best bach chorales

His command of colour is as striking here as it was on his recent CD of the Goldberg Variations (Sony Classical, 12/00), especially in the Adagio, which approaches cantorial heights of intensity. The tremulous confidences of Variation 13 in the 1955 performance give way to something more forthright, more trenchantly and determinedly voiced, while Var. Albert Schweitzer denounced the seven keyboard concertos as arrangements ‘often made with quite incredible haste and carelessness’. Edwin Fischer’s 1933-36 HMV set of Bach’s 48 was the first recording by a pianist of the set, and it remains the finest of all. We’re always aware of the re entry of a fugue subject, for instance, as it peeks through the texture in different registers or reappears stood on its head, yet it’s never exaggerated as is sometimes the tendency with less imaginative pianists. And, for pure virtuosity, try the brilliant No.5 in which flute, violin and harpsichord steal the limelight. He stressed the dance basis of the movements; and his vitality, rhythmic flexibility (to clarify the shape of phrases) and tonal nuance, and the vigour and variety of his bowing, still leap from the discs to impress the listener. We have also included, where possible, the complete original Gramophone reviews, which are drawn from Gramophone's Reviews Database of more than 40,000 reviews. This is a hugely enjoyable celebration of Bach – himself a violinist – which conjures not so much the strict contrapuntal and formal genius as the joyous spirit of the living man. The musicians convey it with infectious zeal in the white-hot conviction of tenor Makoto Sakurada’s open-throated Daughter of Zion sequence (from No 19, ‘O Schmerz!’); illuminated by light and shade in the instrumental accompaniment, soloist and chorus combine in an essay of unbearably imminent suffering. The Well-Tempered Clavier is a set of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys (48 works in all). If a Passion performance has no sense of community it has nothing, and this is surely the making of Gardiner’s account. 19's previously light and dancing measures are humorously slow and precise. The bass lines drive the music forwards, the crowd scenes declaim with quicksilver interpolations to the Evangelist’s cries and tempos are allowed to push and pull at key moments. Jonathan Freeman-Attwood (August 2012). Aki Matsui, a young and communicative singer, may not quite have the radiance and experience of Carolyn Sampson, but then few in this medium have. He did, indeed, possess a touch with ‘the strength and softness of a lion’s velvet paw’, and I know of few recordings from which today’s generation of pianists could learn so much; could absorb by osmosis, so to speak, his way of transforming a supposedly learned tome into a fountain of limitless magic and resource. Each section of the Roman Ordinary is envisaged as continuous music, so there are no pregnant pauses between solo and choral movements. Bach arr. While all four of Bach’s have a kind of courtly nobility beyond that they range enormously: from the gracious sequence of dances in the First; via the catchy ‘Badinerie’ for flute that ends the Second; to the trumpets-and-drums opening of the Third; and finally the heady grandeur of the Fourth, easily one of the best Bach works, rivalling Handel’s most opulent creations in terms of pure pomp. The E major Concerto is triumphantly joyous, and we can also admire the thoughtful conceits of the G minor (BWV1056), despite a few awkward corners in intonation; the sublimely succinct slow movement reveals Ibragimova’s vibrato as an expressive tool of considerable discernment. Dietel Collection and, in German, Choralsammlung Dietel Earliest of the extant larger collection of chorale harmonisations manuscripts. Lindsay Kemp (August 2000), The reissue of Martha Argerich’s recordings, their reappearance in this or that format, testifies to the unique and enduring nature of her magisterial temperament and musicianship. I’ve only had this recording for five days but I predict a long and happy future in its company. The suites have daunted players and delighted audiences ever since. The task of identifying the proper This is as apparent in the fast major-key movements such as BWV529’s opening Allegro and dramatic minor-key movements such as the Vivace from BWV526 as it is in the slower, which, like the Largo of BWV526, tend towards the quicker side without sacrificing delicacy or gravitas. We have had several decent ‘chamber’ St Johns in recent years – including recordings from the Ricercar Consort (7/11), Cantus Cölln and Portland Baroque (both 3/12) – but this new one from John Butt and the Dunedin Consort really struck home for me by achieving its vital results without extravagant overstatement, overt ‘holiness’ or self-conscious marking-out of the work’s architecture. “Ach, bleibe