time, which the technical polish of subsequent surveys cannot quite match. For the young person wishing to learn about music, there is no better starting point than investing in this set, now available at a fraction of its original cost (unfortunately, minus the scores, which were one of the hallmarks of this series in its first incarnation on LP.

It seems pointless to list highlights, but one might start with the following: BWV 1, 6, 8, 11, 13, 19, 23, 29 and so on. The list is endless. Better still, buy the set and begin a life-time's voyage of discovery instead. Bach, Leonhardt and Harnoncourt: you can't do better than that. Oh, and we should also acknowledge the contribution of the founder recording producer for this project, Wolf Erichson (even though he didn't stay with Teldec to the end of it). Without him, the revolution in informed and intelligent music performance on recordings would never have happened.

2008: At its new price and in its new format, this set is now within reach of everyone who loves Bach's music, eloquently performed by the greatest specialist musicians of our time. One of the pinnacles of recording.

Peter Watchorn (2008 & 2003) 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 10, 2011, 08:01:50 AM
Who is this set by, Stuart?

Gustav Leonhardt and Nikolaus Harnoncourt with their respective ensembles.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Jay F on October 10, 2011, 08:32:00 AM
Gustav Leonhardt and Nikolaus Harnoncourt with their respective ensembles.
Any overlap or duplications?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 10, 2011, 09:01:55 AM
Any overlap or duplications?

I doubt there are any overlaps, though I am not 100% sure.  I believe another set by Ton Koopman has comparable number of CD's.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on October 10, 2011, 09:11:18 AM
Any overlap or duplications?

More a collaborative effort.

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/H&L-Rec2.htm
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: marvinbrown on October 12, 2011, 06:29:57 PM

  Excellent review Antoine Marchand 8) thank you for posting it.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on October 12, 2011, 11:48:43 PM
More a collaborative effort.

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/H&L-Rec2.htm

Precisely.

I should also add, despite or because the fine and emotionally charged Watchorn review above, that the set is more important than it is good.
The musical standards have come a LONG way since then, and the trebles being used can be taxing on the ears.
The project was stunning and revolutionary in a way the first complete Bach Cantata set (Rilling) wasn't... and anyone collecting the LPs
with the scores among them (!) remembers it fondly; it left a huge emotional footprint. That said, on purely musical terms, I don't think
it's not really competition with Koopman, the only other HIP set that's complete and out there... nor with any of the HIP sets under way.
At least it's better than the incomplete Rotzsch, though... largely because the latter has sound issues that the performances can't overcome.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 13, 2011, 03:02:36 AM
I should also add, despite or because the fine and emotionally Watchorn review above, that the set is more important than it is good.
The musical standards have come a LONG way since then, and the trebles being used can be taxing on the ears.
Yes, I know some people feel that way. Just yesterday I talked with a good friend of mine who thinks similarly regarding Leonhardt's version of the harpsichord concertos (another milestone, IMHO). Beyond of the usual critic against the treble voices sung by boys, I consider difficult to think these things in terms of "progress", probably because I don't feel anything out of place when I hear the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt cycle. I even enjoy some limitations and trepidations of the juvenile voices as a sort of evocation of the human limitations and trepidations before their Creator, as Watchorn suggests... But after all I also enjoy those old SEON recordings which many people consider almost obsolete today, both in performing and sonic terms.

... it's not really competition with Koopman, the only other HIP set that's complete and out there... nor with any of the HIP sets under way.
At least it's better than the incomplete Rotzsch, though... largely because the latter has sound issues that the performances can't overcome.
Don't forget Leusink's (Brilliant) and Gardiner's (Archiv/SDG) as complete sets of sacred cantatas.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on October 13, 2011, 04:04:01 AM

Don't forget Leusink's (Brilliant) and Gardiner's (Archiv/SDG) as complete sets of sacred cantatas.

Ah, yes, Leusink is easy to forget. In more than one way. Is Gardiner finished yet? Even if, it's not a coherent / complete set and not available as such. And, much as I love, love, love those SDG volumes aesthetically, I don't think Gardiner's ad-hoc efforts, though brilliant at their best, can touch Koopman. Then again, they do have that 'human, fallible' element in them, as could be said of Harnoncourt / Leonhardt.

Incidentally I really like the SEON recordings of Leonhard (and others) that I have... haven't ever detected anything there that my ears reject.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 13, 2011, 05:48:32 AM
Ah, yes, Leusink is easy to forget. In more than one way. Is Gardiner finished yet? Even if, it's not a coherent / complete set and not available as such. And, much as I love, love, love those SDG volumes aesthetically, I don't think Gardiner's ad-hoc efforts, though brilliant at their best, can touch Koopman. Then again, they do have that 'human, fallible' element in them, as could be said of Harnoncourt / Leonhardt.

Incidentally I really like the SEON recordings of Leonhard (and others) that I have... haven't ever detected anything there that my ears reject.

I disagree about Leusink. I think it’s a cycle with several enjoyable aspects, generally the instrumental forces, some excellent singers (Ruth Holton is a remarkable case) and a general “consistency” of style probably derived in a good measure from the short period of recording. For instance, I clearly prefer Leusink over Rilling.   

Yes, Gardiner has finished his traversal: 27 vols. on SDG (some of them single discs), plus 12 CDs on Archiv.

Incidentally I really like the SEON recordings of Leonhard (and others) that I have... haven't ever detected anything there that my ears reject.
Then we have a complete agreement here.  :)


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: chasmaniac on October 13, 2011, 05:57:11 AM
I disagree about Leusink. I think it’s a cycle with several enjoyable aspects, generally the instrumental forces, some excellent singers (Ruth Holton is a remarkable case) and a general “consistency” of style probably derived in a good measure from the short period of recording. For instance, I clearly prefer Leusink over Rilling.

Lots of folk dump on the Leusinck, but I think he's OK by and large. His countertenor, that Buwalda chap, on the other hand...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 13, 2011, 06:00:43 AM
His countertenor, that Buwalda chap, on the other hand...

I agree; that guy is a weak point.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 13, 2011, 06:19:14 AM
And, much as I love, love, love those SDG volumes aesthetically, I don't think Gardiner's ad-hoc efforts, though brilliant at their best, can touch Koopman. Then again, they do have that 'human, fallible' element in them, as could be said of Harnoncourt / Leonhardt.

Although over the years Gardiner's recordings have grown on me, I still prefer Koopman. It's curious because yesterday the conversation with my friend also included that 'human, fallible' element present (IMO) in Koopman's vocal interpretations. That's the reason because I prefer (!) Koopman over Herreweghe and Suzuki, both of them supreme beauticians, but frequently too much "impersonal" and "angelical" to my taste. I search for a chorus of men singing (beautifully, painfully) to God, more than a chorus of angels singing our miseries, pains and joys.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on October 13, 2011, 07:15:43 AM
I disagree about Leusink. I think it’s a cycle with several enjoyable aspects, generally the instrumental forces, some excellent singers (Ruth Holton is a remarkable case) and a general “consistency” of style probably derived in a good measure from the short period of recording. For instance, I clearly prefer Leusink over Rilling.   


Oh, we don't disagree that much over Leusink. Certainly more even than Rilling... and I don't mind the patch-and-record style in which is was made. It's certainly better than its reputation... but it's also not top-tier. If I prefer Rilling then that's only because in the Rilling-style I can't readily find anything else whereas in the Leusink-style (i.e. HIP) I can, and considerably better. Like Koopman. Or Herreweghe, for I do like that beautician. :-) (Suzuki not quite so much yet; if I need aggressively HIP I adore the 1-year cycle of Kuijken on Accent SACDs.)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: chasmaniac on October 13, 2011, 07:58:33 AM
if I need aggressively HIP I adore the 1-year cycle of Kuijken on Accent SACDs

This makes me hungry, but it will have to be finished and boxed before I can afford to eat it.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on October 13, 2011, 08:06:01 AM
This makes me hungry, but it will have to be finished and boxed before I can afford to eat it.

I don't know how you look so I imagined that cat in your avatar (with that expression) said those words... ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 13, 2011, 08:10:14 AM
This makes me hungry, but it will have to be finished and boxed before I can afford to eat it.

You won't neeed to wait for a long time because Kuijken will record just one cantata for every Sunday of the liturgical year. Therefore, his complete cycle will only have around 20 discs. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 13, 2011, 08:21:30 AM
Oh, we don't disagree that much over Leusink. Certainly more even than Rilling... and I don't mind the patch-and-record style in which is was made. It's certainly better than its reputation... but it's also not top-tier. If I prefer Rilling then that's only because in the Rilling-style I can't readily find anything else whereas in the Leusink-style (i.e. HIP) I can, and considerably better. Like Koopman. Or Herreweghe, for I do like that beautician. :-) (Suzuki not quite so much yet; if I need aggressively HIP I adore the 1-year cycle of Kuijken on Accent SACDs.)

I would say our tastes are not that disimilar in this field, Jens. I think the more significant differences are regarding Rilling (I own his complete cycle, but I don't like it at all) and maybe Suzuki. Regarding the latter it happens to me something weird. When I talk/write about his performances I'm usually rather critic; but when I listen to something of his discs, I find a lot of moments of overwhelming beauty. Well, I suppose I'm not always a fair man.  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: chasmaniac on October 13, 2011, 08:45:46 AM
I don't know how you look so I imagined that cat in your avatar (with that expression) said those words... ;D

That's Leo, pictured pining illicitly for some BWV 199 - Herze swimming im Blut.
 :D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on October 13, 2011, 09:54:48 AM
I would say our tastes are not that disimilar in this field, Jens. I think the more significant differences are regarding Rilling (I own his complete cycle, but I don't like it at all) and maybe Suzuki. Regarding the latter it happens to me something weird. When I talk/write about his performances I'm usually rather critic; but when I listen to something of his discs, I find a lot of moments of overwhelming beauty. Well, I suppose I'm not always a fair man.  :)

Do you like the discs with Yoshikazu Mera?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 13, 2011, 10:55:53 AM
Do you like the discs with Yoshikazu Mera?

Yes, I have enjoyed very much his collaborations with Suzuki. He has an outstandingly pure voice. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on October 13, 2011, 11:39:49 AM
Yes, I have enjoyed very much his collaborations with Suzuki. He has an outstandingly pure voice.

One of those Suzuki recordings with Mera -- vol. 8 with BWV 22 and 23 - is one of my favourite cantata CDs.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Clever Hans on October 13, 2011, 07:03:16 PM
Actually I think the Leonhardt and Harnoncourt set is musically the deepest, with the most textual emphasis, and usually the most satisfying, and has the finest adult soloists in Equiluz and van Egmond.

Koopman is lighter in expression and a little slack in conducting, although with cleaner execution. Certainly not overdone, however.

Compare
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=RfIaTKCTHVM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0pRhMhAWEUw

Suzuki I find consistently more expressive and well balanced in voices than Koopman but still a little uniform and perhaps too reflective sometimes.

Herreweghe's style softened around the edges over the years, which can be heard most clearly when you compare his early passion and b minor mass with the later versions. His earlier cantata recordings are especially great and don't lack polish.
One could see that Harnoncourt's 2nd matthew passion is more molded and flexible in line but without the same frankness and "right" casting, although both evangelists are of the highest order.

Gardiner is very impressive from the standpoint of live execution and some wonderful non-english musicians. On the other hand, I think his style, while dramatic, is a bit slick, and the pilgrimage strikes me as more of a marathon, with a very demanding conductor. Maybe for excitement he misses the liturgical side of things. But these stylistic failings are much more apparent in his inflexible Beethoven set than in the cantatas I've heard, and listeners seem to enjoy them for good reason.

Some people have found the OVPP phenomenon pretty ridiculous, including Leonhardt and Harnoncourt, who both cite how musicians can and do read the same part, for example.
I don't see anything wrong with OVPP, particularly in certain early cantatas, but my impression is that there's no direct evidence of authenticity and the practice is a bit of a fetish.

As Harnoncourt loves to point out, relevance to our time and expressive means is really what matters, the message and content of the music over execution.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 13, 2011, 07:56:56 PM
I agree; that guy is a weak point.

IMHO, Buwalda is one of most consistent performers in this integral. But if one doesn't like his voice and timbre, then there's a problem, I understand that. But at least he knows what he is singing (about). Ruth Holton doesn't, she's sounding flat and unsure and her knowledge of German seems to be quite below level. No wonder she was replaced by Marjon Strijk, who's doing a better job. Apparantly, Holton was much better coached during her Gardiner recordings. That's the main problem with this Leusink cycle: he didn't have enough time to rehearse and coach. I mean: 200 cantates to be recorded in one single year! It's a rushed production, with, in many performances, an ugly screaming choir (especially the sopranos & tenors: they don't blend with the rest) and an ugly screaming tenor Knut Shoch as low points.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 13, 2011, 08:01:36 PM
Actually I think the Leonhardt and Harnoncourt set is musically the deepest, with the most textual emphasis, and usually the most satisfying, and has the finest adult soloists in Equiluz and van Egmond.

Agreement here.

Suzuki I find consistently more expressive and well balanced in voices than Koopman but still a little uniform and perhaps too reflective sometimes.

Again I agree.

Herreweghe's style softened around the edges over the years, which can be heard most clearly when you compare his early passion and b minor mass with the later versions. His earlier cantata recordings are especially great and don't lack polish.

And again! :)

One could see that Harnoncourt's 2nd matthew passion is more molded and flexible in line but without the same frankness and "right" casting, although both evangelists are of the highest order.

Gardiner is very impressive from the standpoint of live execution and some wonderful non-english musicians. On the other hand, I think his style, while dramatic, is a bit slick, and the pilgrimage strikes me as more of a marathon, with a very demanding conductor. Maybe for excitement he misses the liturgical side of things. But these stylistic failings are much more apparent in his inflexible Beethoven set than in the cantatas I've heard, and listeners seem to enjoy them for good reason.

Some people have found the OVPP phenomenon pretty ridiculous, including Leonhardt and Harnoncourt, who both cite how musicians can and do read the same part, for example.
I don't see anything wrong with OVPP, particularly in certain early cantatas, but my impression is that there's no direct evidence of authenticity and the practice is a bit of a fetish.

As Harnoncourt loves to point out, relevance to our time and expressive means is really what matters, the message and content of the music over execution.

And again!
Who are you? ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Clever Hans on October 13, 2011, 08:32:14 PM
Agreement here.

Again I agree.

And again! :)

And again!
Who are you? ;D

!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBZSjiNy110
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 13, 2011, 09:21:53 PM
IMHO, Buwalda is one of most consistent performers in this integral. But if one doesn't like his voice and timbre, then there's a problem, I understand that.
It's a relief. We agree about that voice and timbre are not minor things in a singer.  :)

But at least he knows what he is singing (about). Ruth Holton doesn't, she's sounding flat and unsure and her knowledge of German seems to be quite below level. No wonder she was replaced by Marjon Strijk, who's doing a better job.
Oh no, the theme of the replacements... again.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 13, 2011, 11:35:18 PM
It's a relief. We agree about that voice and timbre are not minor things in a singer.  :)
Oh no, the theme of the replacements... again.

Sorry, didn't know the 'theme' was discussed before.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 14, 2011, 03:29:01 AM
Sorry, didn't know the 'theme' was discussed before.

Yes, I recall when you speculated that Barbara Schlick had also been "separated" from Koopman's project because of a similar sort of "technical incompetence" (aged voice in her case, IIRC). Anyway, I like Holton's interpretations and her pure and "childish" tone.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on October 15, 2011, 11:14:47 PM
Actually I think the Leonhardt and Harnoncourt set is musically the deepest, with the most textual emphasis, and usually the most satisfying, and has the finest adult soloists in Equiluz and van Egmond.


When the Leonhardt and Harnoncourt set first came out on CD I started to collect it. I remember being gob-smacked by the freshness and commitment of the music making, and by the way the sounds, the combinations of the voices and the instruments, the sonic balances, makes for something so very tasty and tangy.  I like boys' voices. You know, at their best, the performers communicate their pleasure in music making. I find that sort of thing really valuable, irresistible.

I'm writing this because I just played BWV 12 and BWV 25. That same feeling that I had about  30 years ago or more for that recording is still there. I really love those  performances. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on October 16, 2011, 01:00:26 AM
When the Leonhardt and Harnoncourt set first came out on CD I started to collect it. I remember being gob-smacked by the freshness and commitment of the music making, and by the way the sounds, the combinations of the voices and the instruments, the sonic balances, makes for something so very tasty and tangy.  I like boys' voices. You know, at their best, the performers communicate their pleasure in music making. I find that sort of thing really valuable, irresistible.

I'm writing this because I just played BWV 12 and BWV 25. That same feeling that I had about  30 years ago or more for that recording is still there. I really love those  performances.
This is very well put, an even though this set has certainly been exceeded technically, its freshness and commitment, and joy of discovery, still for me makes it a first recommendation.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 23, 2011, 04:32:28 AM
Yesterday I was listening to the Magnificat in D major, performed by Rilling and his gang from the Hänssler Edition (vol. 73). All in all an extremely beautiful disc, very well played and sung. It also includes: Suscepit Israel puerum suum BWV 1082; Aus der Tiefen BWV 246/40a;  Arioso aus einem Passions-Pasticcio: So heb ich denn mein Auge sehnlich auf BWV 1088 & Psalm 51 BWV 1083.

Unfortunately, the last track (28) is defective.  :(

Is this only a problem of my copy?


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on October 23, 2011, 06:53:53 AM
Yesterday I was listening to the Magnificat in D major, performed by Rilling and his gang from the Hänssler Edition (vol. 73). All in all an extremely beautiful disc, very well played and sung. It also includes: Suscepit Israel puerum suum BWV 1082; Aus der Tiefen BWV 246/40a;  Arioso aus einem Passions-Pasticcio: So heb ich denn mein Auge sehnlich auf BWV 1088 & Psalm 51 BWV 1083.

Unfortunately, the last track (28) is defective.  :(

Is this only a problem of my copy?

What's the defect?
I just played that specific track on my rinky dink CD player cum alarm clock, and didn't hear anything wrong.
If I can help further, PM me.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 23, 2011, 08:56:07 AM
!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBZSjiNy110

Instead of your boat, my boat it should be your Bach, my Bach!
;)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 23, 2011, 09:23:33 AM
IMHO, Buwalda is one of most consistent performers in this integral. But if one doesn't like his voice and timbre, then there's a problem, I understand that. But at least he knows what he is singing (about). Ruth Holton doesn't, she's sounding flat and unsure and her knowledge of German seems to be quite below level. No wonder she was replaced by Marjon Strijk, who's doing a better job. Apparantly, Holton was much better coached during her Gardiner recordings. That's the main problem with this Leusink cycle: he didn't have enough time to rehearse and coach. I mean: 200 cantates to be recorded in one single year! It's a rushed production, with, in many performances, an ugly screaming choir (especially the sopranos & tenors: they don't blend with the rest) and an ugly screaming tenor Knut Shoch as low points.

Is the Leusink cycle included in its entirety in the BC Bach set?  I bought that set a number of years ago.  I do feel the singing was uneven.  Ruth Holton has a beautiful voice from what I have heard from a number of Bach Cantatas recordings she made with John Eliot Gardiner.  As you said, most English soloists do not quite have a strong command of the German language, which can be a handicap when it comes to singing Bach Cantatas.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 28, 2011, 11:52:41 PM
What discs would you recommend for a focus on chorus and less on soloists? I realize that many had a mixture, but would be interested in starting from the choral side.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on October 29, 2011, 04:07:13 AM
What discs would you recommend for a focus on chorus and less on soloists? I realize that many had a mixture, but would be interested in starting from the choral side.

Well, it'd be a selection of certain cantatas with particularly wonderful choruses and/or chorales... and presumably in a performance that is not ultra-HIP (OVPP), because no matter how gorgeous the performance, the sense of chorus-ness is rather missing. And these things were, after all, singalongs or quasi-singalongs.

