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This disc is based on a good idea: Bach wrote his lovely Cantata BWV 198, the Trauer Ode, for a memorial service in 1727 for Christiane Eberhardine, consort of Augustus the Strong and Electress of Saxony and this is intended as a representation of how the music for that service may have been performed. As Christaine remained a staunch Protestant, the disc opens with one of Bach's Lutheran Masses (in A major, BV234) and appropriate Bach organ pieces are interspersed in the programme. The music is (of course) fantastic but, although I generally like the Ricercar Consort's recordings very much, but this one doesn't do that much for me, I'm afraid.

Pierlot adopts a one-voice-to-a-part approach, which can be very successful, and makes sense here as that is the most likely for the original service. However, the performance never quite takes off for me, and neither Bach's spiritual intensity nor the joyous spring in his step really appear when needed. It often seems a little thin and the elegiac sense which it needs doesn't really appear. It's not a bad performance by any means, but for me it is rather uninspiring.

Part of this may be personal taste, of course, but I think the Mass is far better done by Cantus Cölln under Konrad Junghänel Bach - Missae Breves, and the Trauer Ode by John Eliot Gardiner Bach - Funeral Cantatas and others. It's a pity - this should have been an interesting and enjoyable disc. Plainly, a lot of thought has gone into it and the notes are very interesting, but as a recording of these fine works by Bach I can only give it a very qualified recommendation.
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on 31 January 2014
Beautiful works, especially the Tombeau de Sa Majesté la Reine de Pologne. Hear this and you will return to this music many many times.
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