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Bach: Complete Edition [Box set]

Various Artists , Bach , None Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
Price: £103.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Bach: Complete Edition + Beethoven, Complete Edition
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Product details

  • Audio CD (25 Aug 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 142
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Brilliant Classics
  • ASIN: B00L2SQVS4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 200,455 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely no regrets 3 July 2011
By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have had my eye on versions of this box for at least a couple of years now, but doubts as to the possible quality of its contents have always obliged me to refrain from making the commitment. After all, given the price of some of the more costly complete Bach boxes out there, how could this box be anything other than ropey old recordings of ropey old performances? Indeed, to some extent, it was actually the unbelievably low price that prevented me from taking the plunge, making it seem just far too good a proposition to be true. This is evidently something that some marketing bod, somewhere, has switched on to lately, because I bought mine at £70, and now, six weeks later, when I come to write a review, it's selling at a more realistic £140. All the same, knowing what I know about the quality of the contents, I would still have no hesitation about paying the asking price, and would still think I was getting the better of the bargain.

The collection is broken up into six colour coded categories; orchestral works, solo keyboard, as performed on harpsichord, two sets of cantatas, other vocal works of assorted scales and then the organ works. For good measure we have performances on DVD of the Matthew and John Passions, and a DVD ROM that includes, amongst other things, the scores in their entirety.

First thing to say is about the recording quality. I have taken ample samples in most categories now, and it is apparent that the recording quality is uniformly excellent throughout. Not just adequate, but excellent, with each performance placed in a suitable location to guarantee a sympathetic acoustic, and then recorded so as to capture its full depth.
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75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Go on, give it a go! 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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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bach for life 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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complete Bach Edition 25 Aug 2012
By Erik R.
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome deal! Don`t quibble, let the music speak for itself.
A superb box set this for the price.
Do not listen too much to people quibbling about slight variations in quality of the singing, it is very slight and very occasional. Read more
Published 8 months ago by PJ UK
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy happy
Amazing! One dollar per cd for the complete works of Bach. Some A recordings, some C- recordings but a great bargain for a one of a kind compilation.
Published 8 months ago by Carmella C. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing set - years of listening
I've got to give this five stars, for several reasons: 1) There's so much great music here 2) The value is terrific 3) Lots of the recordings are terrific 4) This kind of combines... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sebastian Palmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection
Yes, this cost almost £100 but believe me it was worth not just every penny but many, many more. Superb service meant order Friday, delivery Monday. And now 157 CDs and 3 DVDs. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Rod
5.0 out of 5 stars An opportunity not to be missed
I have quite a number of pieces by Bach; mainly, I suppose, the more famous works. This hefty box set is an opportunity to sample all of Bach's works. Read more
Published 16 months ago by C. D. Vanderweele
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive set
Have just finished the complete works of Mozart and Corelli and now ready to start on Bach. A comprehensive set beautifully presented

Cannot comment yet on recording... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Michael Angell
1.0 out of 5 stars Can't say.
This was bought as a leaving present for our vicar following a collection through the parish. I don't like Bach so haven't even opened it.
Published 17 months ago by rog05j86
3.0 out of 5 stars The parson's egg collection
The recordings themselves are good, but navigating them and using the supplied media is poor, unless your German is very good -- that is not me. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Dr. R. Duke
5.0 out of 5 stars unbelievable offer
This is an extraordinary collection! 160 disks for £82 including delivery (via a special offer in BBC Radio Times to coincide with the recent Radio 3 Baroque Spring programming). Read more
Published 18 months ago by Daisy W
5.0 out of 5 stars Bach an Indulgence
A wonderful buy. Enjoying dipping into old favourite. Listening to the many cantatas that I've neglected over the years. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Miss Tee Time
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