BWV 56 - Ich will den Kreuzstab
BWV 29 - Wir danken dir Gott
BWV 61 - Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
BWV 12 - Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen
BWV 93 - Wer nur den lieben Gott

BWV 38 - Aus tiefer Not schrei' ich zu dir
BWV 78 - Jesu, der du meine Seele
BWV 124 - Meinem Jesum lass' ich nicht
BWV 39 - Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot
BWV 68 - Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt
BWV 104 - Du Hirte Israel, höre!
BWV 6 - Bleib' bei uns
BWV 148 - Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens
BWV 64 - Sehet, welch eine Liebe
BWV 111 - Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh' allzeit
BWV 67 - Halt im Gedächtnis
BWV 127 - Herr Jesu Christ, wahr'r Mensch und Gott
BWV 44 - Sie werden euch in den Bann tun
BWV 121 - Christum wir sollen loben
BWV 137 - Lobe den Herren
BWV 126 - Erhalt' uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort
BWV 1 - Wie schön leuchtet
BWV 129 - Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott
BWV 65 - Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen
BWV 171 - Gott, wie dein Name
BWV 34 - O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe
BWV 135 - Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder

These are among the most attractive cantatas for chorus-lovers, I'd say... the four bold ones being particular favorites of mine.

If you seek out recordings that contain as many of those as possible... and for good choruses I'd recommend:

Anything by Herreweghe, anything by Koopman,
almost anything by Rilling (altogether more old fashioned) or -- though hard to get individually -- Karl Richter -- who *really* celebrates the choruses in style.

Not so well suited is Kuijken. Suzuki and Gardiner wouldn't be my first choice in choruses, either. The former is a touch analytical, the latter has warmth and excitement but (sometimes) audibly less rehearsal than Herreweghe and Koopman.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 30, 2011, 04:54:33 AM
Some of my fave opening choruses:
BWV 6 and BWV 39 (already mentioned by Jens).
And BWV 8 (Liebster Gott, wenn werd' ich sterben), BWV 125 (Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr dahin) and BWV 62 (Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland II).

BWV 39 and 8 are really very special, with prominent parts for respectively recorder(s) and traverse flute.
If you love f.i. the opening chorus of Bach's Matthäus-Passion, then I guess you will certainly like the introductions of BWV 6 and 125. It's vintage Bach!
BWV 62's intro is a fiery and intense movement filled with hungry anticipation, awaiting the birth of the Saviour.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 31, 2011, 12:35:21 AM
Jens and Marc - thanks for that! Very helpful.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on October 31, 2011, 02:05:52 AM
Selected Cantata recordings with wonderful choruses:

incl. BWV 6 & 68
Christophe Coin & Chœur de Chambre Accentus (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0014GIZC4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguideuk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B0014GIZC4)

incl. BWV 6, 68, & 126
Ton Koopman & ABO Choir (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0000U1EHS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguideuk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B0000U1EHS)

incl. BWV 39 & 93
Philippe Herreweghe & Collegium Vocale Gent  (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00005UNX7/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguideuk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B00005UNX7)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 31, 2011, 05:42:50 AM
Selected Cantata recordings with wonderful choruses:
incl. BWV 6, 68, & 126
Ton Koopman & ABO Choir (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0000U1EHS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguideuk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B0000U1EHS)
I came across 2-3 of these recordings that have multiple selections from your list. Volume 12 looked like a good candidate as well.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 31, 2011, 01:19:45 PM
And some more good stuff by Herreweghe:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-J-S-Magnificat-Christmas-Cantatas/dp/B003QLY5J2/

(with a.o. BWV 8 and 125.)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-Famous-Cantatas-Collegium-Herreweghe/dp/B003122HBE

(with a.o. BWV 78 and 198: two very good cantatas with great opening choruses; the latter is definitely one of Bach's highlights, being a funeral cantata for Queen Christiane Eberhardine of Saxony and of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Much of the music was used again in the Markus-Passion of 1731.)

Gardiner isn't my favourite conductor in Bach, but this disc is quite good IMO:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-Cantatas-BWV36-61-62/dp/B00004YYPV/

(with Advent cantatas, a.o. the earlier mentioned BWV 62.)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 31, 2011, 01:21:25 PM
I came across 2-3 of these recordings that have multiple selections from your list. Volume 12 looked like a good candidate as well.

I personally found Koopman's recording of BWV 6 a bit disappointing. Christophe Coin (also mentioned by Jens) is much better IMO. He's got the 'good old' Harnoncourt drive!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 31, 2011, 01:50:43 PM
You guys are great! I would prefer to try out a few single discs to hear the music and to compare the different versions. One can spend a lot on this stuff if so desired. So these rec's are just perfect for me. I will probably get a disc of Suzuki too (and to think a review of the Suzuki motets was the thing that got me thinking about the cantatas.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on November 01, 2011, 03:53:35 AM
You guys are great! I would prefer to try out a few single discs to hear the music and to compare the different versions. One can spend a lot on this stuff if so desired. So these rec's are just perfect for me. I will probably get a disc of Suzuki too (and to think a review of the Suzuki motets was the thing that got me thinking about the cantatas.

Oh, of course, the motets! If you don't have them already...

Herreweghe, Jacobs, and my favorite by some measure: Kuijken (on Accent Plus)(http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/12/best-recordings-of-2008.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/12/best-recordings-of-2008.html)) are all excellent.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 01, 2011, 04:02:34 AM
Oh, of course, the motets! If you don't have them already...

Herreweghe, Jacobs, and my favorite by some measure: Kuijken (on Accent Plus)(http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/12/best-recordings-of-2008.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/12/best-recordings-of-2008.html)) are all excellent.
Actually I don't have them yet. But I am happily listening to snippets and youtube tracks to figure out what which cantatas I would like to start with. The motets are next (and should be easier, or at least faster). One could spend a lot of time trying to figure out all these performances...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: chasmaniac on November 01, 2011, 04:21:15 AM
Oh, of course, the motets! If you don't have them already...

I really like the Cantus Colln recording meself.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 15, 2011, 02:50:06 PM
Two discs worth considering (at least I like them quite a lot); another proof that, en Bach, les Belges sont très convaincants.

Marcel Ponseele (also known as hoboist) and his ensemble Il Gardellino:

(http://thumbnails61.imagebam.com/18723/cdb9b0187220136.jpg) (http://i42.tinypic.com/mtwkr4.jpg)

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003OSJAOC

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004LYIDRS

EDIT: one picture was deleted by uploadsite, had it replaced.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: chasmaniac on November 22, 2011, 05:55:01 AM
Re. Kuijken's series Cantatas for the Complete Liturgical Year, there are currently 14 volumes out, and I have seen the projected total severally described as 20 and 17. Does anyone have the inside scoop on how many volumes there will be?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on November 22, 2011, 06:34:53 AM
Re. Kuijken's series Cantatas for the Complete Liturgical Year, there are currently 14 volumes out, and I have seen the projected total severally described as 20 and 17. Does anyone have the inside scoop on how many volumes there will be?

20.

http://www.newolde.com/kuijken_bach_project.htm
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: chasmaniac on November 22, 2011, 08:53:25 AM
20.

http://www.newolde.com/kuijken_bach_project.htm

Thanks.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on March 26, 2012, 07:17:39 AM
And here I was, thinking that it was all done and ready to be packaged into a box.

The Ascension cantatas were originally scheduled to be recorded [as part of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage Project] in Salisbury Cathedral in 2000, but recording was abandoned due to noise, so plans are underway to fill this gap in the series.

Sir John Eliot, the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra will perform the Ascension cantatas in two concerts on May 10 at St Giles Cripplegate in London. To enable the concerts to be recorded and released on CD £50,000 needs to be raised.

For £20, you will be credited as part of the production team and receive a copy of the finished CD; for £50 you will also be credited on the Monteverdi and SDG websites and have your name appear in the programme; for £150 your CD will be signed by Sir John Eliot and you will receive year's complimentary membership as a Friend of Monteverdi; for £500 you will also be acknowledged as a Benefactor of the Friends of Monteverdi.


[Source (http://www.gramophone.co.uk/classical-music-news/help-complete-the-monteverdi-choirs-award-winning-bach-cantata-project)]
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: JaapT on April 17, 2012, 11:36:13 AM
A view pages back someone mentioned the recordings of secular Bach cantatas by Leonhardt and the OAE. The original Philips CDs are out of print, but a dutch newspaper NRC offers them now in a 5cd box: http://www.nrclux.nl/Bach-Cantates-Gustav-Leonhardt-5-cd/nl/product/980781/

Some loose comments on various issues concerning cantata recordings:
- In general I have some mixed feelings about the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt cycle. Clearly the technical level of playing on historical instruments is better today. That said, the raw quality of the playing has its own appeal to me, and Leonhardt/Harnoncourt often give insights not offered by others. One example I like is BWV 74/IV the bass aria Ich gehe hin. This is about the Ascension. I have in iTunes both Leonhardts/van Egmonds version and the one by Suzuki. Clearly Leonhardt's stands out in phrasing, the lovely cello playing, and the very effective BC improvisations (Leonhardt himself?). The cello part suggests a going away, which is very apt.

-Most people on the forum praise Equiluz. I have a bit more mixed feelings about him. I think he was an eminent recitative singer, and one of the best evangelists, but in some aria's of the cantata series, he seems to struggle too much with the rhythm, and his voice sounds too hoarse.

-There is something too be said for the rawness of Leonhardt/Harnoncourt version. In a very interesting essay Richard Taruskin points out that Bach even seems to write his music on the edge of what is possible, so that his instrumentalist/vocalist had too struggle, thus emphasizing the text at hand. If true this would mean that too much technically smooth playing is not what Bach had in mind. Of course this is conjecture, but an interesting. Taruskin's essay can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/1991/01/27/arts/recordings-view-facing-up-finally-to-bach-s-dark-vision.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

-Like most here I don't consider Leusink's set top notch, but it is a cheap way too acquire all cantatas. The quality is very variable, and many people praised/complained various of the artists involved. However, I haven't seen any comments (at least the last pages) on the excellent bass Bas Ramselaar (what's in a name!). I very much like his interpretation of BWV 82, Ich habe genug, among the best recordings of this work. Somehow I was less impressed by BWV 56 (Ich will den Kreuzstab), which sounds less heartfelt.

-Talking about BWV 56/82: the excellent recording by van Egmond/Brüggen has been reissued in a 4cd box, together with recordings of cantatas/motets by Bernius, and a SONY recording of cantatas with Leonhardt.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on April 18, 2012, 09:24:31 AM
I.c. Equiluz: I've praised him a lot around here, but, indeed, mostly for his superb recitativo 'declaim' technique.
I.c. the 4cd box with a.o. BWV 56 & 82 with Van Egmond/Brüggen: that's a very nice box indeed! Highly recommendable IMHO.
I.c. the NRC box with Leonhardt: thanks a lot for the link. I might have a go at it.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: rickardg on April 18, 2012, 09:41:59 AM
- In general I have some mixed feelings about the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt cycle.

I'm about as far from a Bach expert as possible, but last weekend I listened to the Harnoncourt, Suzuki and Rilling versions of BWV 51 "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen" and (to my surprise) after three listens each I still prefer Harnoncourt---vocal warts and all. Perhaps with repeated listening I'll start to prefer Suzukis smoother approach or I'll get used to the more operatic sound of Auger (whom I love in other repertoire) the Rilling recording, but for now it's the baroque'n'roll of Harnoncourt.

I'd be hard put to say exactly what I like about it though...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Leon on April 18, 2012, 10:30:31 AM
I have been enjoying my subscription to Spotify for weeks now, and recently found they they have Gardiner, Harnoncourt/Leonhardt, Suzuki, Koopman and speaking of Kurt Equiluz - there's plenty of him in these works too. 

All in all nearly 5,000 tracks of Bach Cantatas.

Fantastic.

 :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on April 19, 2012, 07:53:20 AM

-There is something too be said for the rawness of Leonhardt/Harnoncourt version. In a very interesting essay Richard Taruskin points out that Bach even seems to write his music on the edge of what is possible, so that his instrumentalist/vocalist had too struggle, thus emphasizing the text at hand. If true this would mean that too much technically smooth playing is not what Bach had in mind. Of course this is conjecture, but an interesting. Taruskin's essay can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/1991/01/27/arts/recordings-view-facing-up-finally-to-bach-s-dark-vision.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm



Thanks for posting that essay by Richard Taruskin. I’d read it before in Text and Act , but it was good to be reminded of it.

He said something which niggled at me a bit – it’s to do with BWV 170. He says that Bach describes the organ part as “infernal bawling and drawling” Is that right? And then he goes on to suggest that the Leonhardt’s 1985 performance is “unfortunate”. Well, why? Are there more “infernal” performances of it on record? Which ones? I rather like Leonhardt there – I certainly prefer it to the 1956 one with Deller, partly because I prefer Paul Esswood to Alfred Deller on Vanguard.

And another thing. What do people know here about the counter-tenor tradition? I mean, did Bach use countertenors or catsrati or women or  what?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on April 19, 2012, 08:13:18 AM

And another thing. What do people know here about the counter-tenor tradition? I mean, did Bach use countertenors or catsrati or women or  what?

Castratri were not really happening in Germany, and certainly not in church services.
Similarly, women were not permitted to actively participate in church services. (Though Bach certainly wrote specifically for the female voice elsewhere.)
Counter tenors also were not a common tradition outside of England and Italy and already on the decline in Bach's time. (Partly due to a spurt of popularity in castrati elsewhere.)
Soprano and alto parts were sung by boys.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on April 19, 2012, 08:36:47 AM
Castratri were not really happening in Germany, and certainly not in church services.
Similarly, women were not permitted to actively participate in church services. (Though Bach certainly wrote specifically for the female voice elsewhere.)
Counter tenors also were not a common tradition outside of England and Italy and already on the decline in Bach's time. (Partly due to a spurt of popularity in castrati elsewhere.)
Soprano and alto parts were sung by boys.

Great -- that's clear. 

So there's no connection between authenticity and countertenors. It just happened that Deller was connected to pioneers of authentic performance like Leonhardt.

I must say I do like boy's voices.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on April 19, 2012, 09:08:07 AM
Great -- that's clear. 

So there's no connection between authenticity and countertenors. It just happened that Deller was connected to pioneers of authentic performance like Leonhardt.

I must say I do like boy's voices.

Having been a boy's voice, I do, too. In theory, at least, they're to be preferred in choruses over ladyfolk. But it's hard to drill them to absolute perfection. And their application in solo parts is fraught with problems of timidity and immaturity (and balance) that undo most of their slight natural head start. I was spoiled, in that my choir was one where there were two modes: "Perfect" and "Try Again"... and ever since I've been unable to abide anything less than perfection. (Same with classical ballet; either the Bolshoi or first cast of Mariinsky -- or nothing at all, please.)

Countertenors vs. women in Bach's cantatas are different ways of dealing with the absence of boys. Why counter-tenor at all? That's actually a MUCH BETTER question than it's lack of being asked would make it appear. Perhaps its one way of approximating 'authenticity' by 'not using a woman'. But it's hardly more meaningfully authentic than using a mezzo. And it's not like Bach was a prude who didn't like women or their voices.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on April 19, 2012, 09:16:39 AM
Having been a boy's voice, I do, too. In theory, at least, they're to be preferred in choruses over ladyfolk. But it's hard to drill them to absolute perfection. And their application in solo parts is fraught with problems of timidity and immaturity (and balance) that undo most of their slight natural head start. I was spoiled, in that my choir was one where there were two modes: "Perfect" and "Try Again"... and ever since I've been unable to abide anything less than perfection. (Same with classical ballet; either the Bolshoi or first cast of Mariinsky -- or nothing at all, please.)

Countertenors vs. women in Bach's cantatas are different ways of dealing with the absence of boys. Why counter-tenor at all? That's actually a MUCH BETTER question than it's lack of being asked would make it appear. Perhaps its one way of approximating 'authenticity' by 'not using a woman'. But it's hardly more meaningfully authentic than using a mezzo. And it's not like Bach was a prude who didn't like women or their voices.

I have a hard time  dealing with trebles/boy sopranos--they sound too shallow to me (breathwise, not emotionwise).  Probably adult sized voices are what my ear expects and judges by.  Ironically, one of the few instances in which I liked the result of using a boy soprano is one which almost everyone else considers a bad one--Bernstein's DG Mahler 4. 

And I say this as someone who spent a (not very long) period of time as a boy soprano in chorus.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on April 19, 2012, 09:32:54 AM
And I say this as someone who spent a (not very long) period of time as a boy soprano in chorus.

 :) Yes. I cringe vicariously, when I have to hear that. But I've heard spectacular performances from boy choristers live... in Bach (in one of van Veldhoven's M-Passions in Narden) and in opera. Was it a fairly recentish Magic Flute, perhaps... or something else?! In any case, quite astonishing. And not with that impression of shallow wincing that you (accurately) describe. 

One of my odd hangovers from chorister-time is that I absolutely oppose and resent the mentioning of chorister contributions (solo or group) by name rather than by the generic "Soloist of the SoAndSo Saengerknaben" (or Domspatzen et al.).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on April 19, 2012, 09:42:10 AM
:) Yes. I cringe vicariously, when I have to hear that. But I've heard spectacular performances from boy choristers live... in Bach (in one of van Veldhoven's M-Passions in Narden) and in opera. Was it a fairly recentish Magic Flute, perhaps... or something else?! In any case, quite astonishing. And not with that impression of shallow wincing that you (accurately) describe. 

One of my odd hangovers from chorister-time is that I absolutely oppose and resent the mentioning of chorister contributions (solo or group) by name rather than by the generic "Soloist of the SoAndSo Saengerknaben" (or Domspatzen et al.).

You've reminded me--I've never seen or heard a production of Zauberflote that doesn't use boys to sing the three genies, and they've all seemed to do it perfectly.  Boys' voices seem to be perfect for those roles.   Do we know if Mozart used boys for those parts?  If so presumably he wrote it with boys voices in mind, which would explain why it always works with children's voices.   And there are various roles in operas which were written for children, so obviously they work there.

But I think some things in Bach (to return to thread duty) ought be sung by adults (male or female) and not boys.  How many 12 year old boys, for instance, can get the emotional intensity that Lorraine Hunt Lieberson brought to "Ich hab genug"?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on April 19, 2012, 09:54:41 AM
You've reminded me--I've never seen or heard a production of Zauberflote that doesn't use boys to sing the three genies, and they've all seemed to do it perfectly.  Boys' voices seem to be perfect for those roles.   Do we know if Mozart used boys for those parts?  If so presumably he wrote it with boys voices in mind, which would explain why it always works with children's voices.   And there are various roles in operas which were written for children, so obviously they work there.

But I think some things in Bach (to return to thread duty) ought be sung by adults (male or female) and not boys.  How many 12 year old boys, for instance, can get the emotional intensity that Lorraine Hunt Lieberson brought to "Ich hab genug"?

1.) Yes. He did write those with children's voices in mind; at the premiere they were two boy choristers and one girl -- the daughter of Schikaneder.
2.) ...but if he wrote for those kind of voices and it works... so did Bach in his cantatas. So I'm not sure if that counts. Unless Mozart, which is perfectly arguable, has a special touch for writing for kids... or, perhaps more plausible, the context of the opera allows a better fit for their voices.

3.) True, that: Lieberson in bwv 82 is the stuff to kneed down in front of.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on April 20, 2012, 09:39:42 PM
What do you think of the way Hunt-Lieberson makes the lullaby almost grind to  halt a couple of times?

Someone posted here to say that Egmond/Brüggen is the "greatest" Ich habe genueg (the post has mysteriously disappeared) so I dusted it down and listened. Lieberson seems to find more complex feelings about death than Egmond, whose really quite cheerful about it. Maybe Lieberson makes Bach more of a contemporary -- at least for me, as a 21st century non believer.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on April 20, 2012, 10:19:11 PM
What do you think of the way Hunt-Lieberson makes the lullaby almost grind to  halt a couple of times?

