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Bach J.S: Cantatas Vol 22 Double CD


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Product details

  • Conductor: Gardiner
  • Composer: Bach J.S
  • Audio CD (26 Feb. 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: SDG
  • ASIN: B000N39HP8
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 165,469 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Cantatas Volume 22: Eisenach (40 tracks on 2 CD's) - Johann Sebastian Bach

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BBC Review

St George's Church in Eisenach, in the former East Germany: this is where Bach was baptised, where he sang as a chorister - and where in the first ten years of his life he was in what Sir John Eliot Gardiner calls in his notes 'one of the cradles of Lutheranism'. Luther had sung in the same choir, and prepared his translations of the New Testament in the castle overlooking the town; the chorales, hymns and texts that he wrote would have been some of Bach's earliest experiences of sacred music, the same chorales that he re-works in his cantatas and passions.

So when as part of their Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, Gardiner and his musicians arrived at the Georgenkirche at Easter 2000 to perform three concerts of Bach Cantatas on the appropriate days, you can appreciate how the occasion and the acoustic must have resonated with meaning as well as sound. In fact you can hear it: has there been a more overtly dramatic performance of Bach's Cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden BWV4, with its battle between life and death? And after that struggle the almost explosive jubilation of the next Easter Sunday cantata: Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret BWV31 is cathartic.

The Easter Monday concert offers more exultation in Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen BWV66, and some seriously testing writing for the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir, both impressively nimble in the enormous opening chorus. Given the circumstances of the performances, the soloists get just one shot at some of Bach's severely testing vocal lines!so little wonder that it's here that there's the odd frailty, but across the performances as a whole, alto Daniel Taylor and tenor James Gilchrist make outstanding contributions, especially Gilchrist in the Easter Tuesday Cantata Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiss BWV134.

Its companion Ich lebe, mein Herze, zu deinem Erg�tzen BWV145 is a simple dialogue between Gilchrist as Jesus, and soprano Angharad Gruffyd Jones as the Soul, with all the emotional resonance of a miniature Bach Passion. Everyone I've spoken to who took part in performances during this Pilgrimage speaks of a special atmosphere, an unusual feeling of absorption, devotion and dedication, and one of the triumphs of the series so far is how successfully this comes across in the recordings.

This recording is Disc Of The Week on Radio 3's CD Review --Andrew McGregor

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Sept. 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are 6 cantatas in this 2-disc set, two each for Easter day itself, Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday. One is known to be an early composition, another is dated to 1715 when Bach was 30, and the balance are from his main period of cantata output 1724-1729. For newcomers, Gardiner and his associates dedicated themselves to the daunting project of performing the entire series on the days for which the master intended them within the year delimited by Christmas day 1999 and Christmas day 2000. The format is uniform throughout the series so far as I am aware at this stage, with an introduction by Gardiner and a lengthy and highly personal essay from him on the works performed in each set, full sung texts in German and English and, nestling shyly at the back, a short essay from one of the other performers.

