Despite their exquisite beauty, featuring splendid choruses and deeply moving arias, there are relatively few recordings of Bach's Lutheran Masses. On this second disc, which completes The Sixteen's
mini-series, the orchestra is joined by just eight singers to perform the Masses, allowing the beauty of the virtuosic vocal lines to be heard with absolute clarity.
Sometimes called 'Missa brevis', the Lutheran Masses feature almost no Lutheran material at all. Musically, they are almost entirely made up of movements borrowed from Bach's Cantatas and their beauty is in the fact that they represent the composer's own choice of his finest Cantata movements. It is 20 years since The Sixteen
last recorded such a wealth of Bach's music, making this a uniquely exciting project. Volume I was released in October 2013.
This is a fascinating lesson in the art of creative transcription by a master transcriber. This is a worthy successor to Vol.1 Performance **** Recording **** --BBC Music Magazine,May '14
A Direct, almost seamless objectivity to the Latin text but furnished with a compelling warmth and soft-grained delight in a distinctive harmonic and textural landscape still woefully under-appreciated by Bach Lovers. Strongly recommended. GRAMOPHONE EDITORS CHOICE --Gramophone, June'14
This is a very fine recording of these lesser-known works. --Early music Today, June'14