Someone posted here to say that Egmond/Brüggen is the "greatest" Ich habe genueg (the post has mysteriously disappeared) so I dusted it down and listened. Lieberson seems to find more complex feelings about death than Egmond, whose really quite cheerful about it. Maybe Lieberson makes Bach more of a contemporary -- at least for me, as a 21st century non believer.

A Seon recording, with Egmond, right? I'm not sure if I have that. If I do, I certainly can't recall anythign about it. "Cheerful" sounds rather more like what Bach would have had in mind... "Ich habe genug" is not really about resignation. Well, it is, today, but the context then was different. Which is why I agree... Lieberson (and Peter Sellars) translate the cantata into a 2002 sensibility. The result goes to show that authenticity is decidedly a sub-branch of awesomeness, and hardly its precondition.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on April 21, 2012, 01:29:42 AM
What do you think of the way Hunt-Lieberson makes the lullaby almost grind to  halt a couple of times?

Someone posted here to say that Egmond/Brüggen is the "greatest" Ich habe genueg (the post has mysteriously disappeared) so I dusted it down and listened. Lieberson seems to find more complex feelings about death than Egmond, whose really quite cheerful about it. Maybe Lieberson makes Bach more of a contemporary -- at least for me, as a 21st century non believer.

I agree that Hunt Lieberson can mine this music in a way that makes you hear it anew. She is not alone. I reviewed a disc of hers where the aria in question was performed at almost half the normal speed. The introduction sounded like a dirge. But the instant she started to sing, the approach became clear and she found things in the aria no one else I know of has presented to the listener. Some great artists can break the rules and crack open the music, without destroying it.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: JaapT on April 21, 2012, 05:28:52 AM
Some comments on the use of counter tenors. They were certainly used in the time of Bach, and are certainly not a sort of stand-ins for castrati or boy singers. In fact Christoph Wolff in his Bach biography lists even a few of the Weimar singers by name (Table 6.2):
J P Weichardt and J C Gerrmann (Discants=soprano), C G Bernhardi and J J Graff (alto).  In Weimar of course all musicians were payed court-musicians, unlike in Leipzig where Bach had to teach the pupils of the Thomas school. But even there he must have use falsettists. I read on the cantata website that C P E Bach was a good falsettist (I am not sure what the documentation is for that). Where else than in Leipizig must he have discovered this gift?

For Weimar it has been speculated that Bach may have made use of boys from the local school. Interestingly, if this is not the case then the Weimar cantatas should have been performed with one or at best two voices per part. Also of interest is that it was much more common then than now to use falsettists for the soprano parts. Perhaps Phillipe Jarousky should get involved in some cantata projects.

Castrati were of course an italian tradition. Perhaps Bach heard some of them when they toured Germany and sang in Operas, for example in Dresden. Handel of course made heavy use of castrati.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on April 21, 2012, 05:31:25 AM


Castrati were of course an italian tradition. Perhaps Bach heard some of them when they toured Germany and sang in Operas, for example in Dresden. Handel of course made heavy use of castrati.

Bach didn't have the balls to use castrati.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on April 21, 2012, 08:10:41 AM
Bach didn't have the balls to use castrati.

 ;D

... or, at least, he appreciated that part of the human body less than Handel.  :D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on April 21, 2012, 11:49:38 AM
;D

... or, at least, he appreciated that part of the human body less than Handel.  :D

LESS? Obviously more. The man had 20 children... the very idea of castrati probably made him flinch in vicarious pain.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: JaapT on April 22, 2012, 08:34:41 AM
Quote
He said something which niggled at me a bit – it’s to do with BWV 170. He says that Bach describes the organ part as “infernal bawling and drawling” Is that right? And then he goes on to suggest that the Leonhardt’s 1985 performance is “unfortunate”. Well, why? Are there more “infernal” performances of it on record? Which ones? I rather like Leonhardt there – I certainly prefer it to the 1956 one with Deller, partly because I prefer Paul Esswood to Alfred Deller on Vanguard.

Taruskin is indeed rather negative about Leonhardt here, and I am not sure this is justified. Leonhardt's performance sounds fine to me. The "infernal bawling and drawling" is not a quote from Bach, but just the cantata text, and it is not clear that this should directly refer to the organ. I have a recording of BWV 170 by Andreas Scholl/Herreweghe that I prefer over Leonhardt's, but this has more to do with Scholl's beautiful voice. I am not sure, I hear much more bawling and drawling in this one either. I do not share Taruskin's preference for Harnoncourt, and general like Leonhardt's share of the work. The division between the workload was according to Harnoncourt/Leonhardt based on the instrumentalist that each had at their disposal. So Leonhardt took many cantatas in which flute or recorders were important, as he had Frans Bruggen to his disposal.

As for Deller. I find the old recording by Deller/Leonhardt very endearing, but technically inadequate. This has more to do with the playing of the old instruments, which was then really in its infancy. Deller is really great I think.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on April 22, 2012, 11:32:59 AM
Taruskin is indeed rather negative about Leonhardt here, and I am not sure this is justified. Leonhardt's performance sounds fine to me. The "infernal bawling and drawling" is not a quote from Bach, but just the cantata text, and it is not clear that this should directly refer to the organ. I have a recording of BWV 170 by Andreas Scholl/Herreweghe that I prefer over Leonhardt's, but this has more to do with Scholl's beautiful voice. I am not sure, I hear much more bawling and drawling in this one either. I do not share Taruskin's preference for Harnoncourt, and general like Leonhardt's share of the work. The division between the workload was according to Harnoncourt/Leonhardt based on the instrumentalist that each had at their disposal. So Leonhardt took many cantatas in which flute or recorders were important, as he had Frans Bruggen to his disposal.

As for Deller. I find the old recording by Deller/Leonhardt very endearing, but technically inadequate. This has more to do with the playing of the old instruments, which was then really in its infancy. Deller is really great I think.

Is it a good translation?  Those words bawling and drawling have quite specific English meanings I think. One is a certain type of crying, the other a certain way of speaking.

I'm going to listen to Deller again. On the whole I like his earlier (pre -Vanguiard) records more then the ones onbiously branded as Vangiard. This CD was a real eye opener for me:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5136cZ4j2SL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I'm assuming the stuff there is pre-Vanguard -- I've never studied the Deller discography very systematically.

One thing about Ergmond/Brueggen I didn't say is that the orchestral part is wonderful -- is it Bruggen playing the oboe?

And finally, all these snatched converations about death we've been having here has made me think that Egmond/Bruggen vs Hunt-Lieberson shows something quite important about the limitations of a certain type of HIP project.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on April 22, 2012, 06:55:56 PM
Here is an interlinear translation of BWV 170 as given on the Bach Cantatas website.  "bawling and drawling" does not seem to be a literal translation.

Quote


1   
Aria [Alto]

   
Oboe d'amore e Violino I all' unisono, Violino II, Viola, Continuo

   
Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust,
Contented peace,beloved delight of the soul,
Dich kann man nicht bei Höllensünden,
you cannot be found among the sins of hell,
Wohl aber Himmelseintracht finden;
but only where there is heavenly harmony;
Du stärkst allein die schwache Brust.
You alone strengthen the weak breast.
Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust,
Contented peace,beloved delight of the soul,
Drum sollen lauter Tugendgaben
For this reason nothing but the gifts of virtue
n meinem Herzen Wohnung haben.
should have any place in my heart.

   


2   
Recitative [Alto]

   
Continuo

   
Die Welt, das Sündenhaus,
The world, that place of sin,
Bricht nur in Höllenlieder aus
bursts out only in hellish songs
Und sucht durch Hass und Neid
and strives through hatred and envy
Des Satans Bild an sich zu tragen.
to bear upon itself the image of Satan.
Ihr Mund ist voller Ottergift,
Its mouth is full of snake's venom
Der oft die Unschuld tödlich trifft,
that often deals a mortal blow to the innocent
Und will allein von Racha ! Racha!sagen.
And only wants to say 'racha' [you worthless person]
Gerechter Gott, wie weit
Most just God, how far
Ist doch der Mensch von dir entfernet;
are people therefore estranged from you;
Du liebst, jedoch sein Mund
you love, but their mouth
Macht Fluch und Feindschaft kund
proclaims curses and enmity
Und will den Nächsten nur mit Füßen treten.
And they only want to tread their neighbour underfoot.
Ach! diese Schuld ist schwerlich zu verbeten.
Ah! it is difficult to gain pardon for such guilt through prayer.

   


3   
Aria [Alto]

   
Organo obligato a 2 claviature, Violino I/II e Viola all' unisono, Organo

   
Wie jammern mich doch die verkehrten Herzen,
How sorry I feel therefore for those perverted hearts
Die dir, mein Gott, so sehr zuwider sein;
that against you, my God, are so set
Ich zittre recht und fühle tausend Schmerzen,
I truly shudder and feel a thousand pangs
Wenn sie sich nur an Rach und Hass erfreun.
When they take delight only in vengeance and hatred.
Gerechter Gott, was magst du doch gedenken,
Most just God, what must you then think
Wenn sie allein mit rechten Satansränken
when with their truly satanic intrigues
Dein scharfes Strafgebot so frech verlacht.
They so insolently deride your strict commands about punishment..
Ach! ohne Zweifel hast du so gedacht:
Ah! without doubt you have thought:
Wie jammern mich doch die verkehrten Herzen!
How sorry I feel therefore for those perverted hearts!

   


4   
Recitative [Alto]

   
Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

   
Wer sollte sich demnach
Who in these circumstances would
Wohl hier zu leben wünschen,
wish to live here at all
Wenn man nur Hass und Ungemach
when only hate and misfortune
Vor seine Liebe sieht?
Are seen in place of God's love?
Doch, weil ich auch den Feind
But since also my enemy
Wie meinen besten Freund
as if he were my best friend
Nach Gottes Vorschrift lieben soll,
should be loved by me according to God's commandment
So flieht
then there depart
Mein Herze Zorn und Groll
from my heart anger and resentment
Und wünscht allein bei Gott zu leben,
and my wish is to live for God alone
Der selbst die Liebe heißt.
Who is Love itself
Ach, eintrachtvoller Geist,
Ah, spirit filled with harmony,
Wenn wird er dir doch nur sein Himmelszion geben?
When will the promised land of heaven be given to you?

   


5   
Aria [Alto]

   
Organo obligato e Oboe d'amore, Violino I all' unisono, Violino II, Viola, Continuo

   
Mir ekelt mehr zu leben,
I feel revulsion to prolong my life,
Drum nimm mich, Jesu, hin!
And so take me away from here, Jesus!
Mir graut vor allen Sünden,
I am horrified by all the sins,
Laß mich dies Wohnhaus finden,
grant that I may find this place to live
Wo selbst ich ruhig bin.
Where I myself may be at peace.-

--

Printable version of this translation

English Translation by Francis Browne (October 2007)
 Contributed by Francis Browne (October 2007)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: JaapT on April 23, 2012, 11:30:14 AM
Some bawling, but no drawling it seems. So Taruskin should not be believed on his words.

As for the van Egmond/Bruggen account on BWV 82/56. The oboist is apparently Paul Dombrecht according to http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV56-D.htm.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: chasmaniac on May 10, 2012, 03:15:05 AM
Does anyone know when the next instalment of the Kuijken series will appear? I'm starting to pine.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: zmic on May 10, 2012, 12:13:45 PM
Any other fans of this set? Some of my all time favorite non-HIP Bach.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on May 11, 2012, 11:33:41 AM
Someone has just pointed out to me a some  inspiring  Ich Habe Genugs. This one has very sincere singing from Barry McDaniel, quite striking:

 http://www.youtube.com/v/uW0ab4Nso2g http://www.youtube.com/v/xAvD94iswn0

And this one from the Southern Methodist University Orchestra has some very spontaneous sounding oboe playing

http://www.youtube.com/v/6NWgniCISr8
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sammy on May 11, 2012, 01:16:56 PM
Someone has just pointed out to me a some  inspiring  Ich Habe Genugs. This one has very sincere singing from Barry McDaniel, quite striking:

 http://www.youtube.com/v/uW0ab4Nso2g http://www.youtube.com/v/xAvD94iswn0

And this one from the Southern Methodist University Orchestra has some very spontaneous sounding oboe playing

http://www.youtube.com/v/6NWgniCISr8

Thanks for the samples.  McDaniel has a fine voice, but I do wish that period instruments were employed.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on May 13, 2012, 08:28:47 AM
Anyone knows if the performances (CDs and  DVDs) by the "J. S. Bach-Stiftung" are available via some regular online store?

http://www.youtube.com/v/Y3lRdb5BSGA
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Leon on May 13, 2012, 08:40:52 AM
Anyone knows if the performances (CDs and  DVDs) by the "J. S. Bach-Stiftung" are available via some regular online store?

http://www.youtube.com/v/Y3lRdb5BSGA

Looks like you can buy them directly from the Bach Foundation (http://www.bachstiftung.ch/).

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on May 15, 2012, 04:21:27 PM
Looks like you can buy them directly from the Bach Foundation (http://www.bachstiftung.ch/).

Thanks, Arnold, but I was searching for a regular CD store.

BTW, very interesting quote in your signature.  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on November 01, 2012, 02:48:28 AM
.
The recent discussion about Harnoncourt’s jolts made me play some records by him and I think I’ve found something which really shows well his style at it’s most uncompromising.
It’s in the Bach cantatas, and it concerns two cantatas, BWV 99 and BWV 100. These cantatas open with exactly the same music, a chorale -- Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan  (is that right? – I don’t have a score to check that the music is identical.)

Now in Haroncourt’s big set in BWV 99 Harnoncourt conducts, and in BWV 100 it’s Leonhardt’s turn. What a difference, and what a clear example of how far apart these two men had become. Harnoncourt is hestitant, jolting, the musical lines juxtaposed so as to hinder forward motion ;  Leonhardt  is joyfully flowing.

Here's NH

http://www.youtube.com/v/WsvszDQFiM8

And here's GL

http://open.spotify.com/track/1K6tv4eydBLZ4VrM9lFdA1   (There's no way to embed this as far as know)

The text seems to support Leonhardt more that Harnoncourt, there's not much by way of doubt and hesitation there,  though I must say I like personally the music that Harnoncourt makes:

What God doth, that is rightly done,
His will is just forever;
Whatever course he sets my life,
I will trust him with calmness.
He is my God,
Who in distress
Knows well how to support me.
So I yield him all power
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on November 01, 2012, 07:00:39 AM
.
The recent discussion about Harnoncourt’s jolts made me play some records by him and I think I’ve found something which really shows well his style at it’s most uncompromising.
It’s in the Bach cantatas, and it concerns two cantatas, BWV 99 and BWV 100. These cantatas open with exactly the same music, a chorale -- Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan  (is that right? – I don’t have a score to check that the music is identical.)

Now in Haroncourt’s big set in BWV 99 Harnoncourt conducts, and in BWV 100 it’s Leonhardt’s turn. What a difference, and what a clear example of how far apart these two men had become. Harnoncourt is hestitant, jolting, the musical lines juxtaposed so as to hinder forward motion ;  Leonhardt  is joyfully flowing.


Except that the execution of Leonhardt's version is milk-curdlingly awful, in light of today's standards. Sounds like the horns are completely drunk.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on December 23, 2012, 06:33:00 PM
I decided to brighten my xmas by plunging into Bach's cantatas for the first time. So I bought a smattering of recordings:

Herreweghe 131, 73, 105, 39, 93, 107
Leonhardt/Harnoncourt 79-82, 170-173
Suzuki 147, 21
and
Kuijken 17, 35, 164, 179

The thing that I don't understand about the Kuijken album is that so much of the music is Vivaldi's 4 seasons (unless I'm losing my mind).
I know Bach wrote keyboard concertos after Vivaldi but, when I research these cantatas, I find no mention of them being also after Vivaldi.
Can someone enlighten me?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Que on December 23, 2012, 10:41:15 PM
The thing that I don't understand about the Kuijken album is that so much of the music is Vivaldi's 4 seasons (unless I'm losing my mind).
I know Bach wrote keyboard concertos after Vivaldi but, when I research these cantatas, I find no mention of them being also after Vivaldi.
Can someone enlighten me?

Interesting. :) Could you specify the cantatas concerned?

Q
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on December 24, 2012, 07:59:42 AM

Kuijken 17, 35, 164, 179

The thing that I don't understand about the Kuijken album is that so much of the music is Vivaldi's 4 seasons (unless I'm losing my mind).
I know Bach wrote keyboard concertos after Vivaldi but, when I research these cantatas, I find no mention of them being also after Vivaldi.
Can someone enlighten me?

A.) Nothing more fitting than Bach cantatas around Christmas (preferably, but necessarily the Advent/Christmas ones).
B.) It's this recording he's talking about:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61e3sHYOmQL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I'll listen to it in a bit, but off the top of my head I'm not sure where the Vivaldi connection comes from. Unless you have the wrong CD in your case.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on December 24, 2012, 08:05:09 AM
Interesting. :) Could you specify the cantatas concerned?

Q

I'm listening to the recording: Bach, J.S.: Cantatas, Vol. 5 - Bwv 17, 35, 164, 179
"Starting from Siehe Zu, Dass Deine Gottesfurcht Nicht Heuchelei Sei, BWV 179 Recitative: Wer So Von Innen Wie Von Aussen Ist"
That and the rest of the Cantata is Vivaldi's "Spring." I thought this was a mistake of Itunes, but when I sample it on Presto Classical I get the same results:

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Accent/ACC25305#download

I don't know what to make of this. Maybe this is some kind of weird goof? 

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on December 24, 2012, 08:09:22 AM
I'm listening to the recording: Bach, J.S.: Cantatas, Vol. 5 - Bwv 17, 35, 164, 179
"Starting from Siehe Zu, Dass Deine Gottesfurcht Nicht Heuchelei Sei, BWV 179 Recitative: Wer So Von Innen Wie Von Aussen Ist"
That and the rest of the Cantata is Vivaldi's "Spring." I thought this was a mistake of Itunes, but when I sample it on Presto Classical I get the same results:

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Accent/ACC25305#download

I don't know what to make of this. Maybe this is some kind of weird goof?

Certainly not the case with the CD... everything alright there; am listening to it right now. Do you have a hard copy??
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on December 24, 2012, 08:10:14 AM
A.) Nothing more fitting than Bach cantatas around Christmas (preferably, but necessarily the Advent/Christmas ones).
B.) It's this recording he's talking about:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61e3sHYOmQL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I'll listen to it in a bit, but off the top of my head I'm not sure where the Vivaldi connection comes from. Unless you have the wrong CD in your case.
I'm not sure I have the right ones for Christmas above. But, I got started on this after listening to Bach's Christmas Oratorios. I was having too good a time (I've been delving into the B minor Mass and St. Matthew's Passion for a while). Does it seem like I have a pretty good collection to start out with? I don't know what I've been waiting for.   
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on December 24, 2012, 08:12:44 AM
Certainly not the case with the CD... everything alright there; am listening to it right now. Do you have a hard copy??
I downloaded it from Itunes. But when you listen to samples here

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Accent/ACC25305#download

you get the same result starting with the 4th track on BWV 179.
Oh well. Some kind of mix up with the download release? OK. Sorry to trouble anyone.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on December 24, 2012, 08:30:48 AM
I'm not sure I have the right ones for Christmas above. But, I got started on this after listening to Bach's Christmas Oratorios. I was having too good a time (I've been delving into the B minor Mass and St. Matthew's Passion for a while). Does it seem like I have a pretty good collection to start out with? I don't know what I've been waiting for.

