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Bach: Complete Edition Box set

30 customer reviews

Price: £88.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Bach
  • Audio CD (25 Aug. 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 142
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Brilliant Classics
  • ASIN: B00L2SQVS4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 106,090 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Product Description

142 CDs representing the entirety of Johann Sebastian Bach's oeuvre in historically informed performances.This includes all 200 sacred cantatas recorded for Brilliant Classics on period instruments and sung by the Holland Boys Choir.Big name artists include Thomas Zehetmair,Pieter Jan Belder,Bob van Asperen,René Jacobs,Arleen Auger,Lucia Popp,Edith Mathis,Peter Schreier and Matthias Goerne.For reasons of completeness,pure musical enjoyment,scholarly research,attractive,space saving design and price,you cannot afford to be without Brilliant Classics improved Complete Bach Edition.

About the Artist

Johann Sebastian Bach's stature as a composer of extraordinary talent and widespread influence is so firmly established in Western culture that it is difficult to believe that only 150 years ago his works lay in veritable obscurity,unknown to all but a small group of scholars.It is largely thanks to Mendelssohn,who essentially effected a revival of the composer's music through his rediscovery and promulgation of the St Matthew Passion,besides other pieces,that his works are today regarded as pinnacles of music expression.That they are among the most performed and widely attended is in no doubt;in Holland alone,thousands of singers and musicians are involved in dozens of performances of the St Matthew Passion in Holy Week,with hundreds of thousands listening in churches and concert halls,or gathered around the radio,to what has been described as the Gospel according to Bach.Bringing together all of his works,this dynamic 142CD set offers a resounding impression of this great spirit of our Western culture,presenting dynamic performances many period based,many acclaimed by the international press that are divided according to genre,thus making for a highly user friendly compendium.The set draws on all periods of his career,tracing the development of a style that was much influenced by contemporary and past fashions but which was always adapted to Bach's own purpose,often far surpassing the models on which he drew.The German composer travelled a great deal from city to city,and the different circumstances of his various positions are reflected in the great range of works comprising his output:while his early years are dominated by much keyboard music,on account of the numerous organist posts he held during this period,later positions at various courts accorded him more personal and artistic freedom in Cöthen,for example,Prince Leopold's passion for music making and his renowned resident orchestra resulted in a string of unforgettable works including the great Brandenburg Concertos,the Solo Cello Suites and the Well Tempered Clavier Part 1,beside many others.Bach was a master of all genres,whether sacred,secular,instrumental or vocal,and his oeuvre is a rich mixture of severe Baroque craftsmanship and expressive Romanticism.Thomas Zehetmair,Kristóf Baráti,the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig,René Jacobs,Peter Schreier and Lucia Popp are just a handful of the first class performers and ensembles gracing this set.It is a collection not to be passed up.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Erik R. on 25 Aug. 2012
Format: Audio CD
This box met certainly all expectations! First the negative point: it is true that some discs have mediocre quality performances recorded. In my opinion, the Matthew Passion is rather weak due to some soloists, the choir and recording facilities. This is a shame, as it is one of the major Bach works AND there is also a DVD included which is, logically, of the same quality. Having said that, almost everything else is positive: the cantatas are well recorded and directed. Don't expect Gardiner cantatas, these recordings are not always that 'bombastic' if I may say so. Some parts of the cantatas (individual aria's/recitatives/...) are better than others, but this is the case in every collection of cantatas (e.g. Gardiner, Koopman, etc.). The alto may sometimes give problems to be understood well, but that doesn't really annoy me (often). The chamber music part is very nice, a lot of great recordings in there, e.g. the harpsichord concertos. I also like the cello suites played by ter Linden. Keep in mind that the keyboard works are performed on a harpsichord, so if you prefer them played on a (forte)piano you should consider this purchase. Nevertheless, if you buy this box for the cantats only, the price is still in balance. The harpsichord works are generally, from what I heard, nicely performed. Some parts are better than others, but I can't give a final review on this part of the product as I haven't heard enough of them yet. I heard some organ works and they are nice, the sound is very well recorded as well. Of course, everything is a matter of personal taste and expectations. All and all, a very nice price-quality outcome: some recordings are better than others (only few are really low recorded and/or performed), so I would certainly recommend to buy this collection.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Stefan on 26 July 2012
