1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Modified rapture, 15 Jan 2014
This release has clearly generated such enthusiasm among other Amazonians that I feel distinctly curmudgeonly reporting on my own less than ecstatic response. There is so much to admire about this performance - Schreier and Holl are outstanding, the conducting is inspirational, the ecclesiastical setting exceptionally moving, and the playing of the Concentus Musicus absolutely stunning (how wonderful to be reminded of the early days of the early music revival, when instruments still generated the raw excitement that has been lost in today's historically informed readings!) - that the ill-tuned singing of the boy soloists strikes me as something of a drawback, not to say a trial. If you insist on trebles in this work, this is probably as good as it gets, but for me their lack of vocal colour and sometimes wayward pitch remains a problem. In this context it's worth making two additional points. First, in Bach's day a boy's voice might not break until he was eighteen, allowing the singer time to acquire a degree of musicality simply unavailable to today's boy choristers. And, second, in all his later recordings, Harnoncourt, presumably drawing a lesson from this 1981 recording, chose sopranos, mezzo-sopranos and/or countertenors, rather than the trebles heard here.