Herreweghe 131, 73, 105, 39, 93, 107
Leonhardt/Harnoncourt 79-82, 170-173
Suzuki 147, 21
and
Kuijken 17, 35, 164, 179

By and large, no... re: Christmas, except for 171. But you certainly have picked well from the cream of the crop of Bach Cantata conductors and got a very fine sample to work off.
I know Leonhardt & Harnoncourt, pioneers, veterans, and rightly revered, have a large following... but the quality of HIP performances has simply improved by leaps and bounds since their cycle... so there's the only hint of a weakness. I don't at all think that the arguments for the one-voice-per-part proponents -- such as Kuijken has become for the one-year cycle of which your disc is a part -- are compelling. But the proof of the pudding lies in the listening of the music and I absolutely love what he's doing on those ACCENT CDs.
Suzuki is always neat, in every sense of the word, and has improved considerably, to my ears, over the last twenty or fifteen volumes. For all-round musicality, you can't beat Herreweghe, my favorite in Bach... although I should also point to Koopman. Rarely if ever my favorite in any one particular cantata, but over all and on average my favorite complete Bach Cantata cycle.
Finally I think that Karl Richter always has a place in a good Bach Cantata collection; it's a bit of a throwback, stylistically, from the ones you have picked, but it oozes the same musicality Herreweghe does, with a greater hint of feel-good heft.

Advent & Christmas with Bach

Advent

BWV 61: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
BWV 62: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
BWV 36: Schwingt freudig euch empor

BWV 70a: Wachet! betet! betet! wachet!  (see also: BWV 170)

BWV 186a: Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht (see also BWV 186)

BWV 132: Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn!
BWV 147a: Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (see also BWV 147)


Christmas

BWV 63: Christen, ätzet diesen Tag
BWV 91: Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
BWV 110: Unser Mund sei voll Lachens
BWV 197a: Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe (not complete)
BWV 191: Gloria in excelsis Deo

BWV 40: Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes
BWV 121: Christum wir sollen loben schon
BWV 57: Selig ist der Mann

BWV 64: Sehet, welch eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget
BWV 133: Ich freue mich in dir
BWV 151: Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kömmt

BWV 152: Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn
BWV 122: Das neugeborne Kindelein

BWV 28: Gottlob! nun geht das Jahr zu Ende


New Year

BWV 190: Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (not complete)
BWV 41: Jesu, nun sei gepreiset
BWV 16: Herr Gott, dich loben wir
BWV 171: Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm

BWV 153: Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind
BWV 58: Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid

Epiphany

BWV 65: Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen
BWV 123: Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen

That... and of course the Christmas Oratorio's six cantatas.


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on December 24, 2012, 08:49:13 AM
Herreweghe 131, 73, 105, 39, 93, 107
Leonhardt/Harnoncourt 79-82, 170-173
Suzuki 147, 21
and
Kuijken 17, 35, 164, 179

By and large, no... re: Christmas, except for 171. But you certainly have picked well from the cream of the crop of Bach Cantata conductors and got a very fine sample to work off.
I know Leonhardt & Harnoncourt, pioneers, veterans, and rightly revered, have a large following... but the quality of HIP performances has simply improved by leaps and bounds since their cycle... so there's the only hint of a weakness. I don't at all think that the arguments for the one-voice-per-part proponents -- such as Kuijken has become for the one-year cycle of which your disc is a part -- are compelling. But the proof of the pudding lies in the listening of the music and I absolutely love what he's doing on those ACCENT CDs.
Suzuki is always neat, in every sense of the word, and has improved considerably, to my ears, over the last twenty or fifteen volumes. For all-round musicality, you can't beat Herreweghe, my favorite in Bach... although I should also point to Koopman. Rarely if ever my favorite in any one particular cantata, but over all and on average my favorite complete Bach Cantata cycle.
Finally I think that Karl Richter always has a place in a good Bach Cantata collection; it's a bit of a throwback, stylistically, from the ones you have picked, but it oozes the same musicality Herreweghe does, with a greater hint of feel-good heft.

Advent & Christmas with Bach

Advent

BWV 61: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
BWV 62: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
BWV 36: Schwingt freudig euch empor

BWV 70a: Wachet! betet! betet! wachet!  (see also: BWV 170)

BWV 186a: Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht (see also BWV 186)

BWV 132: Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn!
BWV 147a: Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (see also BWV 147)


Christmas

BWV 63: Christen, ätzet diesen Tag
BWV 91: Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
BWV 110: Unser Mund sei voll Lachens
BWV 197a: Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe (not complete)
BWV 191: Gloria in excelsis Deo

BWV 40: Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes
BWV 121: Christum wir sollen loben schon
BWV 57: Selig ist der Mann

BWV 64: Sehet, welch eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget
BWV 133: Ich freue mich in dir
BWV 151: Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kömmt

BWV 152: Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn
BWV 122: Das neugeborne Kindelein

BWV 28: Gottlob! nun geht das Jahr zu Ende


New Year

BWV 190: Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (not complete)
BWV 41: Jesu, nun sei gepreiset
BWV 16: Herr Gott, dich loben wir
BWV 171: Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm

BWV 153: Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind
BWV 58: Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid

Epiphany

BWV 65: Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen
BWV 123: Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen

That... and of course the Christmas Oratorio's six cantatas.
Thanks for the comments. I just want to make sure I have a good mix of cantatas to start out with. Perhaps I'll grab some more from your list just to keep up with holidays. I'll be referring back to your comments as I pick up more. Much appreciated as always. Happy Holidays!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on December 24, 2012, 09:47:57 AM

Thanks for the comments. I just want to make sure I have a good mix of cantatas to start out with. Perhaps I'll grab some more from your list just to keep up with holidays. I'll be referring back to your comments as I pick up more. Much appreciated as always. Happy Holidays!

This may also be of help:

Selected Cantata recordings with wonderful choruses:

incl. BWV 6 & 68
Christophe Coin & Chœur de Chambre Accentus (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0014GIZC4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguideuk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B0014GIZC4)

incl. BWV 6, 68, & 126
Ton Koopman & ABO Choir (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0000U1EHS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguideuk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B0000U1EHS)

incl. BWV 39 & 93
Philippe Herreweghe & Collegium Vocale Gent  (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00005UNX7/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguideuk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B00005UNX7)

Oh, of course, the motets! If you don't have them already...

Herreweghe, Jacobs, and my favorite by some measure: Kuijken (on Accent Plus)(http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/12/best-recordings-of-2008.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/12/best-recordings-of-2008.html)) are all excellent.

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/ich-hatte-viel-bekummernis-bach.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/ich-hatte-viel-bekummernis-bach.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/12/bach-cantatas-on-record-james-bowman.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/12/bach-cantatas-on-record-james-bowman.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/03/weinen-klagenherreweghes-new-bach.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/03/weinen-klagenherreweghes-new-bach.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/08/dip-your-ears-no-40.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/08/dip-your-ears-no-40.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/09/dip-your-ears-83.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/09/dip-your-ears-83.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-recordings-of-2009-9.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-recordings-of-2009-9.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/04/reviewed-not-necessarily-recommended_05.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/04/reviewed-not-necessarily-recommended_05.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/09/dip-your-ears-83.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/09/dip-your-ears-83.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2010/12/best-recordings-of-2010-7.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2010/12/best-recordings-of-2010-7.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/06/dip-your-ears-no-35.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/06/dip-your-ears-no-35.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-recordings-of-2008-almost-list.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-recordings-of-2008-almost-list.html)

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on December 24, 2012, 11:03:46 AM
Hey Jens!

Are you deliberately NOT mentioning other member's recommendations .... like mine?

That is NOT very Christmas!

;D

Anyway: you are forgiven.
(It is Christmas, isn't it?)

Two of my personal faves:

Cantatas BWV 8, 125 & 138
(Herreweghe)


(http://thumbnails103.imagebam.com/22775/d2985f227744223.jpg) (http://www.imagebam.com/image/d2985f227744223)

http://www.amazon.com/J-S-Bach-Cantatas-BWV-125/dp/B0011BF570

And, though not really a cantata disc (plz, forgive me):

Magnificat BWV 243, Missa BWV 235 & organ works
(Pierlot)


(http://thumbnails106.imagebam.com/22775/a44599227744235.jpg) (http://www.imagebam.com/image/a44599227744235)

http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Magnificat-Ricercar-Consort/dp/B002P9KAHM/

And:

Merry Christmas!

0:)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 24, 2012, 08:48:15 PM
Selected Cantata recordings with wonderful choruses:

incl. BWV 6 & 68
Christophe Coin & Chœur de Chambre Accentus (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0014GIZC4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguideuk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B0014GIZC4)

Definitely agree with the Herreweghe recs. But it's nice to see someone else rec something from Coin's trio of discs. Crisp, airy, devout, and oh-so-soothing.


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on December 24, 2012, 09:13:29 PM
Quickly jumping in to mention Gardiner and his Pilgrimage series, which was performed/recorded (and at least the SDG portion released) in order of the liturgical season, thereby grouping each Sunday's cantatas (or Feast day when appropriate) together on one disc.  Herreweghe did this for Christmas and Advent, but not for most of the rest of the year.  (Koopman did as Gardiner did, but I don't have anything from his cycle(s).  Any other conductor organize their recordings this way?)

I believe Gardiner re-issued all the Christmas cantatas in a single set just in time for this Christmas.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on December 24, 2012, 10:22:18 PM
Hey Jens!

Are you deliberately NOT mentioning other member's recommendations .... like mine?

That is NOT very Christmas!

Yes and no... I was just being lazy and figured I'd give priority to my fat-headed opinion. I very much agree with your choices, though...

There is so much greatness out there, and within Bach's Cantatas...

I remember my father, in his later 40s, telling me that the older he got, the more he appreciated Bach... He didn't say: "at the expense of other composers", but even as a little lad I reckoned he meant something of a special relationship with Bach that he didn't have with other composers. (He wasn't very artsy, by the way... loved classical music and such, but he was essentially blue collar; a test pilot, although that almost makes it sound too fancy. An engineer at heart, and happiest in his tool-shop, fixing a glider flyer's canopy and listening to the classical channel on the tube radio. But I digress very considerably. I meant to say that I'm already feeling the same sentiment toward Bach, and have, for the last ten years. As much as I'm a classical music omnivore, Bach gives me something that's greater than anything else... and the Cantatas (after initially being the less interesting stuff for me) principally among his works. A line of introduction I sometimes use is: The only thing I love more than music is food. And the only thing I love more than food is Bach.
All by way of saying: If I recommended one Bach Cantata disc over any other, it would be this:



(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00070FUEY.01.L.jpg)
J.S.Bach
Cantatas BWV 12, 38, 75,
P. Herreweghe / Collegium Vocale Ghent
C.Sampson, M.Padmore, D.Taylor, P.Kooy
Harmonia Mundi
(http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/03/weinen-klagenherreweghes-new-bach.html)

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-rvB67LqaO3Q/T-2lU1GkCoI/AAAAAAAACq0/Q8VYECD0haE/s1600/breakup_NEW_soft.png)

"Weinen, Klagen..."—Herreweghe's New Bach (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/03/weinen-klagenherreweghes-new-bach.html)


As per Gardiner's Pigrimage series, which I like to like more than I do, these two links referred to three albums that were among the first to be released on the then-new SDG label.
I still just LOVE holding them in my hand. All my criticism aside, I will get the few copies necessary to complete my collection of that series.

This may also be of help:

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/08/dip-your-ears-no-40.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/08/dip-your-ears-no-40.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/06/dip-your-ears-no-35.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/06/dip-your-ears-no-35.html)


Oh, and I also found this, just now... going through old posts and sprucing them up, graphically: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/11/birth-of-bwv-1127.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/11/birth-of-bwv-1127.html)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on December 25, 2012, 08:53:27 AM
Yes and no... I was just being lazy and figured I'd give priority to my fat-headed opinion. I very much agree with your choices, though...

There is so much greatness out there, and within Bach's Cantatas...

I remember my father, in his later 40s, telling me that the older he got, the more he appreciated Bach... He didn't say: "at the expense of other composers", but even as a little lad I reckoned he meant something of a special relationship with Bach that he didn't have with other composers. (He wasn't very artsy, by the way... loved classical music and such, but he was essentially blue collar; a test pilot, although that almost makes it sound too fancy. An engineer at heart, and happiest in his tool-shop, fixing a glider flyer's canopy and listening to the classical channel on the tube radio. But I digress very considerably. I meant to say that I'm already feeling the same sentiment toward Bach, and have, for the last ten years. As much as I'm a classical music omnivore, Bach gives me something that's greater than anything else... and the Cantatas (after initially being the less interesting stuff for me) principally among his works. A line of introduction I sometimes use is: The only thing I love more than music is food. And the only thing I love more than food is Bach.
All by way of saying: If I recommended one Bach Cantata disc over any other, it would be this:



(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00070FUEY.01.L.jpg)
J.S.Bach
Cantatas BWV 12, 38, 75,
P. Herreweghe / Collegium Vocale Ghent
C.Sampson, M.Padmore, D.Taylor, P.Kooy
Harmonia Mundi
(http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/03/weinen-klagenherreweghes-new-bach.html)

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-rvB67LqaO3Q/T-2lU1GkCoI/AAAAAAAACq0/Q8VYECD0haE/s1600/breakup_NEW_soft.png)

"Weinen, Klagen..."—Herreweghe's New Bach (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/03/weinen-klagenherreweghes-new-bach.html)


As per Gardiner's Pigrimage series, which I like to like more than I do, these two links referred to three albums that were among the first to be released on the then-new SDG label.
I still just LOVE holding them in my hand. All my criticism aside, I will get the few copies necessary to complete my collection of that series.

Oh, and I also found this, just now... going through old posts and sprucing them up, graphically: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/11/birth-of-bwv-1127.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/11/birth-of-bwv-1127.html)
Well, I felt obliged to purchase this since you've recommended it so highly. I went a little nuts recently. Having been disappointed by the mistake on the kuijken download, I also purchased Suzuki's recording with 35. I guess I just bought about 8 hours of cantatas. It was binge buying brought on by Christmas melancholia. I offer a bittersweet thanks. There's a little bitterness now when I look at the expense. But I trust there will be much sweetness down the line.   
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on December 25, 2012, 06:39:51 PM
Any other fans of this set? Some of my all time favorite non-HIP Bach.



This set may have been re-issued under Decca since all Philips recordings have gone out of print a year or two ago ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Octave on December 25, 2012, 08:56:15 PM
I love that one, too!  I think, at least in N. America, the Winschermann/Philips cantatas set is only available "new" as a burned-to-order CDR edition from Arkiv Music.  I do hope I get a chance to own a real-CD copy of it someday, though; I am perhaps superstitiously iffy about paying full price for CDRs.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on January 02, 2013, 11:35:44 AM
Quickly jumping in to mention Gardiner and his Pilgrimage series, which was performed/recorded (and at least the SDG portion released) in order of the liturgical season, thereby grouping each Sunday's cantatas (or Feast day when appropriate) together on one disc.  Herreweghe did this for Christmas and Advent, but not for most of the rest of the year.  (Koopman did as Gardiner did, but I don't have anything from his cycle(s).  Any other conductor organize their recordings this way?)

I believe Gardiner re-issued all the Christmas cantatas in a single set just in time for this Christmas.

Concerning Koopman: like Suzuki, he's (more or less) following the chronological order, not the liturgical.
But there are also 2 compilation boxsets with Christmas and Easter cantatas.

Kuijken, in his not-complete series, is a bit like Gardiner: for each and every disc he selected a specific time in the liturgical year.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on January 02, 2013, 02:31:54 PM
Concerning Koopman: like Suzuki, he's (more or less) following the chronological order, not the liturgical.
But there are also 2 compilation boxsets with Christmas and Easter cantatas.



Are you aware of these (and a few others with similar covers) issues from 2008?
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ca0PjyJkL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41d6REKJT8L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51OxpMXX4vL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

[Note to Amazon Marketplace seller:  No, I am not paying $696.98US plus $2.98 shipping and handling for an integral cantata cycle, no matter how good it is!]
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on January 02, 2013, 07:34:50 PM
Are you aware of these (and a few others with similar covers) issues from 2008?
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ca0PjyJkL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41d6REKJT8L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51OxpMXX4vL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

[Note to Amazon Marketplace seller:  No, I am not paying $696.98US plus $2.98 shipping and handling for an integral cantata cycle, no matter how good it is!]

These are included in that Channel Classics box, right?  The set was going for over $500 the last time I checked ...

I am happy with the Harnoncourt 60-CD set ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on January 02, 2013, 07:54:07 PM
These are included in that Channel Classics box, right?  The set was going for over $500 the last time I checked ...

I am happy with the Harnoncourt 60-CD set ...

It's now at that ~$700 price I mentioned on Amazon MP (US). 
I have Harnoncourt/Leonhardt;  Rilling (which I have yet to listen to; it's in the Hanssler box); and Gardiner's almost complete set (between the DG budget box and the SDG issues).  Unless it's re-issued a lot more cheaply, the Koopman cycle will not be coming to my shelves anytime soon.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on January 02, 2013, 09:48:13 PM
Are you aware of these (and a few others with similar covers) issues from 2008?
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ca0PjyJkL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41d6REKJT8L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51OxpMXX4vL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

[Note to Amazon Marketplace seller:  No, I am not paying $696.98US plus $2.98 shipping and handling for an integral cantata cycle, no matter how good it is!]

Yes. A handful of re-issues (and yes, based on the liturgical year :)), taken from (as Coop suggested) from his earlier integral. Originally, this integral was based on chronological order.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on January 05, 2013, 06:38:18 PM
It's now at that ~$700 price I mentioned on Amazon MP (US). 
I have Harnoncourt/Leonhardt;  Rilling (which I have yet to listen to; it's in the Hanssler box); and Gardiner's almost complete set (between the DG budget box and the SDG issues).  Unless it's re-issued a lot more cheaply, the Koopman cycle will not be coming to my shelves anytime soon.

I have the SMP by Koopman on DVD and that may be it for me.  It is difficult to spend $700 on another complete Bach Cantatas set ...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on April 10, 2013, 07:43:00 AM
I noticed today that La Petite Bande has a youtube channel (with only five hundred and something subscribers). One can watch
some of their performances of Cantatas (among other things):
http://www.youtube.com/user/Lapetitebande
I Also noticed (on their webpage) that they are losing all of their funding from the Flemish government. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Wakefield on April 10, 2013, 01:43:59 PM
I noticed today that La Petite Bande has a youtube channel (with only five hundred and something subscribers). One can watch
some of their performances of Cantatas (among other things):
http://www.youtube.com/user/Lapetitebande
I Also noticed (on their webpage) that they are losing all of their funding from the Flemish government.

Thanks, milk. 572 subscribers are really few.

Talking about cantatas, the J. S. Bach-Stiftung channel on YouTube is also very interesting:

http://www.youtube.com/user/Bachstiftung

It's full of 10/10 interpretations.  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: HIPster on April 10, 2013, 02:49:03 PM
Thank you milk and Gordon, for those links!

Cheers!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Coopmv on April 13, 2013, 09:38:27 AM
I noticed today that La Petite Bande has a youtube channel (with only five hundred and something subscribers). One can watch
some of their performances of Cantatas (among other things):
http://www.youtube.com/user/Lapetitebande
I Also noticed (on their webpage) that they are losing all of their funding from the Flemish government.

Looks like most folks are broke except the bankers and their buddies ...    :(
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: HIPster on April 13, 2013, 11:14:40 AM
I noticed today that La Petite Bande has a youtube channel (with only five hundred and something subscribers). One can watch
some of their performances of Cantatas (among other things):
http://www.youtube.com/user/Lapetitebande
I Also noticed (on their webpage) that they are losing all of their funding from the Flemish government.

Did any of you receive a recent email from La Petite Band?  There is a book/CD subscription thingy set up to make up for the loss in funding.  Probably out of my league, but looks very cool.