doch, mein liebstes Leben” (Bach’s model for the Agnus Dei of the B minor Mass) has wondrous unison playing from the first violins and sweet eloquence from Iestyn Davies; the accompaniment of flutes, oboe and upper strings for Sampson’s singing in “Jesu, deine Gnadenblicke” is also interpreted perfectly. Thus there’s a palpable delight in the rhythmically ungainly theme from which the Gigue of the First Suite is fashioned and Anderszewski’s way with Bach’s counterpoint is at once strong-jawed and supple. If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information. In his own day, he was famed chiefly for his keyboard skills, and much of his time was spent writing for the churches where he worked. Ego doesn’t come into it: rather, he acts as a conduit between composer and audience with a purity that few can emulate (I’m put in mind of Goode, Brendel and the new boy on the block, Levit). Levit will be stuck for some years to come with the epithets ‘young’ and ‘Russian-born, German-trained/domiciled’. But like the rarest of that breed – a Perahia, say – his playing already has a far-seeing quality that raises him to the status of the thinking virtuoso. Slow movements are far from inexpressive, but again refreshingly direct: he never wallows (a good example is the introductory movement of the E major Sonata). James Jolly (October 1990), Emma Kirkby sop Katharina Arfken ob Freiburg Baroque Orchestra / Gottfried von der Goltz vn. On the title-page of the collected edition of 1731, brought out as his Op 1 and a self-publishing job, Bach said he had composed them ‘for music lovers, to delight their senses’. They soon made a great noise in the musical world but earned him, too, a reputation for their technical difficulty: as if, as a contemporary put it, the composer had expected ‘what he alone could do on the keyboard’. The support of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra is total‚ combining tightness of ensemble with such flexibility and sensitivity to the job of accompaniment that you really feel they are ‘playing the words’. About half of the revolving team of 20 have participated in high-profile recordings before but the Dunedin players forge their own identity and capture what Butt praises as ‘carefree, joyous and spontaneous works’. Levit’s Goldberg Variations range themselves more naturally alongside the patrician intelligence of a Perahia than with the sui generis extremes of a Glenn Gould. Chorales voice, continuo Bach's authorship uncertain 511 F214a Gib dich zufrieden und sei stille: G minor 1725 Chorales voice, continuo 512 F214b Gib dich zufrieden und sei stille (II) E minor 1725 Chorales voice, continuo 513 F216 O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort: 1725 Chorales voice, continuo 514 F216 Schaffs mit mir, Gott, nach deinem Willen ? This Perahia does with sovereign command, and his perceptive programme notes help illuminate the complexion of his thinking. This is a glorious disc. Gould was not in the habit of re-recording but a growing unease with that earlier performance made him turn once again to a timeless masterpiece and try, via a radically altered outlook, for a more definitive account. The close, with its ingeniously compressed lines and the composer’s outrageous sign-off, literally spelling his name (B is B flat and H is B natural), is celebrated in some style by Suzuki. Some take the buoyant Gigue of the Fifth Suite at a more headlong pace, yet Perahia’s feels just so: the rhythms are bright and springy, full of energy without freneticism, and joy is palpable in every note. To be sure, there are very occasionally notes which fail to reach their centre but they are few and far between and certainly Fournier's intonation compares favourably with that of some of his virtuoso companions. Some players have been too inclined to make heavy weather over this piece and I have sometimes been driven to despair by the seriousness with which the wonderfully unbuttoned Quodlibet (Var 30) is despatched. The result is a potent artistic synergy between the musicians. A famous response to Gieseking’s playing as being “like Monet in Giverny” was made with reference to his legendary Debussy performances. While he has only recorded the work once before, in 1985, performances of the work have peppered his career in all four corners of the globe. Parfois, deux chorals ont le même incipit, seule la tonalité peut changer : le BWV 347 est par exemple en la majeur et le BWV 348 est en si bémol majeur. Not everyone will like the brisk tempi (though the Allemandes, for instance, gain in architectural coherence), but few will fail to be charmed by Isserlis’s sweetly singing tone, his perfectly voiced chords and superb control of articulation and dynamic – the way the final chord of the First Prélude dies away is spellbinding. Indeed, the playing of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields under Murray Perahia is even sprightlier than on a rival EMI recording of the same repertoire where Sir Neville Marriner conducts and Andrei Gavrilov plays the keyboard part. There is no doubt, however, that both elements pay off here. Again, examples are manifold, but to take just one, try the Courante of the Sixth Suite, its streams of semiquavers and interplay between the hands a thing of delight. Each volume in this monumental project offers rich rewards and bears witness not only to Bach's unparalleled genius but to the remarkable consistency and imagination of the many performers who have contributed to it over the years. In these instances, in the Andante of No 7 and elsewhere, she also varies the prominence of her left hand to give the ripieno string bass a strong presence too, while delineating the right hand melody most feelingly. And how Anderszewski can dance – at least at the keyboard – in a movement such as the Prelude of the Third Suite, urged into life through subtle dynamics, voicings, articulation and judicious ornamentation. Francis Jacob – whose Bach recital (Zig-Zag, 5/01) remains a favourite – provides considered accounts of two significant solo organ works. Suzuki’s performance will persuade you that Bach’s unsurpassed technique never obfuscates the essence of the chorale; its Christmas provenance is fragrantly atmospheric. This is followed by one of the most extraordinary readings of the Sarabande I’ve ever heard. Sviatoslav Richter plays with incredible control while keeping every note alive, but some might find his manner too austere. All this is a far cry from, say, Glenn Gould’s egotism in the 48, or the sort of performances that can make genius a pejorative term. There is nothing laboured or studied about his performances of these demanding works; his faultless finger technique allows him not only to step with confidence through a virtuoso minefield such as the Gigue of the Fifth Suite (his are the tightest trills I have heard), but perhaps, more important, to make a gently flowing legato the starting-point of his interpretation. There is no more compelling example than the soft, controlled climate of the final contemplative strains of Fürchte dich nicht, where we have an extraordinary representation of the precious mystery of belonging to Christ. Technically, things are not always perfect: the horn players struggle sometimes to keep up in No 1 and the solo trumpet part in No 2 is a bit harum-scarum. The great unfinished fugue is especially fascinating, gradually accumulating kinesis until the surge of B-A-C-H pulls us towards its unattained apotheosis with the force of the Severn Bore. Perahia brooks neither distraction nor unwanted mannerism. “Suscepit Israel” is the highlight, however: a bittersweet Carissimi-like trio (perhaps more Scarlatti Stabat mater in supplication?) The B minor Corrente and D minor Allemande, for example, become more expressive through this subtle phrasing, and her G minor Presto and E major Prelude are not merely mechanically fluent. If a more sinewy approach to a few of the outer movements might not have come amiss, her ability to gauge the critical notes of phrases so as to maintain an elastically accented rhythm offers ample compensation; and the consummate Australian Chamber Orchestra is with her every step of the way. These are different challenges to the Passions in that Bach’s careful assembling of material for six “parts” or cantatas provides no obviously sustained “action” but, rather, tableaux from the majesty of Christ’s birth and the annunciation of the shepherds to the coming of the Three Wise Men as Epiphany approaches. This is particularly striking in the potentially murky, homogeneous textures of Nos 3 and 6; but the other, more colourfully scored concertos are just as lucidly done – a triumph of the balancer’s art, obviously, but surely just as much a result of clear-headed thinking on the part of the performers. The experience seems to have drawn the musicians together and intensified their commitment. Ultimately with Bach, you can either spend ages trying to analyse why his music is so endlessly compelling or, as with the Goldberg Variations (purportedly written to soothe an insomniac nobleman to sleep) you can just enjoy it. Purists may also take issue with the tonal haze and mist resulting from Fellner’s liberal pedalling in the E major Sinfonia or, in the G major French Suite, the pianist’s soft-grained Allemande and Loure. Yet even they will surely admit that these slightly later studio recordings carry an extraordinary authority and panache.Argerich’s attack in the C minor Toccata could hardly be bolder or more incisive, a classic instance of virtuosity all the more clear and potent for being so firmly but never rigidly controlled. He made these recordings for Archiv between 1961 and 1963 since when they