My own less demanding pilgrimage to collect all the cantatas is not long under way, but I have had no disappointments so far, either from Gardiner or from a selection of other artists. I seem to sense that none would dare give anything but their best efforts to this astounding procession of masterpieces. It cannot have been easy to learn them all to recording standard in one year, but the very thought of what Bach achieved must have kept any such thoughts in proportion. If I had to draw exceptional attention to any aspect of the performances here it could only have been to note some shortfall, and I have none to note. All are excellent, and I was particularly pleased with the countertenor Daniel Taylor, not because he outshone the others but because this type of voice is often one I have problems with. I tend to like countertenors best when they most resemble female altos, which of course prompts the question why in that case have male altos?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Teemacs on 8 April 2007
Format: Audio CD
Except, of course, Gardiner does it again. This is, appropriately for the season, a set of Easter cantatas. CD1 is worth the price alone. It has two of the greats, BWV4 "Christ lag in Todesbanden" and the joyous BWV31 "Die Himmel lacht! die Erde jubilieret". All are beautifully played and sung. Roll on the next volume.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. oconnor on 14 May 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is another triumph for John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir & the English Baroque Soloists. Part of their Millenium Pilgrimage series to perform all Bach's Cantatas on their appropriate Feast Days. It will certainly be more durable than the ridiculous "dome" and definitely more enjoyable. My only question is how do they manage to produce such consistently excellent performances? This volume contains the Easter Cantatas for Easter Sunday, Monday & Tuesday, and as such are full of optimism and rejoicing. Just the thing to perk-up a dreary day or an antidote to a "bad day at the office". Buy, listen and simply ENJOY!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I'M BACK!! 5 Jun. 2007
By GEORGE RANNIE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Here I am again trying to praise to the highest degree yet another installment of the John Elliot Gardiner's "Bach Pilgrimage" that is being evidenced by these recordings of the Cantatas at different locales through out the world in the year 2000. (My understanding is that the Cantatas eventually are to be released, on CD, in their entirety by Gardiner and his forces or, at least, all of the ones now known to exist). This 11th release was recorded "live" at St. George's church, Eisenach, Germany, where Johann was baptized. This two disc 11th release (actually Volume 22) wonderfully maintains those very lofty standards that Gardiner and his forces have set previously. Volume 22 is filled with some of the most glorious choruses that I feel dear Johann ever penned. The Monteverdi Chorus and The English Baroque Soloist, playing on "original instruments", are splendid indeed. Listen to the very early and very familiar cantata "Christ lag in Todesbanden", BWV 4, on the 1st disc. That Cantata certainly finds JS Bach at his very best (and that's saying a whole lot). The rather operatic sounding cantata "Ein Herr Das Seinen" on the second disc is marvelous too. The performances, (as in the entire recording), in those Cantatas also find Gardiner and his forces at their very best delivering truly awe inspiring performances of the works. The works in Volume 22 were written for the "Easter Season" which is, of course, a very important time for all Christian churches and Bach in the works contained in Volume 22 certainly "rises to the occasion"--the works in this release are glorious in every way. Volume 22 contains some of the most "moving" music that I have ever heard! Although this release features some marvelous choral music, the soloists have plenty to do, and they do it very well!

Stephen Varcoe's bass voice has never been particularly appealing to me; however, in this recording, he delivers his solos admirably executing the "runs" trills, grace notes, etc., wonderfully. Again, tenor James Gilchrist, is most splendid singing his arias and recitatives accurately and beautifully easily meeting Bach's many vocal challenges--listen to tracts 13 and 14 of the 1st disc and tract 8 of the second disc. Male alto, Daniel Taylor, is good too singing with full rich tones--no "countertenor hoots" are to be heard. The two soprano soloists are "easy on the ear" possessing sweet light lyric and very flexible soprano voices.

Some fine examples of Bach's great instrumental writing are also very evident in Volume 22 with some wonderful trumpet, oboe, violin and cello obbligatos. I loved the lively "Sonata" that serves as an instrumental introduction to the cantata, "Der Himmell Lache" as well as the "Sinfonia" to the cantata

"Christ lag in Todesbanden".

Although, this is a "live" recording, the extraneous noise level is very low. One would never know that it is "live" if it were not so indicated on the "jacket" as such. Plus the recorded sound is marvelous being so clear, rich and full.

Per usual, Gardiner's notes (in the very nice booklet-type recording sleeve) are very informative giving the historical and religious significance of the works contained therein (I just wish that there were photos of the soloist--just a very minor quibble on my part--I do, however, really like the cover photos on all of the releases thus far--they are wonderful).

In conclusion, I adore this release, as I'm sure you will too, if you purchase Volume 22 of Gardiner's "Bach Pilgrimage"; it's truly wonderful.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A quick review for people not so into this stuff based on a standout BWV 4 4 April 2008
By David Mednicoff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Many people who would buy this are hardened Bach/classical music fans who are likely to get many or most of the CD's in this excellent series, like myself. This review is not meant for them.

For those of you who are not necessarily well-versed in Bach or committe to collecing his complete cantatas, I have found this release to be especially satisfying. In particular, the first work on Disc 1, the cantata Christ Lag in Todesband, is perhaps Bach's first masterpiece and receives a very moving reading here. The structure of the piece, with a tune basically reappearing in each movement, makes it easy to follow. And, there are many moments that can draw very diverse listeners in. Personally, the third track, where two women's parts intertwine with just a few instruments accompanying them, conveys a real intensity about life and death that brings me back to repeated listening.