*Bingo* Coopmv. . .
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on April 17, 2013, 04:10:43 PM
During the last couple of months I've been trying to become familiar with Bach's cantatas. I've been listening to cycles from Herreweghe, Suzuki, and Kuijken among others. I've finally figured out that I like Kuijken best. I guess I almost always prefer intimacy to grandeur. But now I read that this cycle has been cancelled. Is this true? I'm really disappointed if this is true. They were just getting started really.   
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on April 17, 2013, 09:56:42 PM
During the last couple of months I've been trying to become familiar with Bach's cantatas. I've been listening to cycles from Herreweghe, Suzuki, and Kuijken among others. I've finally figured out that I like Kuijken best. I guess I almost always prefer intimacy to grandeur. But now I read that this cycle has been cancelled. Is this true? I'm really disappointed if this is true. They were just getting started really.   
I don't think it ever was meant to be a cycle.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on April 17, 2013, 11:56:13 PM
During the last couple of months I've been trying to become familiar with Bach's cantatas. I've been listening to cycles from Herreweghe, Suzuki, and Kuijken among others. I've finally figured out that I like Kuijken best. I guess I almost always prefer intimacy to grandeur. But now I read that this cycle has been cancelled. Is this true? I'm really disappointed if this is true. They were just getting started really.   

Cancelled? They finished, I think, what they had set out to do: A "one-liturgical-year" cycle of Bach's cantatas. Although it's certainly good enough to make one wistful about whatever they didn't include. I love it, myself, wrong-headed OVPP and all.  ;)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on April 18, 2013, 12:34:42 AM
Cancelled? They finished, I think, what they had set out to do: A "one-liturgical-year" cycle of Bach's cantatas. Although it's certainly good enough to make one wistful about whatever they didn't include. I love it, myself, wrong-headed OVPP and all.  ;)
Oh, I see. Right. Perhaps this is incorrectly stated by Brian Wilson of Musicweb (if the water was already drained...):

"With one cantata for each Sunday of the year under his belt, it appears that Sigiswald Kuijken and Accent have now pulled the plug on the project; if so, they’ve gone out in style."

Well, yeah, regardless of whether or not OVPP is historically correct, I love it (but I like Schoonderwoerd's Beethoven as
well). It took me a while to figure out what I like best with the cantatas. Am I correct in saying that Kuijken also doesn't put the non-vocal musical instruments in the background as much as other recordings? Or is that a natural effect of OVPP? Well, there is much music to enjoy with the 15 releases. Still, I was hoping to also have some more of the "big hits." So, I have the Rifkin recording. Any other recommendations for OVPP?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on April 18, 2013, 01:45:46 AM
Cancelled? They finished, I think, what they had set out to do: A "one-liturgical-year" cycle of Bach's cantatas. Although it's certainly good enough to make one wistful about whatever they didn't include. I love it, myself, wrong-headed OVPP and all.  ;)
So now there's time for a cheap box !
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on April 18, 2013, 06:25:42 AM
OVPP Cantatas? None that I know of that I like nearly as much as Kuijken. Perhaps TVPP Veldhoeven and the NBV will get into cantatas... that would be lovely, given their Passion, CO, and MBminor recordings.
The Kuijken is so immediate. I just love that immediacy. I bought a bunch of Suzuki but I've lost the taste for it. The Rifkin is nice but the sound quality is a little flat.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on April 18, 2013, 08:47:08 AM
[....]
Still, I was hoping to also have some more of the "big hits." So, I have the Rifkin recording. Any other recommendations for OVPP?

Have a go at Cantus Cölln with Konrad Junghänel.
Although sometimes the tempi are a bit too fast (for my taste), I would recommend this one:

(http://i49.tinypic.com/f3xn2c.jpg)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00004R7PX

I think it will satisfy your need for immediacy :):

But there's more to enjoy:

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/CantusColln.htm
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Wakefield on April 18, 2013, 09:10:52 AM
But there's more to enjoy:

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/CantusColln.htm

Unfortunately, they haven't recorded more cantatas, as far I can see. I specially like their Lutheran masses (maybe a little bit Italianate in spirit for some tastes, though).  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: HIPster on April 18, 2013, 10:00:29 AM
I was hoping to also have some more of the "big hits." So, I have the Rifkin recording. Any other recommendations for OVPP?

Haven't heard these (yet), but Montreal Baroque has some nice looking releases:










Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on April 19, 2013, 06:33:07 AM
Have a go at Cantus Cölln with Konrad Junghänel.
Although sometimes the tempi are a bit too fast (for my taste), I would recommend this one:

(http://i49.tinypic.com/f3xn2c.jpg)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00004R7PX

I think it will satisfy your need for immediacy :):

But there's more to enjoy:

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/CantusColln.htm
Oh yes. This is quite good. I like it very much. And 106 is certainly one of the greatest hits.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on April 19, 2013, 06:42:47 AM
Haven't heard these (yet), but Montreal Baroque has some nice looking releases:
These look promising. Thanks.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on April 19, 2013, 03:54:50 PM
The releases I've got are quite nice. If you get the drift.
I'm still making my way through the Kuijken series. I have six of them. I think I will eventually
get interested in these.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on April 20, 2013, 07:19:12 AM
I'm not sure that was my drift.  ;) Let's try again:

Kuijken rocks your socks of!!  These are perfectly pretty.
So I will savor the Kuijken!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: dimmer on April 23, 2013, 01:17:45 AM
People might be interested that a new volume of the Gardiner series, covering the cantatas for Ascension Day, has just been released. Seems that the original concert was not well recorded, so the cantatas had to wait for this recording last year to complete the series. The single disk sounds lively and  is certainly well up to the standard you expect from Gardiner, but the alto singing is sounding a little flat and lacking in tonal quality to me. But overall its a very nice end to the best of the Bach cantata series (and I say that as a collector mainly of Suzuki - who also has a new volume 53 out at the same time).

(http://www.monteverdi.co.uk/images/stories/album/SDG185cover500x500.jpg)

http://www.monteverdi.co.uk/shop/albums/cantatas/28 (http://www.monteverdi.co.uk/shop/albums/cantatas/28)

and
(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/non-muze2/large/885949.jpeg)

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=885949 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=885949)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on April 23, 2013, 05:40:40 AM
..............Bach cantata series (and I say that as a collector mainly of Suzuki - who also has a new volume 53 out at the same time).

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/non-muze2/large/885949.jpeg)  (http://giradman.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/i-KMpp8qn/0/O/Bach_Suzuki_V31_40.jpg)

Well, I bought into the 'Anniversary Editions' of the Suzuki recordings (4 boxes) - pic added above is the 4th box (coming in 10 volumes each) which goes up to Vol. 40 - so, wondering now that he is past 50, will another 10 disc box be released - :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: dimmer on April 24, 2013, 12:57:09 AM
Well, I bought into the 'Anniversary Editions' of the Suzuki recordings (4 boxes) - pic added above is the 4th box (coming in 10 volumes each) which goes up to Vol. 40 - so, wondering now that he is past 50, will another 10 disc box be released - :)
Too late for me! That set of boxes was fantastic value - 40 CDs for the price of 9. I jumped in at that point too, even if they weren't SACD. But I have been buying all the individual disks since then...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: elotito on September 11, 2013, 06:09:52 AM
I'm just starting to dig in to the cantatas and I think I'm going with Suzuki. Are there any particular volumes that are better than others? It's a bit overwhelming trying to decide where to start...at the beginning with volume one; randomly; highest rated cantatas?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on September 11, 2013, 06:37:07 AM
I'm just starting to dig in to the cantatas and I think I'm going with Suzuki. Are there any particular volumes that are better than others? It's a bit overwhelming trying to decide where to start...at the beginning with volume one; randomly; highest rated cantatas?

Quote
Suzuki is always neat, in every sense of the word, and has improved considerably, to my ears, over the last twenty or fifteen volumes.

Yes... I think generally the later volumes are better than the earlier ones...
Especially:

Volume 34 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000MX7SNC/seenandheard-20)
Volume 38 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00133KE04/seenandheard-20)
Volume 39 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000XXW9H6/B0018M6IVO-20)
Volume 41 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001JAMJ2W/seenandheard-20)
Volume 42 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001PBCZLK/B0018M6IVO-20)
Volume 47 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0046M157U/seenandheard-20)
Volume 49 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B005KQVE4K/seenandheard-20)
Volume 52 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00AGMT96S/seenandheard-20) &
Volume 53 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00B7B0WV8/seenandheard-20)


assorted web-perusing:

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/ich-hatte-viel-bekummernis-bach.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/ich-hatte-viel-bekummernis-bach.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/12/bach-cantatas-on-record-james-bowman.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/12/bach-cantatas-on-record-james-bowman.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/03/weinen-klagenherreweghes-new-bach.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/03/weinen-klagenherreweghes-new-bach.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/08/dip-your-ears-no-40.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/08/dip-your-ears-no-40.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/09/dip-your-ears-83.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/09/dip-your-ears-83.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-recordings-of-2009-9.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-recordings-of-2009-9.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/04/reviewed-not-necessarily-recommended_05.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/04/reviewed-not-necessarily-recommended_05.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/09/dip-your-ears-83.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/09/dip-your-ears-83.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2010/12/best-recordings-of-2010-7.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2010/12/best-recordings-of-2010-7.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/06/dip-your-ears-no-35.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/06/dip-your-ears-no-35.html)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-recordings-of-2008-almost-list.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-recordings-of-2008-almost-list.html)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: elotito on September 11, 2013, 07:15:56 AM
Thanks jlaurson, that's great and lots to read up on and to get started with!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on September 11, 2013, 09:16:17 AM
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0003/547/MI0003547168.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)
Vol. 16. Unfortunately, we must be nearing the end of this series.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on September 13, 2013, 09:10:56 AM
What would people recommend for 147? Any standouts?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on September 13, 2013, 09:46:05 AM
What would people recommend for 147? Any standouts?

Eric Milnes with Montreal Baroque. This is a nice cantata, with that crazy Chorale, Wohl mir, daß ich Jesum habe.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on September 14, 2013, 11:06:41 AM
Thank you both. I think I like the Koopman best. Some of them really motor!!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Octave on September 18, 2013, 08:13:33 PM
Please excuse vulgar product gab interruption:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41tHYsQBu6L._SL1286_.jpg)

I am really thinking about getting this Gardiner cantatas set [for the moment only visible iic at Amazon UK], encompassing his "Pilgrimage" series and four discs from DG/Archiv (which I think I already have in that 22cd red box that was issue a couple+ years ago).  I've really liked this clutch of older (DG/Archiv) cantatas recordings, but I wonder if that's all I need from Gardiner....especially if I have a chance to get an omnibus of the Suzuki recordings, many of which I've spent a lot of time with and really like, smoothness and all.  On the other hand, one really probably cannot have too many cantatas recordings.  And I await the chance to own Karl Richter's, and that's one I must have if I can get it. 
It's rather nice for this to be one of the pressing problems in my life.  I should remember this moment next time things get bad.

My searches showed a bit of discussion on the Gardiner series from a couple years ago; maybe there are some fresh opinions, even in light of releases, acquistions, and listening (not just to Gardiner) done even since then?

This should be no surprise to anyone, but it does seem that Bis is determined to issue a compendium of the Suzuki; per an email from Bis CEO Robert von Bahr:
Quote from: Robert von Bahr, Bis Cahuna
We will eventually bring out a Boxed set with the Cantatas, one way or the other, that's for sure, but how it will look and when, I cannot yet say.

Cantatas are a harsh addiction.  The phonograph needle and the damage done.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on September 19, 2013, 01:29:10 AM
Please excuse vulgar product gab interruption:

I am really thinking about getting this Gardiner cantatas set [for the moment only visible iic at Amazon UK], encompassing his "Pilgrimage" series and four discs from DG/Archiv (which I think I already have in that 22cd red box that was issue a couple+ years ago).  I've really liked this clutch of older (DG/Archiv) cantatas recordings, but I wonder if that's all I need from Gardiner....especially if I have a chance to get an omnibus of the Suzuki recordings, many of which I've spent a lot of time with and really like, smoothness and all.  On the other hand, one really probably cannot have too many cantatas recordings.  And I await the chance to own Karl Richter's, and that's one I must have if I can get it. 
It's rather nice for this to be one of the pressing problems in my life.  I should remember this moment next time things get bad.

My searches showed a bit of discussion on the Gardiner series from a couple years ago; maybe there are some fresh opinions, even in light of releases, acquistions, and listening (not just to Gardiner) done even since then?

This should be no surprise to anyone, but it does seem that Bis is determined to issue a compendium of the Suzuki; per an email from Bis CEO Robert von Bahr:
Cantatas are a harsh addiction.  The phonograph needle and the damage done.

First of, I feel your pain. Or joy, as it were.
Secondly: I looooooove the Gardiner Pilgrimige Cantata issues... I love how they look, I love how they feel, I love the idea of the project, and the recordings, to boot, are very decent, and a few are even very good.

But I think you might get the drift... I think that, for all the right reasons, the Gardiner set of cantatas is rather overrated. If the Suzuki-curve didn't point so steeply up, I might have placed Gardiner's genial cycle above Suzuki... but the latter has been delivering hot tamales for the last 20 or so issues and is, to my ears at least, the more attractive cycle now.

And as you say, there is the lovable, anachronistic, super-musical Karl Richter 1/3 cycle to think of... and the fierce, painfully beautiful 1-year cycle of Kuijken's. And, still on average the most satisfying for me (if admittedly without the same high highlights that others, including Gardiner throw into the mix): Koopman.

Still, I would covet (if I didn't already have most of it in these delicious individual releases; how is the set going to be relieased? Hopefully just a box of those, rather than sleeves and catch-all-booklet) Gardiner over Rilling, Leonhardt/Harnoncourt, and Leusink, pleasure I can attain from all of those, though.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on September 19, 2013, 01:43:48 AM
if I didn't already have most of it in these delicious individual releases; how is the set going to be relieased? Hopefully just a box of those, rather than sleeves and catch-all-booklet

Notes in PDF, which one can download from SDG's site even now. I'm guessing sleeves, perhaps with original cover photos, for the discs.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on September 19, 2013, 01:53:28 AM
First of, I feel your pain. Or joy, as it were.
Secondly: I looooooove the Gardiner Pilgrimige Cantata issues... I love how they look,
Really? I think they are awful.

EDIT: TO clarify - the look, not the performances.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on September 19, 2013, 02:05:26 AM
Notes in PDF, which one can download from SDG's site even now. I'm guessing sleeves, perhaps with original cover photos, for the discs.

Oooh. Bummer. Caressing them is one of the great joys of those releases. (I should get out more.)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on September 19, 2013, 03:19:48 AM
I really want to see affordable boxes for the Suzuki series.  Suzuki's meditative approach would compliment the more impassioned approach of Rilling (which is sitting on my shelf).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on September 19, 2013, 03:33:40 AM
I really want to see affordable boxes for the Suzuki series.  Suzuki's meditative approach would compliment the more impassioned approach of Rilling (which is sitting on my shelf).

I reckon you missed the first four sets when they were still very much affordable?  :(


(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B002QEXN8O.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002QEXN8O/goodmusicguide-20)


(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B002OR1844.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002OR1844/goodmusicguide-20)


(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B002DZXA5W.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002DZXA5W/goodmusicguide-20)


(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B002I9K39Y.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002I9K39Y/goodmusicguide-20)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on September 19, 2013, 04:34:06 AM
Yep.  I missed out on those.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Wakefield on September 19, 2013, 06:38:43 AM
Yep.  I missed out on those.

I hope Bis will release a new anniversary box set including the last 15 volumes. But I fear they will prefer to release a big box of the complete series.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on September 19, 2013, 07:58:45 AM
I hope Bis will release a new anniversary box set including the last 15 volumes. But I fear they will prefer to release a big box of the complete series.

Yes, too many duplicates is the sad story of the completist.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Wakefield on September 19, 2013, 08:29:59 AM
Yes, too many duplicates is the sad story of the completist.

Yes, it's painfully true.

It's not usually highlighted enough, but those four anniversary boxes on Bis are exceptionally well done because include the complete booklets of the original releases. And when I say complete booklets, I'm saying ten separate booklet into every box, which sadly it's not the usual way as the liner notes are provided in re-releases.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 19, 2013, 09:21:44 AM
Please excuse vulgar product gab interruption:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41tHYsQBu6L._SL1286_.jpg)

I am really thinking about getting this Gardiner cantatas set [for the moment only visible iic at Amazon UK], encompassing his "Pilgrimage" series....

But I think you might get the drift... I think that, for all the right reasons, the Gardiner set of cantatas is rather overrated.

For me, what's missing is that last ounce of preparation. IOW, I don't get a sense that these cantatas have been rehearsed right down to the last syllable. Not that I blame Gardiner and his forces for that - they're on a "pilgrimage" after all.


(EDIT: There's very little left to this old assertion of mine regarding Gardiner's pilgrimage. Greater exposer had given me a new perspective. It is in every way a very fine accomplishment). 

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on September 19, 2013, 10:07:53 AM
For me, what's missing is that last ounce of preparation. IOW, I don't get a sense that these cantatas have been rehearsed right down to the last syllable.

In a way that's very HIP. :D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on September 19, 2013, 10:25:38 AM
Yes, too many duplicates is the sad story of the completist.
Or the impatient.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Wakefield on September 19, 2013, 11:25:07 AM
For me, what's missing is that last ounce of preparation. IOW, I don't get a sense that these cantatas have been rehearsed right down to the last syllable. Not that I blame Gardiner and his forces for that - they're on a "pilgrimage" after all - but compared to those in my list above the "unrefined-ness" is noticeable.

Although your comment is moderate and well reasoned, it strikes me as unfair. But that's my problem, I know. Because what you call "lack of preparation", I see it as freshness and consubstantial to a live recording and very well suited to Gardiner's celebratory approach (Don dixit).

On the other hand, curiously, my principal problem for instance with Suzuki has been an overwhelming sense of perfection, of thing rehearsed many times until the last syllable. But this time I'm being unfair.

BTW, it was a similar sensation (too much "perfection"), what deprived me for many years of a full enjoyment of Herreweghe's approach, but I have worked about it.  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Brian on September 19, 2013, 11:28:35 AM
On the other hand, curiously, my principal problem for instance with Suzuki has been an overwhelming sense of perfection, of thing rehearsed many times until the last syllable. But this time I'm being unfair.

I know nothing about the cantatas (have never heard one!!), but Suzuki's recordings of the orchestral works left me confused and wondering why they're so acclaimed. They're just so polished and moderate and even-keeled.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on September 19, 2013, 11:47:04 AM
I know nothing about the cantatas (have never heard one!!), but Suzuki's recordings of the orchestral works left me confused and wondering why they're so acclaimed. They're just so polished and moderate and even-keeled.
Nothing moderate and even keeled about Yoshikazu Mera, and not Suzuki neither IMO. Just listen to Wiederstehe doch der sunde.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on September 19, 2013, 11:56:38 AM
Count me as someone who likes the Gardiner series very much, musically and physical presentation both.

The only Suzuki I have is his recording of the Motets, which did not impress me too much.  Granted,  the motets are not my favorite portion of Bach's output, but  there's nothing in Suzuki's performance that made me like them more.


The photographic series from which the Gardiner covers is taken is available as a book; I've seen in Barnes and Noble in the art section. If anyone is interested,  I'll make a note of the photographer and title the next time I'm there (although of course I only need look at the CDs to find the photographer!)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 19, 2013, 12:14:46 PM
In a way that's very HIP. :D

Hadn't thought of that. :D


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Brian on September 19, 2013, 12:36:21 PM
Do you mean Brandenburgs and Suites? Who acclaimed those?
David Hurwitz over at ClassicsToday is crazy about the Suites (http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-11987/?search=1) and Brandenburgs (http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-15196/?search=1).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on September 19, 2013, 12:37:04 PM
Do you mean Brandenburgs and Suites? Who acclaimed those?

Especially his cantatas are very well-balanced and tidy(more and more as the volumes progressed as Jenny on the block mentioned twice). They give you a feeling between church and concert...

Perhaps it's the Messy Male Syndrome (you should see all the receipts and papers chaotically piled next to this computer) but as a rule I think "tidy" is a flaw, outside of chamber music, perhaps (and not even all chamber music, either).  Not even in Haydn symphonies (picked that because I'm listening to Fey's latest, which seems to have found the right amount of not-too-tidy for Papa*).  I want to feel, in the context of the first two centuries of the BWV listing, in church and not at a concert.