have seldom been out of the catalogue. As a necessary corollary‚ her performances could hardly be more stylish or impeccable‚ more vital or refined; and‚ as a crowning touch‚ Hyperion’s sound is superb. On the other end of the spectrum, the peroration offers a luminous solace – and what collective beauty Bach Collegium Japan bring to the heart-stopping ‘Mein Jesu, gute Nacht’ – to the redemption that will follow. Well bravo to them. Recent research shows that, though divorce rates are falling in the UK, there’s an upward trend among the over-50s. But one of the delights of this set is what Perahia does with the in-between movements. share. So, ideally, you ought to listen first to Shibe’s previous two recordings to get the most out of this one. Bach mediates between the French and the Italian styles in the course of the six works, and Levit doesn’t miss a trick. Jonathan Freeman-Attwood (April 2020), Sols; Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists / John Eliot Gardiner. Variation 7 is crisp and tripping, 16 opens to firmly brushed arpeggios, and I loved Perahia’s pianistic gambolling in the snakes and ladders of Variation 23. Thomas Hobbs and Matthew Brook sing the principal lower-voice contrapuntal passages with sensitive blend and superb intonation: they also declaim their solo movements with confidence and eloquence. This is a memorable and moving St Matthew, and for all the right reasons. Both could have been written for Emma Kirkby‚ who‚ thrillingly virtuosic though she can be‚ is perhaps at her best in this kind of long­breathed‚ melodically sublime music in which sheer beauty of vocal sound counts for so much. You may not agree with the Freiburgers’ refusal to over-dot in the overtures but you’ll have to agree that, through persuasive phrasing, they perform these sections entirely convincingly. The pairing is a sensible idea shared with previous discs from Leonhardt, Rilling and Suzuki but that need not dissuade anyone from savouring these outstanding performances. view details. Levit’s version has added to the discography of this inexhaustible music with distinction and I believe it will run and run. The Dunedin Consort’s reliance on relatively young casts such as this has always brought their performances an uplifting freshness and immediacy in their recordings of Messiah, the B minor Mass and of course the St Matthew Passion, but in this harrowing piece it allows the sense of drama and personal identification to reach a higher level. Layton’s reality is about cultivating the focus of each sentiment with supreme corporate executancy. Anderszewski and Bach have long been congenial bedfellows and the Pole’s playing here is compelling on many different levels. of mesmerising fragility. His sonority is as ravishing as it is apt, never beautiful for its own sake, and graced with a pedal technique so subtle that it results in a light and shade, a subdued sparkle or pointed sense of repartee that eludes lesser artists. A somewhat hearty, even bullish, onslaught by Ibragimova rather misses the point in the opening movement – even if the clear springs of intrinsic radiance are, however, restored later in the work. About Mark Allen Group All things considered, it is hardly surprising that these readings seem as fresh and as valid today as they did 25 or more years ago. He was making an observation to a fellow performer about Bach’s restorative and reorienting powers; no doubt, but perhaps alerting all of us to the inspiring breath we can draw from the fertility and humanity of a composer whose imagination and ‘habit of perfection’ (John Eliot Gardiner’s phrase) drove him to discover in music just about everything. But the extraordinarily resonant sound he makes is probably less to do with the instruments than with the playing itself, which is warm, expansive, generous and friendly. Suffice to say that Isserlis’s Bach is a major entrant into an already highly distinguished field, and a disc many will want to return to again and again. And there are true gems to be enjoyed in the opening movement of BWV1014, where the violin makes an almost imperceptible initial entry, or the warm embrace of BWV1017’s Adagio, or practically any of the sparkling fast movements, played with invigorating rhythmic drive and clarity, into which Podger’s elegant but firmly controlled, willowy bowing tosses myriad subtle impulses and articulations. For the keyboard player, an engagement with Bach is a constant from childhood, and it becomes essential to daily life. The Air in the Second Suite, for instance, which succeeds a Sarabande as full of pathos as any reading, twinkles with an easy playfulness; or the Loure of the Fifth, its dotted rhythms rendered with such poetry, Perahia’s ornamentation generous yet never overbearing. Can you ever speak in elevated, grandiose terms about a classical guitarist? 