Format: Audio CD
I bought an earlier version of this box set in 2006 and was pleasantly surprised at its quality - especially the solo instrument suites. I was new to the vocal works and have compiled a list of 110 tracks out of 97 vocal CDs that I would not wish to be without and don't think can be bettered significantly. I'm finding better recordings out there of some other tracks, e.g Prohaska's BWV78 and Gardiner's Magnificat, but some of the fault for this moderate success rate lies with Bach himself and the time pressures he faced and some lies with me for being picky. Yes, I am a heretic and don't think everything by Bach has to be exceptional. However, I'm constantly wowed by Catherine Bott's Zerfliesse in the St John's Passion and I want to speak up for Ruth Holton, who has got some sniffy reviews. She has an unusual voice: several times I was impressed by the technique of the boy soprano in the Cantatas and looked up the artist, only to discover that it was Ruth Holton, a grown woman! Her voice has everything that is good about a boy soprano (a pure, bright, though somewhat sparse tone) combined with a mature technique and it matches this repertoire perfectly. I suspect her distinctive voice could be used to good effect in castrato roles, but I can't find such a recording. There's something special here in the Cantatas. I prefer this BWV162 to the Gardiner version because of the humorous touch of the trombone making the groom going to his wedding sound still tipsy while begging for Jesus's help! I enjoyed the other soloists too and so much seems really well thought out.
This set is one of the best purchases I have ever made.
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Fen Country on 24 Feb. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I admit to being at first a little overwhelmed by this set. There are so many wonderful pieces of music contained here that I have never heard before! Like many, I listened when I could to BBC radio 3's broadcast of the complete Bach a couple of years ago but even that did not prepare me for this. The performances of the Cantatas here are very good. I think this is critical because I believe these works represent the core of Bach's writing. The organ works are also very well played and recorded and must compare favourably with any others currently available. I have to admit that I have always preferred Bach keyboard works played on a piano than a harpsichord as they are here and these discs do not alter that. However, the same work does sound completely different on the two instruments (a piano does not have the same percussive effect as a harpsichord) so this is interesting.
The other concertos and orchestral works are really enjoyable with recent performances on period instruments.
Some reviewers have criticised large collections such as this, asking when can you possibly listen to all this music. With Bach (and Mozart) it is not difficult and the more you know the better you appreciate.
As another reviewer has said, these Brilliant sets cost about the same as a tank of petrol but unlike petrol, these will last a lifetime! This set represents incredible value for money.
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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful By John Adams on 26 Jan. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Forty years ago I began buying Bach vocal scores. Kalmus miniature scores, as I wasn't made of money! I guess that I spent about 40 tanks of petrol on them. Forty years later, with older eyes that have a deal of trouble with miniature scores, I come across an offer of ALL of J S Bach's scores in an electronic, zoomable format for just under one tank of petrol! What is more, thrown in with the scores are 157 CDs and 2 DVDs containing performances of (just about) all of Bach's works.

I read some damning-with-faint-praise/sniffy (e.g. "good buy for a novice") reviews of the performances, but went ahead and purchased. I haven't listened and watched (yes, watched, as the two DVDs are videos of the St. Matthew and St. John 1725 version Passions) to all of the discs yet, but enough to say "Yes there are some indisputable faux pas in this set but so there are in the Haenssler and the Teldec sets". IMHO Helen Holton has a relatively weak, boyish, somewhat diction-less voice. If I dare say it - a rather Kathleen Ferrier-ish voice. Of course, for Bach, a boy soprano is not an unreasonable choice - the Teldec version uses boys, after all - although the demands made of the boys is one of the problems with the Teldec set. One can learn to live with Ms. Holton.

The instumentalists are really very good. The pleasure of owning and getting to know the various Complete Works is the way the different players bind together. You realise how good value Bach is as these different bindings come through and teach you something new - and they really do. Another marvellous thing here is that there is not enough ornamentation to drive you to distraction, but just enough novelty to give you real "gosh!" pleasure (Koopman - take note).

The technical side is a bit of a curate's egg.
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