*translation: me likes what I'm hearing
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 19, 2013, 12:37:45 PM
Although your comment is moderate and well reasoned, it strikes me as unfair. But that's my problem, I know. Because what you call "lack of preparation", I see it as freshness and consubstantial to a live recording and very well suited to Gardiner's celebratory approach (Don dixit).

On the other hand, curiously, my principal problem for instance with Suzuki has been an overwhelming sense of perfection, of thing rehearsed many times until the last syllable. But this time I'm being unfair.

BTW, it was a similar sensation (too much "perfection"), what deprived me for many years of a full enjoyment of Herreweghe's approach, but I have worked about it.  :)

I can see your point. Fair enough. :)

Coincidentally, I actually feel the same way you do about Suzuki - he seems terribly resolute in his approach so that not a single phrase passes by without being perfectly pressed and creased. I can see the similarities with Herreweghe but what separates the two for me is the wonderful warmth Herreweghe brings - the music becomes silky and almost aromatic.

To be fair I've yet to hear anything from Suzuki's later volumes which Herr Jens seems to feel have turned a corner of some sort. I'll definitely look into them.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on September 19, 2013, 12:51:47 PM

very, very dangerous generalization...Tidy is essential for Bach's sacred music and cantatas...But I'll leave it here as I see that you judge it according to your personal taste, not to how it should be...


And of course,  in real life, that generalization is subject to much nuancification.   Messy in Bach means the laundry baskets have been put in the wrong place but the clothes remains neatly folded in the baskets, whereas in other composers that would still be tidy, and messy would require the clothes to be dumped out of the laundry basket and tossed all over the floor.

ETA: which shouldn't lead you to think that my laundry is tossed all over the floor.  I may be a messy male, but I'm not that messy!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 19, 2013, 12:58:20 PM
very, very dangerous generalization...Tidy is essential for Bach's sacred music and cantatas...But I'll leave it here as I see that you judge it according to your personal taste, not to how it should be...

"Tidy" = Suzuki and someone ought to loosen his jock strap...

[Edited to make sense]
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sammy on September 19, 2013, 01:12:15 PM
Thumbs up for Suzuki, Gardiner and Herreweghe.

Thumbs down for Koopman.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on September 19, 2013, 04:34:46 PM
If "tidy" = Suzuki then someone ought to loosen his jock strap...


 ???

I'm puzzled because apparently what you mean by "tidy" is not what I mean.
For me, "tidy"  is well described by what you said about Suzuki here:
Coincidentally, I actually feel the same way you do about Suzuki - he seems terribly resolute in his approach so that not a single phrase passes by without being perfectly pressed and creased. I can see the similarities with Herreweghe but what separates the two for me is the wonderful warmth Herreweghe brings - the music becomes silky and almost aromatic.

To be fair I've yet to hear anything from Suzuki's later volumes which Herr Jens seems to feel have turned a corner of some sort. I'll definitely look into them.


More generally,  for me "tidy" is a shorthand term for a performance that emphasized technical execution over emotional content (emotional content probably being something along the lines of what you meant when you talked about the "warmth" you feel in Herreweghe's* performances).  Not of course that high quality technical execution is not necessary--but if I have to choose between a performance that's technically flawless but emotionally cold and a performance that's technically flawed but has a deep emotional content, I'll go for the latter unless the technical flaws are really really bad ones.

So would you mean explaining by what you mean by "tidy" and how it does or does not describe Suzuki's recordings?

And while I'm at it,  maybe Annie could answer the same question, to make sure we're not talking at cross purposes.

*And while we're at it,  I don't have the complete run of Herreweghe's Bach, but I have a good deal of it, and I like all I have.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Wakefield on September 19, 2013, 05:46:39 PM
David Hurwitz over at ClassicsToday is crazy about the Suites (http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-11987/?search=1) and Brandenburgs (http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-15196/?search=1).

I need to listen to those Brandenburgs again. As far as I recall, three or four years ago I found them excellent, quite in the same way described by the infamous Hurwitz. :)
 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Wakefield on September 19, 2013, 05:52:29 PM
[...] I can see the similarities with Herreweghe but what separates the two for me is the wonderful warmth Herreweghe brings - the music becomes silky and almost aromatic.

A beautiful and very apt description of the impression that Herreweghe leaves.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 19, 2013, 05:59:25 PM

 ???

I'm puzzled because apparently what you mean by "tidy" is not what I mean.
For me, "tidy"  is well described by what you said about Suzuki here:

Sorry, I rushed that post and I should have left out "if" (and written "and" instead of "then". Or perhaps partaken in a quick lobotomy :(). I meant it to mean Suzuki could help his cause by letting the reins loose a bit. So yes we're on the same page. :)

And speaking of Suzuki, I've read Herr Jens's entreaties on behalf of the more recent volumes and admittedly my interest is growing. We'll see...

Quote
*And while we're at it,  I don't have the complete run of Herreweghe's Bach, but I have a good deal of it, and I like all I have.

I have all but three discs of Herreweghe's cantata recordings and their quality always amazes me. It's perhaps - perhaps - my preferred Bach of all.


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Wakefield on September 19, 2013, 06:01:10 PM
Thumbs up for Suzuki, Gardiner and Herreweghe.

Thumbs down for Koopman.

Exactly my own opinion, just excepting Koopman, who also wins thumbs up.  ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 19, 2013, 06:01:46 PM
A beautiful and very apt description of the impression that Herreweghe leaves.


Thank you, Sir Shumway. :)


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Opus106 on September 19, 2013, 09:58:49 PM
The photographic series from which the Gardiner covers is taken is available as a book; I've seen in Barnes and Noble in the art section. If anyone is interested,  I'll make a note of the photographer and title the next time I'm there (although of course I only need look at the CDs to find the photographer!)

Steve McCurry. One of the images used, the one with young, green-eyed Afghan girl, is iconic; it was featured in the cover National Geographic. About 10 years ago or so, he went back to find the same girl and managed to photograph her again.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2002/04/afghan-girl/index-text
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Octave on September 19, 2013, 10:19:38 PM
Re: Suzuki-sensei:
I know nothing about the cantatas (have never heard one!!), but Suzuki's recordings of the orchestral works left me confused and wondering why they're so acclaimed. They're just so polished and moderate and even-keeled.
David Hurwitz over at ClassicsToday is crazy about the Suites (http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-11987/?search=1) and Brandenburgs (http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-15196/?search=1).

I think I might have been guilty of buying that hype, initially.  I still liked them last time I listened to them, but not enough to holler, as I did at first.  It now seems fair to me to call them controlled if not subdued if not tidy. 
I had not heard Cafe Zimmermann yet!   8)
I wonder if I would feel this way about Suzuki's cantatas recordings now?  It has been three years since I've heard any of them.  I'd heard almost no cantatas recordings at all before then, and I didn't like recitative before that point.  What a difference a bit of immersion makes!

Thanks everyone for the perspective on Gardiner and others.  I am rather sympathetic to the advantages of "messiness"; my taste has confirmed this repeatedly [to itself], though each time it's a different experience.  I mean, Bill Laswell was right, Fela Kuti was a pretty rotten saxophonist, but holy cow he could play a saxophone.  Ditto the original recording of Terry Riley's IN C.  The list could go on and on.  (I guess the means is rather different in Bach.)

I had no trouble with the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt cantatas series for this reason, perhaps.  I bet I would still love them!

I have all the Herreweghe stuff on HM and Virgin excepting his early, supposedly rawer recordings....the ST. MATT and I am not sure what else.  I want those but have been hoping for a cheaper reissue.  I do like the Herreweghe very much.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on September 19, 2013, 11:19:41 PM


I had no trouble with the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt cantatas series for this reason, perhaps.  I bet I would still love them!

As do I, messiness or not. They have a sense of joy of discovery and of earnestness of feeling that overrides all aspects of messiness, unsecure boy trebles etc, and I feel they dig deeper to the core of Bachs intentions (what ever they were, but this is my interpretation) than any later versions, however perfect. For the same reason I love 60ies Dylan.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on September 19, 2013, 11:53:44 PM
I'm curious what people think of the Kuijken series. This is what got me into the cantatas and I haven't branched out yet. I love how prominent the instrumental parts are in Kuijken and some other OVPP interpretations. It's the immediacy of it that's hooked me. It took me a while to get into the cantatas and the Suzuki recordings didn't help when I started. I think they are too "big" for my current taste (always changing). I'm sure to branch out at some point in the future though. I've made a playlist of favorites from Kuijken, Rifken, Junghänel and Ricercar that includes 11, 12, 13, 18, 34, 36, 52, 61, 62, 73, 81, 82, 106, 116, 129, 131, 140, 180, and 182. I also love Kuijken's Easter Oratorio. I notice these recordings haven't come up in the recent posts but I understand the comments were of complete series.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on September 20, 2013, 12:28:12 AM
I meant it to mean Suzuki could help his cause by letting the reins loose a bit. So yes we're on the same page. :)

And speaking of Suzuki, I've read Jens's entreaties on behalf of the more recent volumes and admittedly my interest is growing. We'll see...


Hey, this is one of the finer, less narrow GMG 'conversations' we've enjoyed here for a while. Neato.

As per DD's point: I'm not sure that if tidiness and neatness (which I seem to define similarly as you do) is your problem with Suzuki, that it's him loosening the reins that has endeared me more to his more recent efforts. Rather I find that he's perfected his approach. As tidy as ever, if not more, he's no longer glib or rushed... something of a bloom, I find, has developed... and---for all the insistent meticulousness, the cantatas have more room to breathe. But "letting his hair down" he isn't, exactly.

I'm curious what people think of the Kuijken series. This is what got me into the cantatas and I haven't branched out yet. I love how prominent the instrumental parts are in Kuijken and some other OVPP interpretations. It's the immediacy of it that's hooked me....I notice these recordings haven't come up in the recent posts but I understand the comments were of complete series.

Whether he's right or wrong, musicologically, the results are terrific. Tight and merciless and wow-pow, left-right in your face kind of Bach. (If one is into that sort of thing.) Perhaps what you call by immediacy. :-)

Miscellany:

Kuijken Cantatas v.11: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2010/12/best-recordings-of-2010-7.html
"But the proof is in the musical pudding, and (pretty exclusively) under Kuijken’s hands that pudding sounds amazing."
Kuijken Cantatas v.8: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-recordings-of-2008-almost-list.html
"But who cares when the results of overzealous historicism get us results like Kuijken’s. Nothing stiff or academic or skimpy about this series..."

Motet excerpts: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2013/04/dip-your-ears-no-133-bach-motets.html

BACH, "KOMM, JESU, KOMM" BWV 229 (EXCERPT),
SIGISWALD KUIJKEN, LA PETITE BANDE, ACCENT 10087

BACH, "FÜRCHTE DICH NICHT, ICH BIN BEI DIR" BWV 228 (EXCERPT),
JOHN ELIOT GARDINER, MONTEVERDI CHOIR, SDG 716

BACH, "LOBET DEN HERRN, ALLE HEIDEN" BWV 230 (EXCERPT),
PETER DIJKSTRA, NEDERLANDS KAMERKOOR, CHANNEL SACD 27108

BACH, "DER GEIST HILFT UNSRER SCHWACHHEIT AUF" BWV 226 (EXCERPT),
PHILIPPE HERREWEGHE, COLLEGIUM VOCALE, HARMONIA MUNDI 901231

BACH, "JESU, MEINE FREUDE" BWV 227 (EXCERPT),
JOHANNES HIEMETSBERGER, CHORUS SINE NOMINE, GRAMOLA 98875

BACH, "SINGET DEM HERRN EIN NEUES LIED" BWV 225 (EXCERPT)
MASAAKI SUZUKI, BACH COLLEGIUM JAPAN, BIS SACD 1841

Kuijken Brandenburgs III (Accent): http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2012/07/dip-your-ears-no-122-kuijkens-third.html
"They are the most chamber-music like of Kuijken’s Brandenburgs yet, with that crisp, uncompromising attack that makes his one-year cantata cycle on the same label such a thrilling proposition."
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on September 20, 2013, 01:14:57 AM
Whether he's right or wrong, musicologically, the results are terrific. Tight and merciless and wow-pow, left-right in your face kind of Bach. (If one is into that sort of thing.) Perhaps what you call by immediacy. :-)

[/quote]
Yes, that's it. One of the reasons I come here is to have someone put into words what I cannot. I haven't heard everything by a long shot, but I haven't heard anything that sounds quite like Kuijken in the cantatas. Maybe some day I'll get more interested in grandeur.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Brian on September 20, 2013, 03:38:56 AM
I had not heard Cafe Zimmermann yet!   8)

I'm just continually amazed by how awesome Cafe Zimmermann is!

I mean, Bill Laswell was right, Fela Kuti was a pretty rotten saxophonist, but holy cow he could play a saxophone.

Perhaps an even better example: if you care about wrong notes, don't listen to Miles Davis. But if you care about music...
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 20, 2013, 04:48:23 AM
As do I, messiness or not. They have a sense of joy of discovery and of earnestness of feeling that overrides all aspects of messiness, unsecure boy trebles etc, [....]

Agreed.  A part of me makes note when one of the singers is to any degree struggling, but I have never yet found it 'fatal' to the enterprise.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: The new erato on September 20, 2013, 05:40:22 AM
Agreed.  A part of me makes note when one of the singers is to any degree struggling, but I have never yet found it 'fatal' to the enterprise.
After all, "struggling" would be a very central aspect to Bach's life and his beliefs.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 20, 2013, 06:00:37 AM
Still, an organist struggling to manage notes would not be in Bach's service  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on September 20, 2013, 06:42:17 AM
Or the impatient.

Not quite true. If you have to wait for twenty years, you do not even know if you live that long.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on September 20, 2013, 06:46:07 AM
Still, an organist struggling to manage notes would not be in Bach's service  :)

But the strange thing is, that nor may an organist (or any musician for that matter) playing too fluent always be in Bach´s service.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: (: premont :) on September 20, 2013, 06:51:46 AM
It's not usually highlighted enough, but those four anniversary boxes on Bis are exceptionally well done because include the complete booklets of the original releases. And when I say complete booklets, I'm saying ten separate booklet into every box, which sadly it's not the usual way as the liner notes are provided in re-releases.

Or the other way round: In too many rereleases the important liner notes and information about the recording and the musicians are painfully absent. :(
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 20, 2013, 05:57:05 PM
Hey, this is one of the finer, less narrow GMG 'conversations' we've enjoyed here for a while. Neato.

Indeed, quite fun. And no flaming!...how'd that happen? 0:) :D

I notice my "Herr" went absent when you quoted my post. I guess you prefer it unaccompanied. I can oblige. Just didn't want to presume...

Quote
As per DD's point: I'm not sure that if tidiness and neatness (which I seem to define similarly as you do) is your problem with Suzuki, that it's him loosening the reins that has endeared me more to his more recent efforts. Rather I find that he's perfected his approach. As tidy as ever, if not more, he's no longer glib or rushed... something of a bloom, I find, has developed... and---for all the insistent meticulousness, the cantatas have more room to breathe. But "letting his hair down" he isn't, exactly.

Hmm...still, more breathing room sounds encouraging. And Christmas is coming...

Quote
Motet excerpts: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2013/04/dip-your-ears-no-133-bach-motets.html

Thanks for posting that link. Very much enjoyed the samples. A pleasant surprise was the Channel sample. But overall, Herreweghe and *gulp* Gardiner were my two faves. Uh, oh.....


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on September 21, 2013, 10:30:06 PM
After all, "struggling" would be a very central aspect to Bach's life and his beliefs.

I think that is an interesting point. But in Bach I agree with Karl. The struggles should come through expression not the detection of effort. Where I do feel it is intergal is in the Beethoven Missa Solemnis where the writing puts real pressures on the choir and if the choir makes it sound too easy then a lot of the power of the piece is lost.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Octave on September 21, 2013, 10:41:45 PM
To wit, I'm going to have a T-shirt made of Brian's Gritty Graph.

Wait!  I just solved the GMG funding problem!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 01, 2013, 09:46:22 AM
Great moments in Bach's cantatas: they're everywhere. Herculean task to single out just one.

But without question I've just come across what I consider my favorite moment in Bach's cantatas, and perhaps in all Bach.

It all starts innocently enough with the Coin disc below. Coin's three discs of cantatas (nine cantatas total) are a quick roundup of all the cantatas in the canon which contain the rare violoncello piccolo, a diminutive five stringed cello with an extended upper register (kinda like "cello light" and on the warmer side).

Of course, discerning the instrument's value in the overall orchestral mix isn't easy as it's in competition with all the other instruments, though I'm inclined to say there is indeed a bit of extra "cushiness" during the choral movements.

But it isn't the violoncello piccolo per se that accounts for my "bang, this is it!" moment in the cantatas. It plays a significant part though and no doubt without it my epiphany wouldn't be as complete.

What all the fuss is about is actually the solo soprano aria Ach, bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ from BWV 6 in which the violoncello piccolo is singled out as the continuo instrument. Here the instrument's value is evident. However, it is only one of two parts to this sublime creation.

After the instrumental introduction out comes the real star, the singer. Then the light show begins. Such otherworldliness. Hard not to just stand back and admire what Bach has created.

Of course the efforts of the continuo can't be downplayed and I'm tempted to say it's the combination of instrumentalist and singer which contributes to the success of this aria. So be it! But overall I'm absolutely smitten by the singing in this aria. 







Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sammy on October 01, 2013, 05:47:01 PM
Great moments in Bach's cantatas: they're everywhere. Herculean task to single out just one.

But without question I've just come across what I consider my favorite moment in Bach's cantatas, and perhaps in all Bach.

It all starts innocently enough with the Coin disc below. Coin's three discs of cantatas (nine cantatas total) are a quick roundup of all the cantatas in the canon which contain the rare violoncello piccolo, a diminutive five stringed cello with an extended upper register (kinda like "cello light" and on the warmer side).

Of course, discerning the instrument's value in the overall orchestral mix isn't easy as it's in competition with all the other instruments, though I'm inclined to say there is indeed a bit of extra "cushiness" during the choral movements.

But it isn't the violoncello piccolo per se that accounts for my "bang, this is it!" moment in the cantatas. It plays a significant part though and no doubt without it my epiphany wouldn't be as complete.

What all the fuss is about is actually the solo soprano aria Ach, bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ from BWV 6 in which the violoncello piccolo is singled out as the continuo instrument. Here the instrument's value is evident. However, it is only one of two parts to this sublime creation.

After the instrumental introduction out comes the real star, the singer. Then the light show begins. Such otherworldliness. Hard not to just stand back and admire what Bach has created.

Of course the efforts of the continuo can't be downplayed and I'm tempted to say it's the combination of instrumentalist and singer which contributes to the success of this aria. So be it! But overall I'm absolutely smitten by the singing in this aria. 






How would you feel about a female chorus replacing a solo soprano?  That's what Gardiner gives us in his series on SDG.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 01, 2013, 07:30:54 PM
How would you feel about a female chorus replacing a solo soprano?  That's what Gardiner gives us in his series on SDG.

Interesting concept. I have to say it sounds somewhat antithetical to me knowing the movement as I do only in the solo garb. :) But that's of course without the benefit of knowing Gardiner's choral version.

I tried sampling it on Amazon but I couldn't determine much. It does seem to me to lack the haunting intimacy of the Coin version, which engages me from the start. I like being drawn in like that as opposed to feeling at arm's length from a performance, no matter how well intended and professional. Though I admit I'm slowly warming to Gardiner's "high-splash" approach to Bach's sacred works so if I must be at an arm's length I can at least appreciate the laser show! ;D

Have you heard the solo version, Sammy?


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 01, 2013, 08:06:53 PM
Just gave a fresh listen to my sole Suzuki disc (vol. 6). I must say I had an enjoyable time with it this time around. Suzuki still ranks the highest as far as being the most "controlled" but it certainly isn't without a pulse.

The experience inspired me to order two more volumes (35 & 39). Keeping me fingers crossed...


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: milk on October 01, 2013, 09:34:26 PM
Great moments in Bach's cantatas: they're everywhere. Herculean task to single out just one.