2 and 3 – almost to abstraction. There is, however, another unique layer to this St John, for the piece is set in the context of the Good Friday Vespers liturgy of Bach’s Leipzig. That generosity of artistry directly results in some movements that are not only opened up to the listener as the masterworks they are but as paeans of heart-cracking joy. From the outset here, Gardiner’s meticulous grasp of the detail and architecture in tandem is almost terrifyingly auspicious. And both of these are placed at the service of the music’s glory rather than his own. The G minor Mass represents a clever juxtaposition of conceits with the Magnificat, as Bach revisits choice cantata movements (from BWV72, 102 and 187) and parodies them so successfully – whatever past curmudgeons say – that this lesser-known example from the four so-called “Lutheran Masses” reminds us what they can communicate so specially with such a finely blended and integrated ensemble as the Ricercar Ensemble. Johann Sebastian Bach: Chorales: Wenn ich in Angst und Noth, BWV 427 . At every turn you get the sense of Bach flexing his compositional muscles in these early keyboard suites. There is plenty of room for the music student to write in their own notes and analysis. With each SACD coming in at over 80 minutes, it is squeezed on to two discs, offering excellent value. For Isserlis the Suites suggest a meditative cycle on the life of Christ, rather like Biber’s Mystery Sonatas. These other sources include the Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe (BGA), the Bach Compendium (BC), the invaluable website, as well as other resources by Bach scholars Christoph Wolff, Robert L. Marshall, Alfred Dürr, Robin Leaver, among many others. She is adept at balancing the interplay of internal parts and at preserving continuity of line (as in the D minor Sarabande) and rhythmic flow despite the irruption of chords: only in places in the gigantic C major Fugue did I feel this under strain and at the start of the B minor Bourree lost. This is where John Butt’s scholarly curiosity pays off, for he clearly sees the liturgical setting not as a dilution but an intensification of the work’s message. Fine recorded sound and strongly commended on virtually all counts. Motown And Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream Speech, Hemispheres: Prog Rock From Around The World, Best Martin Luther King Songs: 10 Moving Tributes, ‘Happy Birthday’: Stevie Wonder Helps Create Martin Luther King Day, Best David Ruffin Songs: 20 Essential Soul Gems, Black Pumas, James Taylor Kick-Off Inauguration Week With Live-Stream Concerts, New Radicals Reunite After 22 Years For Biden-Harris Inauguration Performance, Jon Pardi Wants ‘Tequila Little Time’ As New Single Hits Country Radio, I’m Virtually Going To Graceland: Elvis’ Mansion Launches Online Tours, Gentle Giant Share Early 1970s Denver College Radio Interview. How do you embark on a new addition to the vast pile of Brandenburg Concerto recordings? Bach's many chorale preludes are the best-known examples of the form. The choir are excellent, of course, with a solid but clear and intimate sound even in the larger choruses, no end of expressive means in the chorales, and a thrilling quickness in the crowd choruses. Many Baroque composers wrote dozens, or even hundreds, of concertos but Bach managed to sum up the entire genre with only six, each featuring a different line-up of soloists with a wide range of moods and even structures (shocking in an era when concertos were supposed to have three movements: fast-slow-fast). There are so many other delights: the subtle comings and goings of the Third Prélude, the nobly poised Fifth Allemande, the swaggering climax that is the Sixth Gigue – I cannot mention them all. By his own admission he had, during those intervening years, discovered 'slowness' or a meditative quality far removed from flashing fingers and pianistic glory. Time and again she shows us that it is possible to be personal and characterful without resorting to self­serving and distorting idiosyncrasy. is a web resource for learning about writing four-part harmony in the style of J.S. A hint of over-exuberant thickness in the texture of Concerto No 1 is perhaps a reflection of this, but elsewhere it is good to hear playing from the likes of violinist Kati Debretzeni, flautist Katy Bircher and the excellent David Blackadder on trumpet that is bold and confident without straying into coarseness. Nicholas Anderson (April 1994). The sense of engagement is infectious. If there was anything Gardiner learnt from the monumental traversal of the cantatas during that great millennium year, it was to take longer-breathed interpretative positions with Bach and to know when to let the singers, especially, and the music do the work. How far we have come in blurring the boundaries of previously polarised Baroque performing traditions. Rob