If you don't know Bach's cantatas, despite (or because of?) their Lutheran religious texts, they deal with universal issues of hope, faith, suffering, consolation and triumph that ought to appeal to a really wide audience. The conductor here set up his own label and high production values to try to express the universal emotional significance of Bach's music with vivid pictures and personal diary entries. The series, and this issue, really deserves a listen by anyone who likes more than pure pap in their pop on occasion.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
EASTER WITH BACH 5 Sept. 2007
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There are 6 cantatas in this 2-disc set, two each for Easter day itself, Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday. One is known to be an early composition, another is dated to 1715 when Bach was 30, and the balance are from his main period of cantata output 1724-1729. For newcomers, Gardiner and his associates dedicated themselves to the daunting project of performing the entire series on the days for which the master intended them within the year delimited by Christmas day 1999 and Christmas day 2000. The format is uniform throughout the series so far as I am aware at this stage, with an introduction by Gardiner and a lengthy and highly personal essay from him on the works performed in each set, full sung texts in German and English and, nestling shyly at the back, a short essay from one of the other performers.

My own less demanding pilgrimage to collect all the cantatas is not long under way, but I have had no disappointments so far, either from Gardiner or from a selection of other artists. I seem to sense that none would dare give anything but their best efforts to this astounding procession of masterpieces. It cannot have been easy to learn them all to recording standard in one year, but the very thought of what Bach achieved must have kept any such thoughts in proportion. If I had to draw exceptional attention to any aspect of the performances here it could only have been to note some shortfall, and I have none to note. All are excellent, and I was particularly pleased with the countertenor Daniel Taylor, not because he outshone the others but because this type of voice is often one I have problems with. I tend to like countertenors best when they most resemble female altos, which of course prompts the question why in that case have male altos? The answer is presumably historical authenticity.

The style of singing and the instruments used are of the `authentic' variety which is near-invariable nowadays in Bach, Handel and their contemporaries. Any effort required from us as listeners to accommodate ourselves to the idiom pays off in terms of greater understanding I am in no doubt at all, and as it happens I have come to my Bach cantata project fresh from collecting the entire oratorios of Handel. What was it in the air or soil of Saxony, or in the stars above it, that produced two such titans within months of each other? Getting to know each better has unquestionably added to my appreciation of the other, and I like to think to my comprehension of both also. When visited by the thought that Bach's choral writing, just as a display of that art, is not a thing of wonder and amazement like Handel's, I soon realised that I should be looking for something else. In Bach's choruses we find the sublime march of his polyphony that transcends any particular timbre, vocal or instrumental, and gives a sense of rightness and beauty to whatever voices he favours it with. Handel is always the musical rhetorician, with an instinct for variation, repetition of words, changes of pace and interplay between the voices and the accompaniment that left Haydn feeling aghast and inadequate and that probably no composer has ever equalled. In Bach's solos and ensembles the introduction sets off a celestial and uninterrupted musical sequence that I often wish would never come to an end. When Handel contemplates the deity, there He is, as in Michelangelo. There is no Italianate sense to Bach but a serene and unshakable Lutheran faith expressed in a music that seems itself the reward from on high for such total devotion.

Bach's music is often difficult technically, but this is a great age of technical executants and you will find no suspicion of difficulty or strain here. In terms of grasp of Bach's idiom and style, these are eminent specialists. The interpretative challenge is to convey the seemingly infinite variety of Bach's inspiration, a variety all the more extraordinary in being expressed through a musical language that was conservative even its own time and which seeks no novelties or special effects as such. To me that says that as far as interpretation goes Bach does much more than most of the great masters do in pre-packaging it for the performing musicians. This is not to diminish what has been achieved here, it only means that the performers have recognised their solemn duty and carried it out admirably. The recording plays its own part more or less ideally to my ears, and I beg everyone to read with proper care and thought the essay to which Gardiner has given so much care and thought of his own.

I sense that this is another musical journey that I am going to enjoy.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Continues the high standard for the series 30 May 2007
By Carl C. Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Volume 22 (Number 11 in the series) of Sir John Eliot Gardiner's 2000 Bach Cantata Pilgrimage covers cantatas written for Easter Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. They were recorded at Georgenkirche (St. George's Church) in Eisenach, Germany, where J. S. Bach was baptized and later served as concertmaster. No setting could be more appropriate for these fantastic Easter cantatas.

There really is very little that can be said to review the releases from the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage. Each performance is glorious, soaring, intimate, meaningful, and moving, and Volume 22 does not disappoint. The highlight is probably the magnificent BWV 4 (Christ lag in Todesbanden), with its theme of Christ's triumph over death, but BWV 6 (Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden) is the most personal and complex of this disk.

As with all releases in this series, the packaging is exquisite with Gardiner's lucid liner notes. Highest recommendation for both this release and the series.