But without question I've just come across what I consider my favorite moment in Bach's cantatas, and perhaps in all Bach.

It all starts innocently enough with the Coin disc below. Coin's three discs of cantatas (nine cantatas total) are a quick roundup of all the cantatas in the canon which contain the rare violoncello piccolo, a diminutive five stringed cello with an extended upper register (kinda like "cello light" and on the warmer side).

Of course, discerning the instrument's value in the overall orchestral mix isn't easy as it's in competition with all the other instruments, though I'm inclined to say there is indeed a bit of extra "cushiness" during the choral movements.

But it isn't the violoncello piccolo per se that accounts for my "bang, this is it!" moment in the cantatas. It plays a significant part though and no doubt without it my epiphany wouldn't be as complete.

What all the fuss is about is actually the solo soprano aria Ach, bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ from BWV 6 in which the violoncello piccolo is singled out as the continuo instrument. Here the instrument's value is evident. However, it is only one of two parts to this sublime creation.

After the instrumental introduction out comes the real star, the singer. Then the light show begins. Such otherworldliness. Hard not to just stand back and admire what Bach has created.

Of course the efforts of the continuo can't be downplayed and I'm tempted to say it's the combination of instrumentalist and singer which contributes to the success of this aria. So be it! But overall I'm absolutely smitten by the singing in this aria. 





Thanks for this. I went for my beloved Kuijken's version for this morning's bike to work. I had a great time!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 02, 2013, 07:50:19 AM
Thanks for this. I went for my beloved Kuijken's version for this morning's bike to work. I had a great time!

Thanks back at ya, milk. Glad you enjoyed it. :)


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sammy on October 02, 2013, 09:35:15 AM
Interesting concept. I have to say it sounds somewhat antithetical to me knowing the movement as I do only in the solo garb. :) But that's of course without the benefit of knowing Gardiner's choral version.

I tried sampling it on Amazon but I couldn't determine much. It does seem to me to lack the haunting intimacy of the Coin version, which engages me from the start. I like being drawn in like that as opposed to feeling at arm's length from a performance, no matter how well intended and professional. Though I admit I'm slowly warming to Gardiner's "high-splash" approach to Bach's sacred works so if I must be at an arm's length I can at least appreciate the laser show! ;D

Have you heard the solo version, Sammy?

Many times.  I've had the Coin version for about 10 years and enjoy it greatly.  However, my favorite choice for that piece is from Harnoncourt who uses a boy soprano.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on October 02, 2013, 11:30:18 AM
It's so strange how the  cello part seems (to me) to have nothing to do with the voice part in the Harnoncourt, like they're independent of each other. It's like the boy's in one room singing a song, and the cellist's in another, playing his music, we can hear both but they can't hear each other.  In Coin the cello and voice seem more integrated. I don't know of others will share this impression, I've just listened pretty casually you know, just aftet DD posted here, I don't think I'd ever played the cantata before.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on October 02, 2013, 11:44:38 AM
If you can be bothered, I write about the interplay between voice and obligato in my review of the DVD Bach St Matthew conducted by Rattle. The two need to be communing and should not give the impression of performing in isolation to one another.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 02, 2013, 07:38:09 PM
Many times.  I've had the Coin version for about 10 years and enjoy it greatly.  However, my favorite choice for that piece is from Harnoncourt who uses a boy soprano.

So why does Gardiner use a female chorus, here? Does he mention his reasoning? The notes to the Coin disc make no mention of an alternate version.


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on October 02, 2013, 08:19:38 PM
If you can be bothered, I write about the interplay between voice and obligato in my review of the DVD Bach St Matthew conducted by Rattle. The two need to be communing and should not give the impression of performing in isolation to one another.

Mike

Of course I can be bothered! Where is your review of the Matthew Passion?

I know it sounds crazy, but I wonder if  Harnoncourt has done  in deliberately, to increase the amount of disorientation that the listener feels. The canata seems to be partly about the consequences of being out of sync with God's ideas, maybe that's got something to do with it. I don't know.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on October 02, 2013, 11:37:06 PM
Of course I can be bothered! Where is your review of the Matthew Passion?

I know it sounds crazy, but I wonder if  Harnoncourt has done  in deliberately, to increase the amount of disorientation that the listener feels. The canata seems to be partly about the consequences of being out of sync with God's ideas, maybe that's got something to do with it. I don't know.

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,4877.msg727231/topicseen.html#msg727231

Here is the link, only a sentence or so on it, but it loomed large in my mind.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on October 03, 2013, 02:11:04 PM
So why does Gardiner use a female chorus, here? Does he mention his reasoning? The notes to the Coin disc make no mention of an alternate version.

No specific reference in the liner notes, but there are other cantatas in which one section of the chorus sings a number instead of a hypothetical soloist.  I'd have to go digging through all them all, however, to see if he explains it or if there's any common thread to them.  And it might have been a simple logistical matter involving readiness/lack of availability of a suitable soloist.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 03, 2013, 04:55:30 PM
No specific reference in the liner notes, but there are other cantatas in which one section of the chorus sings a number instead of a hypothetical soloist.  I'd have to go digging through all them all, however, to see if he explains it or if there's any common thread to them.  And it might have been a simple logistical matter involving readiness/lack of availability of a suitable soloist.

Thanks, JS. But just to be clear, are you saying that there are other instances of this type of thing in Gardiner's pilgrimage? If so, that seems just plain odd. An aria is an aria after all (or some such solo movement). 

If it's a matter of logistics that almost makes it even MORE odd. Why not strike the work from the date and replay it later? Better that than distort it.   


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sammy on October 03, 2013, 05:10:32 PM
Thanks, JS. But just to be clear, are you saying that there are other instances of this type of thing in Gardiner's pilgrimage? If so, that seems just plain odd. An aria is an aria after all (or some such solo movement).   

I'm not aware of any instance where Gardiner treats a dedicated "aria" with a chorus.  The movement being discussed is a chorale; I haven't ever seen any track listing that refers to it as an aria.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on October 03, 2013, 05:16:31 PM
Thanks, JS. But just to be clear, are you saying that there are other instances of this type of thing in Gardiner's pilgrimage? If so, that seems just plain odd. An aria is an aria after all (or some such solo movement). 
I'd have to delve into it more deeply. It's possible that there are musicological grounds for the practice, but my knowlege of the cantatas in particular is rather low.
Quote
If it's a matter of logistics that almost makes it even MORE odd. Why not strike the work from the date and replay it later? Better that than distort it.   
That was not allowed by Gardiner's scheme, which was to record all the cantatas for a given liturgical date in one concert, that concert taking place on or very close to the liturgical date in 2000 (except for some of the cantatas written for end of the post-Trinity Sunday season, which were scattered on other Sundays because the post-Trinity season did not have enough Sundays in 2000 to fit them all).  Thus the cantatas for Easter Sunday, Easter Monday (one of which was BWV 6) and Easter Tuesday were all recorded in live performances over the three day period of April 23-25 2000, and issued together in one double CD volume.
So, to stick to his original scheme,  re-plays were not possible.  The only exception as the Ascension Day cantatas, which he re-recorded last year and issued this year--the original concert was marred by too much outside noise (airplanes, IIRC).
I'm not aware of any instance where Gardiner treats a dedicated "aria" with a chorus.  The movement being discussed is a chorale; I haven't ever seen any track listing that refers to it as an aria.

Definite musicalogical point there;  but that sort of turns the question inside out:  why did Harnoncourt et al.  give it to a soloist instead of doing what Gardiner did?
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 03, 2013, 07:23:52 PM
I'm not aware of any instance where Gardiner treats a dedicated "aria" with a chorus.  The movement being discussed is a chorale; I haven't ever seen any track listing that refers to it as an aria.

But this particular chorale has a designation of solo, though (apologies for the misattribution of aria). And no other chorale I have with a particular designation strays from its designation (solo or duet). Is there flexibility despite a chorale's designation? Allowances? That sort of thing?   

And based on my limited knowledge what worried me (based on what Jeffrey wrote) was that perhaps Gardiner might've gone a little overboard elsewhere. Just checking. 

Anything you can contribute would be appreciated. I am interested, but unknowledgeable. And anyway, you brought it up. ;D


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 03, 2013, 07:26:08 PM
I'd have to delve into it more deeply. It's possible that there are musicological grounds for the practice, but my knowlege of the cantatas in particular is rather low.That was not allowed by Gardiner's scheme, which was to record all the cantatas for a given liturgical date in one concert, that concert taking place on or very close to the liturgical date in 2000 (except for some of the cantatas written for end of the post-Trinity Sunday season, which were scattered on other Sundays because the post-Trinity season did not have enough Sundays in 2000 to fit them all).  Thus the cantatas for Easter Sunday, Easter Monday (one of which was BWV 6) and Easter Tuesday were all recorded in live performances over the three day period of April 23-25 2000, and issued together in one double CD volume.
So, to stick to his original scheme,  re-plays were not possible.  The only exception as the Ascension Day cantatas, which he re-recorded last year and issued this year--the original concert was marred by too much outside noise (airplanes, IIRC).

Ah, thanks Jeffrey. Makes sense.


Quote
Definite musicalogical point there;  but that sort of turns the question inside out:  why did Harnoncourt et al.  give it to a soloist instead of doing what Gardiner did?

Yes...


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Parsifal on October 03, 2013, 07:32:59 PM
My understanding is that they find a manuscript copy with a staff labeled "tenor" (or whatever) with no indication of whether it is a single voice or a chorus, and they have to guess.  I suppose it is possible that the designation "solo" doesn't appear in the manuscript, even though it appear in the printed score.  My first recording of BWV140 (Richter) had a solo tenor (Peter Schrier)  singing famous chorale in the center of the cantata, and my second, Harnoncourt, had a tenor chorus.  Each was sure they had gotten it right.

For what it's worth, Rilling also uses a (female) solo soprano in the BWV6 chorals (as opposed to Harnoncourt's boy soprano).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 04, 2013, 03:53:17 AM
My understanding is that they find a manuscript copy with a staff labeled "tenor" (or whatever) with no indication of whether it is a single voice or a chorus, and they have to guess.  I suppose it is possible that the designation "solo" doesn't appear in the manuscript, even though it appear in the printed score.  My first recording of BWV140 (Richter) had a solo tenor (Peter Schrier)  singing famous chorale in the center of the cantata, and my second, Harnoncourt, had a tenor chorus.  Each was sure they had gotten it right.

For what it's worth, Rilling also uses a (female) solo soprano in the BWV6 chorals (as opposed to Harnoncourt's boy soprano).


Thanks, Scarpia.


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Parsifal on October 04, 2013, 04:11:19 AM
Thanks, Scarpia.

I listened to the BVW 6 soprano chorale you mentioned, and it was lovely, especially Harnoncourts.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 04, 2013, 08:47:18 AM
I listened to the BVW 6 soprano chorale you mentioned, and it was lovely, especially Harnoncourts.

Thanks, yes it's quite a beauty. I'll have to give that Harnoncourt a listen sometime. Sounds interesting.

And in a hard-to-believe twist, by pure chance I picked up a May/June 2008 copy of Fanfare to take with me while at the doctor this morning and what should I find but a review of this very cantata (BWV 6) by resident Bach knowledge-man (though I gather something of an "expert") George Chien. It was Suzuki's version he was reviewing (pages 71 & 72).

Chien gives a basic layout of the work, with the particular movement in question described as (to quote) "a chorale for solo soprano with obbligato violoncello piccolo".

However, a few sentences later he apparently makes the same slip as I had and calls this movement one of "three fine arias". But is this an actual slip or does the terminology/phraseology get a little interchangeable in these instances?

Anyway, dunno, just thinking out loud...

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Parsifal on October 04, 2013, 08:56:03 AM
Thanks, yes it's quite a beauty. I'll have to give that Harnoncourt a listen sometime. Sounds interesting.

And in a hard-to-believe twist, by pure chance I picked up a May/June 2008 copy of Fanfare to take with me while at the doctor this morning and what should I find but a review of this very cantata (BWV 6) by resident Bach knowledge-man (though I gather something of an "expert") George Chien. It was Suzuki's version he was reviewing (pages 71 & 72).

Chien gives a basic layout of the work, with the particular movement in question described as (to quote) "a chorale for solo soprano with obbligato violoncello piccolo".

However, a few sentences later he apparently makes the same slip as I had and calls this movement one of "three fine arias". But is this an actual slip or does the terminology/phraseology get a little interchangeable in these instances?

Anyway, dunno, just thinking out loud...

Well, the soprano is singing a chorale melody, so I don't think you can call it an aria.  I though the accepted terminology is "choral fantasia."
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 04, 2013, 09:27:48 AM
Well, the soprano is singing a chorale melody, so I don't think you can call it an aria.

True. It's a setting of a hymn.

Quote
I though the accepted terminology is "choral fantasia."

I wish I could say. I've seen something along the lines of "chorale as aria" for an ornamented organ chorale. Other than that... :-\


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Parsifal on October 04, 2013, 09:38:41 AM
True. It's a setting of a hymn.

I wish I could say. I've seen something along the lines of "chorale as aria" for an ornamented organ chorale. Other than that... :-\

I suppose the term chorale prelude is normally applied to a typical cantata first movement, where one voice of the chorus has the chorale melody and the other voices engage in free counterpoint.  The structure of the sporano piece from BWV6 is almost identical to the much more famous Zion hört die Wächter singen from BWV140, which was later transformed into a chorale prelude for organ.   The piece in BWV6 is like a sung version of a chorale prelude (rather than a harmonized version or the chorale, such as normally appears at the end).

One thing that occurs to me, some recent scholarship claims that in Bach's time the "chorus" was one-to-a-part, so writing "solo" on the vocal part in a movement like the soprano chorale movement of BWV might have been superfluous for Bach.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on October 04, 2013, 10:17:25 AM
Taking a look at the online score,  this movement is scored for a highly ornamented cello piccolo, continuo, and a soprano line that is mostly half notes with some quarter notes thrown in.  Don't see anything in the way of eighth notes or shorter in the vocal line.  It's obviously not a aria, in contrast to the preceding movement (alto, with obbligato oboe di caccia and continuo) and the movement afterwards (bass recitative and tenor aria).  The vocal line is even simpler and plainer than the opening chorale/chorus.   It definitely looks like choral writing meant to contrast with the surrounding solos.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Parsifal on October 04, 2013, 10:29:30 AM
Taking a look at the online score,  this movement is scored for a highly ornamented cello piccolo, continuo, and a soprano line that is mostly half notes with some quarter notes thrown in.  Don't see anything in the way of eighth notes or shorter in the vocal line.  It's obviously not a aria, in contrast to the preceding movement (alto, with obbligato oboe di caccia and continuo) and the movement afterwards (bass recitative and tenor aria).  The vocal line is even simpler and plainer than the opening chorale/chorus.   It definitely looks like choral writing meant to contrast with the surrounding solos.

No need to infer that it is a chorale, it is marked chorale in the score and was later transcribed by Bach as a Chorale Prelude (BWV649)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 04, 2013, 10:56:54 AM
One thing that occurs to me, some recent scholarship claims that in Bach's time the "chorus" was one-to-a-part, so writing "solo" on the vocal part in a movement like the soprano chorale movement of BWV might have been superfluous for Bach.

I thought of that, too. I can almost see Joshua Rifkin (and the "Rifkinites") pelting Gardiner with tomatoes for his conceited blasphemy! :D


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 04, 2013, 11:36:07 AM
Taking a look at the online score,  this movement is scored for a highly ornamented cello piccolo, continuo, and a soprano line that is mostly half notes with some quarter notes thrown in.  Don't see anything in the way of eighth notes or shorter in the vocal line.  It's obviously not a aria, in contrast to the preceding movement (alto, with obbligato oboe di caccia and continuo) and the movement afterwards (bass recitative and tenor aria).  The vocal line is even simpler and plainer than the opening chorale/chorus.

Interesting.

Quote
It definitely looks like choral writing meant to contrast with the surrounding solos.

Then Gardiner may be on to something. Too bad he doesn't spell it out in his CD booklet.

He does seem to be the odd man out, though.


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on October 04, 2013, 05:29:05 PM
No need to infer that it is a chorale, it is marked chorale in the score and was later transcribed by Bach as a Chorale Prelude (BWV649)

I wrote "choral" meaning "sung by member(s) of the chorus"="not a soloist like the alto in the preceding aria or the tenor in the succeeding aria".

Sorry for not being clearer.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Octave on October 09, 2013, 12:55:28 AM
(http://www.deccaclassics.com/imgs/s300x300/4791712.jpg)
J.S. Bach: ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS CANTATAS [Karl Richter] (Archiv/Decca/Universal, 4cd)
Released 7 Oct 13 (http://www.deccaclassics.com/us/cat/4791712?sort=newest&start=30&ADD_OTHER=1&total=8057)

(http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/8/24/1314207708786/oliver-twist-007.jpg)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on October 09, 2013, 05:12:17 AM
(http://www.deccaclassics.com/imgs/s300x300/4791712.jpg)
J.S. Bach: ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS CANTATAS [Karl Richter] (Archiv/Decca/Universal, 4cd)
Released 7 Oct 13 (http://www.deccaclassics.com/us/cat/4791712?sort=newest&start=30&ADD_OTHER=1&total=8057)

(http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/8/24/1314207708786/oliver-twist-007.jpg)

 ;D

Hallelujah!

OFP Bach Cantatas at their finest!
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Octave on October 09, 2013, 02:55:25 PM
Hallelujah!

OFP Bach Cantatas at their finest!

What is 'OFP'?  I am drawing a blank.  I even googled it!

Too bad they didn't reissue the Richter series whole-hog, though fear of quarterly market saturation is fully justified.  FWIW there is no overlap between the new 4cd and this 'Famous Cantatas' collection, the only one I've purchased in legal hardcopy:



I don't know why Richter's Bach cantatas appeal to me so much.  Richter's Bach in general.  I have not returned to his cantatas in many months, so reacquaintance should be interesting.  I did listen to his Bach organ recordings just recently, and the same impression dropped on me like a boulder from the sky in open desert.  This is inelegant but captures the impression, rather than the sound of it.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: jlaurson on October 09, 2013, 03:00:02 PM
What is 'OFP'?  I am drawing a blank.  I even googled it!

Too bad they didn't reissue the Richter series whole-hog...

I'm assuming they're spacing it out ...not unlike they did in the original issue, which were boxed in five sets, sorted seasonally.

OFP is Old Fashioned Performance. :-)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Parsifal on October 09, 2013, 03:00:57 PM
I don't know why Richter's Bach cantatas appeal to me so much.  Richter's Bach in general.  I have not returned to his cantatas in many months, so reacquaintance should be interesting.  I did listen to his Bach organ recordings just recently, and the same impression dropped on me like a boulder from the sky in open desert.  This is inelegant but captures the impression, rather than the sound of it.

You mean his DG organ recordings.  There is also a recording made for Decca in Geneva which is amazing.  It was on the Decca "Classic Sound" series, I think.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 09, 2013, 09:42:31 PM
Another soprano aria, another otherworldly experience. Or so it seems, anyway. No trivializing intended but it sure seems the soprano gets the lion's share of the prized singing. Or perhaps I'm just biased.

This time it's the aria Jesu, deine Gnadenblicke from the Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11. (Parameter-wise this work is more like a cantata, though. It's short).

Along these lines I found this from earlier in the thread:

The soprano aria in 127 with oboe obbligato and pizzicato strings must be one of Bach's greatest.

The soprano again. The evidence is mounting.
 


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51udlSG1YbL.jpg)

 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Oldnslow on October 10, 2013, 02:38:12 PM
Big box set of Gardiner's cantatas on SGD  (56CDs) now available at Presto Classical......
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on October 11, 2013, 10:58:28 AM
Another soprano aria, another otherworldly experience. Or so it seems, anyway. No trivializing intended but it sure seems the soprano gets the lion's share of the prized singing. Or perhaps I'm just biased.