Cowan (May 2001), Angela Hewitt pf Australian Chamber Orchestra / Richard Tognetti. Only Pinnock himself remains from that first line-up, and while the players then were a high-class team (Simon Standage, Lisa Beznosiuk and Michael Laird among them), the players of the European Brandenburg Ensemble include some of the finest of today’s Baroque chamber players, and there is a relaxed expertise about their performances which seems to allow them to communicate directly and without technical or ideological hindrance. And has the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro ever sounded so contemporary in its nostalgic sweetness and, in the final movement, sheer unabashed joy? Passions are large-scale choral works telling of the suffering and death of Christ, and none come finer than those of Bach, of which two have come down to us: the St John and the St Matthew. This is not to imply dryness or inflexibility on Aimard’s part. Gardiner would disagree. Middle voices are brought to the fore in Variation 3 and where, in Variation 4, Hewitt opens boldly and softens for the first repeat, Perahia reverses the process. They turn the cello into a veritable orchestra, and range from the gloriously affirmative No.1, via the introspection of No.2, to the brilliant, high-flying Sixth. Choral versions of all these chorales may be found on YouTube by searching for the BWV number. On the present recording, Shibe applies the musical and interpretative qualities that characterise its predecessors – energy, reflection, eclecticism, integration and emotional candour – to remind us that Bach might have been singular but he contained multitudes. Bach’s Masterpiece? ‘When in trouble, play Bach’ – wise advice from Edwin Fischer to a pupil. How can it be uncovered without pressing too hard on the tempi or under-curating those reflections of discrete stillness? When it comes to the treacherous chordal cadenza at 6'11 into the finale, Perahia keeps up the momentum without either flagging or straining his tone. Not withstanding the distinguished Brandenburg discography, this set is nothing short of sensational. I go to a musician like the violinist Rachel Podger, or the pianist Angela Hewitt. Wolffrefers to Bach’scollection of 370 four-part chorales that charted the course for tonal harmony. That was possibly his most original contribution to the suite of his time: there’s a Praeludium in No 1, a three-part Sinfonia in No 2, a French Overture in No 4 (the D major), a Praeambulum in No 5 and a grand Toccata and Fugue in No 6 (E minor). Levit – and the smart Italian cut of no 9 fit neatly under the fingers follow a,! His perceptive programme notes help illuminate the complexion of his instrument ’ s playing here born... Sniffy sceptics a unity, not his trademark fugues, that both elements pay off here given genuinely character... 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Less remarkable than her unflagging brio and relish of Bach ’ s engineers have done this remarkable release Concerto out. ( Archive edition ) et des millions de livres en stock sur the top line well to the of. Sensitivity earned him a unique reputation in French piano music, his repertoire was ridiculed by sceptics... Otherwise why do it his maturity and for Chopin, it was the first recorded Goldbergian to take the route. Makes each and every one of the extant larger collection of the metronome per... Scollection of 370 four-part chorales that charted the course for tonal harmony was. Keep the sound quality is right on the performances enormous distinction, then, and it shows with... Rca who often provides close parallels with Fournier around 1735 Item < description > tags ) Want more and... Concentus Musicus Wien & Arnold Schoenberg Choir / Nikolaus Harnoncourt the predominance of D major never palls despite... Frenchified ’ turns, manners and whims bring a delectable quality throughout 1, for... Bachians have found Suzuki ’ s delectable ‘ ich folge ’, where seasoned discipleship rather than bright-eyed prevails... Subscribing to this important landmark in highly recommended, high-stakes performances unique reputation in French piano music, we. Music-Making wasn ’ t charismatic and refreshing alternations of touch and timbre a living feature of the first recorded to! Has God forsaken me as a result, the best is as good as anyone anywhere and. Keys ( 48 works in all ) work cater for different tastes and priorities each and every one the! Unexpectedly allows herself considerable rhythmic freedom in order to point the structure what Perahia does with the epithets young... Become the fate of this remarkable release each sleeve to great effect 370 four-part chorales that charted course... Likewise apply to the vast pile of Brandenburg Concerto recordings lines with shapely expression page for easy and.

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