Contents:

Cantatas for Easter Sunday

BWV 4, "Christ lag in Todesbanden"

BWV 31, "Der Himmel lacht! die Erde jubliliert"

Cantatas for Easter Monday

BWV 66, "Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen"

BWV 6, "Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden"

Cantatas for Easter Tuesday

BWV 134, "Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiss"

BWV 145, "Ich lebe, mein Herze, zu deinem Ergotzen"
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HIPster Wars - News from the Bach Front - Communiqué 19 24 Mar. 2012
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Hogwood: Nothing to be done.

Jeggy: I'm beginning to come round to that opinion. You should have been a conductor.

Hogwood: I was (Gesture towards his rags.) Isn't that obvious?

Jeggy: So there you are again.

Hogwood: Am I?

Jeggy: I'm glad to see you back. I thought you were gone forever.

Hogwood: Me too.

Jeggy: Together again at last! We'll have to celebrate this. But how? Get up till I embrace you.

Hogwood: Not now, not now.

Jeggy: May one inquire where His Clipped Highness spent the night?

Hogwood: In a ditch with the Academy of Ancient Music.

Jeggy: A ditch! Where?

Hogwood: Over there.

Jeggy: And the critics didn't beat you?

Hogwood: Beat me? Certainly they beat me.

Jeggy: The same lot as usual?

Hogwood: The same? I don't know.

Jeggy: When I think of it all these years but for me... where would you be? You'd be nothing more than a little
heap of bones at the present minute, no doubt about it.

Hogwood: And what of it?

Jeggy: It's too much for one man. Come on, Hogweed, return the ball, can't you, once in a way?

Hogwood: (with exaggerated enthusiasm). I find this really most extraordinarily interesting . . . Let's go.

Jeggy: We can't.

Hogwood: Why not?

Jeggy: We're `Waiting for Bach'.

Hogwood: (despairingly). Ah!

Jeggy: That passed the time.

Hogwood: It would have passed in any case.

Jeggy: Yes, but not so rapidly . . . Let us not waste our time in idle discourse! (Pause. Vehemently.) Let us do something while we have the chance! It is not every day that we undertake a soothing, self-indulgent Bach Pilgrimage. To all mankind my performances on Soli Deo Gratia are addressed, those cries for `Anglicised Bach as Evensong' still ringing in our ears! But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!

Hogwood: (aphoristic for once). We are all born mad. Some remain so.

The Ghost of Karl Richter enters: (in a rush). Mr. Bach told me to tell you he won't come this evening but surely tomorrow.

Jeggy: I say: that's rather awful. Why on earth not?

Ghost of Karl Richter: Well, Mister Bach heard your performances of Cantatas in Volume 22 and he's decided to spend time with Maestro Suzuki instead. He is astounded that anyone could attempt to `Handelise' these works but Jeggy, that's what in play here (the opening movement of 'Der Himmel lacht! die Erde jubilieret' (BWV 31) could almost be drawn from the Water Music). Come the opening bars of Christ lag in Todesbanden, the violins of the English Baroque Soloists sound like a cat in a feline Iron Maiden - MIAOW! The Monteverdi Choir is saccharine and affected in `Den Tod niemand zwingen kunnt' (and even here, you clip their phrases summarily - in contrast, my DG recording of this very movement from 1969 Bach: Cantatas sounds like it is coming from the other side of the River Styx) - and then your infamous jauntiness, to the detriment of any spiritual aspirations, takes flight in `Jesus Christus, Gottes Sohn'. Your bass - Stephen Varcoe - lacks projection, particularly in the lower register (`So stehe dann, du gottergebne Seele' & `Adam muss in uns verwesen' from BWV 31 are underwhelming to say the least). Jeggy, your decision to replenish the ranks of the Monteverdi Choir's altos with el cheapo counter-tenors is disastrous - one suspects that a parody is in play when they screech out in toto. Yep - not once does this bright vacuity translate into spirituality. On, I forgot: it has a `noice' cover.

He leaves.

HOGWOOD: Do you want a carrot?

Bach: Cantatas, Vol 1 (BWV 4, 150, 196) /Bach Collegium Japan * Suzuki

Bach: Cantatas, Vol 6 (BWV 31, 21) /Bach Collegium Japan * Suzuki

Bach: Cantatas, Vol 18 (BWV 66, 134, 67) /Bach Collegium Japan * Suzuki
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