This time it's the aria Jesu, deine Gnadenblicke from the Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11. (Parameter-wise this work is more like a cantata, though. It's short).

Along these lines I found this from earlier in the thread:

The soprano again. The evidence is mounting.
 


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51udlSG1YbL.jpg)

When you brought up this cantata I knew at the back of my mind that there was a recording of it that was special, but I was racking my brains to remember which one it was. Obvious really -- I just played it again for the first time in years and I think it's absolutely fabulous.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EwA%2B%2Bj5rL.jpg)

But while searching for it I fell on Suzuki's, which I thought was really magical in the aria Jesu, deine Gnadenblicke because of the squillo in the voice of the singer (Yukari Nonoshita maybe).
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Octave on October 11, 2013, 05:04:38 PM
Just reposting Ammar's excellent find here, since I'd been wishing aloud for it just a couple days ago.  This makes my season!

Finally  8)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41eQnq3MntL.jpg)

http://www.amazon.it/Cantate-Richter/dp/B00EYPQ4SY/ (http://www.amazon.it/Cantate-Richter/dp/B00EYPQ4SY/)

I call this a SDCB given the current Amazon MP rate for the original set  :)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 11, 2013, 06:21:14 PM
When you brought up this cantata I knew at the back of my mind that there was a recording of it that was special, but I was racking my brains to remember which one it was. Obvious really -- I just played it again for the first time in years and I think it's absolutely fabulous.

Yes, and the Ascension opens well, too. Great opening chorus which sets the table for the rest of the piece.

Quote
But while searching for it I fell on Suzuki's, which I thought was really magical in the aria Jesu, deine Gnadenblicke because of the squillo in the voice of the singer (Yukari Nonoshita maybe).

I'm slowly beginning to develop an appreciation for Suzuki. I'm at four volumes now and so far I haven't been let down.


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 14, 2013, 06:00:40 PM
When it rains it pours...and right now it's raining sopranos. More specifically, soprano arias.

Another stunner shows up in bwv 105, the aria Wie zittern und wanken from the Gardiner disc below. Bach must've had zero misgivings about his stash of boy sopranos, what with so many show-stopping arias he handed them.

Although this aria could've potentially been even better had the sound been better. This is a "pilgrimage" disc, recorded live, and the soprano is somewhat too distantly miked. An earlier soprano aria (in an earlier cantata) suffers from the same affliction.

It isn't a deal-breaker by any means as soprano Katharine Fuge sings with utmost care and finesse - and gorgeous tone - but it'd be nice to hear the aria under ideal conditions. Although Fuge is certainly "on" so gotta give credit to everyone involved, here.

So I guess we get to see both faces of the "pilgrimage", here: the exquisite (the execution of the singing) along with the hick-ups (the sonic glitch). Oh well, if nothing else the experience is memorable.

(No issues about the sound elsewhere, though).






Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on October 14, 2013, 08:50:10 PM
For the ideal, find Arleen Auger in that aria.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Octave on October 14, 2013, 09:05:20 PM
DD et al, I am loving this revisitation of key moments.  It's making me reach compulsively for the examples I have at hand.

For the ideal, find Arleen Auger in that aria. [BWV105, Wie zittern und wanken]

Is that (Auger) with Rilling/Hanssler/Vol. ~33, Mike?  The paper booklets in that stand-alone set don't mention personnel, and I can't access the ROM for the moment. 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on October 14, 2013, 09:30:57 PM
I am pretty sure that is right. I have it on a disc of Auger performances drawn from the Rilling set. I am not at home now, so can't check. I have about 16 discs from the Rilling Bach, but not that cantata.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on October 15, 2013, 05:19:14 AM
Is that (Auger) with Rilling/Hanssler/Vol. ~33, Mike?  The paper booklets in that stand-alone set don't mention personnel, and I can't access the ROM for the moment.

That sounds about right because they are in order of bwv #, and I just set out this morning volume 44 with Sleepers Awake! which is bwv 140 (to listen to when I get home this evening).  And there are 3-4 cantatas per cd.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on October 15, 2013, 07:44:15 AM
For the ideal, find Arleen Auger in that aria.

Mike

I don't agree Mike.

Just think about what we're dealing with here, this is disturbing music, very, with not an iota of solace

How tremble and waver
the sinners' thoughts
while they bring accusations against each other
and on the other hand dare to make excuses for themselves.
In this way a troubled conscience
is torn apart through its own torments.

To my mind Rilling with Auger are far too comforting. I prefer Harnoncourt and his boy -- I think it's a good example to show how kids can find a truth which eludes grown ups. Boys are, after all, always "bring<ing> accusations against each other" and  "mak<ing>excuses for themselves".

Koopman's pretty good too.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 15, 2013, 11:17:31 AM
For the ideal, find Arleen Auger in that aria.

Mike

Thanks, Mike. Went hunting and actually found a YouTube video of the Auger/Rilling. It is indeed gorgeous, but perhaps a touch on the "operatic" side for my taste. Certainly there's nothing to fault interpretively, however. (Begins at about the 8:15 mark):


http://www.youtube.com/v/nXP2OFcgIuo



I don't agree Mike.

...this is disturbing music, very, with not an iota of solace.

I prefer Harnoncourt and his boy -- I think it's a good example to show how kids can find a truth which eludes grown ups. 

I also found Harnoncourt's boy soprano on YouTube. It certainly has its interesting moments but trying isolate the "disturbing" and the "truth" from all the approximations of pitch isn't so easy. I can do without perfection but grating is another story, no matter its claims to "authenticity" (anyway, just sayin' :)). (Begins at the 6:44 mark):


http://www.youtube.com/v/01nqb42y1po




Sadly I can't find the Gardiner on YouTube. Here's Herreweghe's first recording (on Virgin) for kicks. Barbara Schlick is a pretty good middle-ground between Auger and Harnoncourt's boy. She's also more subtle than Katharine for Gardiner, but that's no knock. (Begins at 6:15):


http://www.youtube.com/v/zqx6ATXXTNI


 
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Parsifal on October 15, 2013, 11:32:37 AM
Despite all the obsessing about soprano Arias, I often find myself most attracted to Bach's writing for tenor voice.  Yesterday I listened to BWV 13 (Rilling) and found the opening aria for tenor very interesting.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on October 15, 2013, 11:39:44 AM
Thanks, Mike. Went hunting and actually found a YouTube video of the Auger/Rilling. It is indeed gorgeous, but perhaps a touch on the "operatic" side for my taste. Certainly there's nothing to fault interpretively, however. (Begins at about the 8:15 mark):


http://www.youtube.com/v/nXP2OFcgIuo



I also found Harnoncourt's boy soprano on YouTube. It certainly has its interesting moments but trying isolate the "disturbing" and the "truth" from all the approximations of pitch isn't so easy. I can do without perfection but grating is another story, no matter its claims to "authenticity" (anyway, just sayin' :)). (Begins at the 6:44 mark):


http://www.youtube.com/v/01nqb42y1po




Sadly I can't find the Gardiner on YouTube. Here's Herreweghe's first recording (on Virgin) for kicks. Barbara Schlick is a pretty good middle-ground between Auger and Harnoncourt's boy. She's also more subtle than Katharine for Gardiner, but that's no knock. (Begins at 6:15):


http://www.youtube.com/v/zqx6ATXXTNI

But grating's a good thing, and Rilling and Auger's consolation is a bad thing. Just look at the poem!!!

Where I'm coming from is this: prima le parole
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Parsifal on October 15, 2013, 12:00:54 PM
But grating's a good thing, and Rilling and Auger's consolation is a bad thing. Just look at the poem!!!

Where I'm coming from is this: prima le parole

All of the emphasis on the voice --- Auger vs a chorister --- is ignoring the real difference between the performance.  Harnoncourt found the right tempo, which is much faster than Rillings and guides the vocalist to a more declamatory vocal style.  Rilling's much slower tempo leads to a more contemplative vocal style.  If you had given Auger to Harnoncourt he would have produced the same effect with her as he did with the chorister, I think.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 15, 2013, 12:01:36 PM
Despite all the obsessing about soprano Arias....[snip]

I didn't choose the soprano arias to single out. They singled themselves out after I hit the play button on my CD player. It's called random chance. 

Quote
I often find myself most attracted to Bach's writing for tenor voice.  Yesterday I listened to BWV 13 (Rilling) and found the opening aria for tenor very interesting.

Are the tenors not getting enough love from me? I apologize. 


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on October 15, 2013, 12:08:01 PM
All of the emphasis on the voice --- Auger vs a chorister --- is ignoring the real difference between the performance.  Harnoncourt found the right tempo, which is much faster than Rillings and guides the vocalist to a more declamatory vocal style.  Rilling's much slower tempo leads to a more contemplative vocal style.  If you had given Auger to Harnoncourt he would have produced the same effect with her as he did with the chorister.

You may be right, though I do feel a sort of hardness, bitterness, nastiness, in the boy's voice which I think is right here. I'm not sure that's just the tempo. Maybe those aren't the right words - some sort of bad emotion. The other one I like, Koopman, is also fast.

By the way, that tenor aria in Bwv 13, Leusink is pretty inspired in it I think. I'll check Rilling tomorrow.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 15, 2013, 12:13:04 PM
But grating's a good thing, and Rilling and Auger's consolation is a bad thing. Just look at the poem!!!

Are you saying it's grating or nothing in this aria?

Quote
Where I'm coming from is this: prima le parole

Certainly there's a cumulative effect from all forces. Not one over the other. Else there'd just be recitation, here.


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Parsifal on October 15, 2013, 12:14:04 PM
You may be right, though I do feel a sort of hardness, bitterness, nastiness, in the boy's voice which I think is right here. I'm not sure that's just the tempo. Maybe those aren't the right words - some sort of bad emotion. The other one I like, Koopman, is also fast.

I hear a huge difference in the mood of the two performances before the soprano even opens his or her mouth.

If only that Harnoncourt set wasn't plagued by the choristers and the male altos, it would be a miracle.  (Would that Paul Esswood had never been born.)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on October 15, 2013, 12:25:24 PM
I do understand the point being made about the Rilling/Auger performance. But I still turn to it when I hear that music in my head. Probably brainwashed.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Parsifal on October 15, 2013, 12:28:31 PM
I do understand the point being made about the Rilling/Auger performance. But I still turn to it when I hear that music in my head. Probably brainwashed.

I have not listened to the aria in questions (except a quick listen to part of the youtube), but whenever Auger sings it is a miracle.  But she has to work within the constraints that Rilling's tempo creates, and she would presumably have done something very different if she had encountered Harnoncourt's tempo.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sammy on October 15, 2013, 01:09:17 PM
I don't agree Mike.

Just think about what we're dealing with here, this is disturbing music, very, with not an iota of solace

How tremble and waver
the sinners' thoughts
while they bring accusations against each other
and on the other hand dare to make excuses for themselves.
In this way a troubled conscience
is torn apart through its own torments.

To my mind Rilling with Auger are far too comforting.

I do find Rilling's tempo too slow, but "slow" doesn't have to be "comforting".  Also, I don't consider Auger comforting in this aria at all; there's plenty of "misery" in her voice.  I'm surprised you don't hear it.  Actually, her misery equals that of Barbara Schlick for Herreweghe, and Schlick is the queen of Bach's misery.

If there is such a thing as the right tempo for the aria, my preferred tempo comes out to about 6 minutes in length.  Koopman and Suzuki are on target.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sammy on October 15, 2013, 01:12:44 PM
All of the emphasis on the voice --- Auger vs a chorister --- is ignoring the real difference between the performance.  Harnoncourt found the right tempo, which is much faster than Rillings and guides the vocalist to a more declamatory vocal style.  Rilling's much slower tempo leads to a more contemplative vocal style.  If you had given Auger to Harnoncourt he would have produced the same effect with her as he did with the chorister, I think.

Again, I have to object to the premise that the tempo greatly affects the projected mood of the soprano voice.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sammy on October 15, 2013, 01:14:34 PM
I do understand the point being made about the Rilling/Auger performance. But I still turn to it when I hear that music in my head. Probably brainwashed.

Mike

No, you just have good taste. 8)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Sammy on October 15, 2013, 01:16:10 PM
I have not listened to the aria in questions (except a quick listen to part of the youtube), but whenever Auger sings it is a miracle.  But she has to work within the constraints that Rilling's tempo creates, and she would presumably have done something very different if she had encountered Harnoncourt's tempo.

Well, her singing would have to be quicker.  Beyond that, I think it's speculation.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on October 15, 2013, 02:18:32 PM
OK, I will open up here and try to articulate something about the aria and the performance. Bach often sets words that are far from comforting. They face doubt, fear and pain flat on.

The words on occasion say one thing, but the setting can take you down a different road. In this instance, Rilling allows the underlying accompaniment to chug, he does not smooth it out. There is a tension there in the relentless undertow. The obbligato is is not played dreamily, it has muscle, but the setting of the words is undeniably beautiful. Now Auger certainly expresses turbulence, this is not a becalmed take on disturbing words. There is tension there quite clearly to my ears. But she expresses this within the deployment of an exceptional technique and beautiful voice. She pushes through some of the long melismatic phrases, to my ears articulating stress without destroying the great arching lines of the melody. She is not at all passive. To me, she finds the pain and presents it within a context of beauty. I don't feel that a less pleasant voice brings more truth to the text.

There is a beauty in pain, in suffering.....at least in art. The melody here is so sinuous and flat out beautiful that I feel all concerned do mine it for its ambiguity and hold those tensions in balance. I am going to stand by my choice, without suggesting it is the only way to interpret this piece. It moves me a great deal, I don't think it is remotely close to vocalise.

Finally, this is a special singer to me. I attended a number of her performances and was in choir for quite a handful, several times being only about eight feet from her and watching and listening to this glorious voice and her superb professionalism. So, I am biased.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on October 15, 2013, 02:28:06 PM
I think I'll have to pop in this recording myself.  bwv 105 right?  I'm on it! ;D
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: knight66 on October 15, 2013, 02:36:34 PM
I think I'll have to pop in this recording myself.  bwv 105 right?  I'm on it! ;D

Yep, that's it. And you know me of old with my obsession for specific voices for vessels channelling Bach's music.

Mike
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 15, 2013, 03:33:41 PM
OK, I will open up here and try to articulate something about the aria and the performance. Bach often sets words that are far from comforting. They face doubt, fear and pain flat on.

The words on occasion say one thing, but the setting can take you down a different road. In this instance, Rilling allows the underlying accompaniment to chug, he does not smooth it out. There is a tension there in the relentless undertow. The obbligato is is not played dreamily, it has muscle, but the setting of the words is undeniably beautiful. Now Auger certainly expresses turbulence, this is not a becalmed take on disturbing words. There is tension there quite clearly to my ears. But she expresses this within the deployment of an exceptional technique and beautiful voice. She pushes through some of the long melismatic phrases, to my ears articulating stress without destroying the great arching lines of the melody. She is not at all passive. To me, she finds the pain and presents it within a context of beauty. I don't feel that a less pleasant voice brings more truth to the text.

There is a beauty in pain, in suffering.....at least in art. The melody here is so sinuous and flat out beautiful that I feel all concerned do mine it for its ambiguity and hold those tensions in balance. I am going to stand by my choice, without suggesting it is the only way to interpret this piece. It moves me a great deal, I don't think it is remotely close to vocalise.

Finally, this is a special singer to me. I attended a number of her performances and was in choir for quite a handful, several times being only about eight feet from her and watching and listening to this glorious voice and her superb professionalism. So, I am biased.

Mike

Thanks for sharing that. Enjoyable read.

I suppose it would've helped if I had mentioned that overall I do enjoy Auger's singing for Rilling. I have several discs' worth from this cycle and for me one highlight is Auger's rendition of the famous Hört, ihr Völker aria from bwv 76.

She certainly gets the jubilance just right, here! ;D


Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: kishnevi on October 15, 2013, 05:54:15 PM
DD et al, I am loving this revisitation of key moments.  It's making me reach compulsively for the examples I have at hand.

Is that (Auger) with Rilling/Hanssler/Vol. ~33, Mike?  The paper booklets in that stand-alone set don't mention personnel, and I can't access the ROM for the moment.
.


The answer is yes. ( for convenience sake,  I've copied all the PDFs for that set onto my hard drive.)
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Marc on October 15, 2013, 08:24:21 PM
All of the emphasis on the voice --- Auger vs a chorister --- is ignoring the real difference between the performance.  Harnoncourt found the right tempo, which is much faster than Rillings and guides the vocalist to a more declamatory vocal style.  Rilling's much slower tempo leads to a more contemplative vocal style.  If you had given Auger to Harnoncourt he would have produced the same effect with her as he did with the chorister, I think.

Yes, this very sweet and lyrical approach, which one hears quite often in this aria, has always seemed wrong to me. And yes, maybe Harnoncourt would have convinced Augér to sing it completely different. But it would have cost him more time, I think. A boy chorister might be easier to convince.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Octave on October 15, 2013, 09:49:45 PM
A boy chorister might be easier to convince.

I am reminded of Taruskin's quoting John Butt re: Harnoncourt's boy soloists: "No special opinions about pitch and tempo."
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: DavidW on October 16, 2013, 04:49:21 AM
I wish the booklets listed the soloists!  It must be on the cd rom.  Anyway I listened to that recording last night (bwv 105 Auger) and it is phenomenal with well judged tempos.  It sounds a tad bit slow in certain places compared to a period style performance, but that doesn't make the performance flawed.  The singing was heartfelt, the music was dark.  I have not heard the Harnoncourt recording but imo a boy singing sounds inappropriate to me.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Parsifal on October 16, 2013, 06:20:17 AM
I also listened to BWV 105 yesterday, in Rilling's recording.  The thing that made the biggest impression on me was probably the first movement.  The orchestral prelude was superb, and the way Bach brought in solo singers, then the full chorus was very effective (I assume that was Bach's direction and not a liberty of Rilling).  The soprano aria was also a very moving piece.  The opening, with the tremolo string motif was striking and the oboe solo was very vividly expressive.   I found myself more captivated by the oboe than the soprano voice.  Another nice thing about this cantata is that it does not dwell on a single mood, as some cantatas do, although the jubilant tenor aria struck me as less inspired than the soprano aria.  I also liked the fact that the tremolo motif from the soprano aria returned in a different context in the closing chorale.

I guess in listening I lost track of the goal, of listening to Auger.
Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on October 16, 2013, 07:45:20 AM
I do find Rilling's tempo too slow, but "slow" doesn't have to be "comforting".  Also, I don't consider Auger comforting in this aria at all; there's plenty of "misery" in her voice.  I'm surprised you don't hear it.  Actually, her misery equals that of Barbara Schlick for Herreweghe, and Schlick is the queen of Bach's misery.

If there is such a thing as the right tempo for the aria, my preferred tempo comes out to about 6 minutes in length.  Koopman and Suzuki are on target.

If I suggested that there isn't misery in Auger/Rilling then I didn't mean to, sorry. What I think is that their vision is one of consolation. It's as if I'm crying, and I go to someone who's also crying, and we hug each other. Or if not crying substitute some other negative emotion.

Just imagine going to Harnoncourt and his boy for nice warm consoling hug. No chance, his vision has no warmth in it.

Compare the way Harnoncourt plays the closing instrumenatal bars of the movement with Rilling - it may help you to get what I'm gesturing towards.


Now my  suggestion is that Harnoncourt's interpretation is better. Maybe there's some theological reasons behind Rilling's approach - I haven't gone that deeply into it.

By the way, at the back of my mind as I'm typing this are some ideas that Busoni wrote about, about expressing emotion in musical performance rather than actually suffering that emotion. Expressing anger when playng Wilde Jagd, rather than actually being angry. If I had time I'd investigate this more.

Oh, and thanks to you and everyine else for quite a stimulating little discussion.

Title: Re: The Bach Cantatas
Post by: Mandryka on October 16, 2013, 07:50:38 AM

If there is such a thing as the right tempo for the aria, my preferred tempo comes out to about 6 minutes in length.  Koopman and Suzuki are on target.