Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
Not for everyone
on 29 August 2011
I confess that I bought one of these recordings when they first came out and gave it away immediately. I simply couldn't stand hearing Bach's wonderful choruses reduced to this anaemic state. This is not to say that the voices aren't good or that Professor Rifkin's approach isn't dedicated and sincere. However, it became a bit like the original Telefunken "Das Alte Werke" recordings with "authentic" instruments, in which it was stated baldly that this was THE ONLY WAY to play baroque music. This is nonsense; Bach is glorious music for eternity and should not be stuck in a musical straitjacket, to be played or sung in one way and one way only.
To my ears, Bach's glorious choruses need, want, deserve, even DEMAND a bit of oomph. They need a proper chorus, not four soloists, no matter how good. This rules out my ever buying any more of these.
The guy to whom I gave the recording loved it. And therein lies the whole point. We are all different, with different likes and requirements. I have a preference for Gardiner and Suzuki (and the older recordings of Werner and Rilling), but that's just me. However, bearing in mind the disappointment I had, I'd advise anyone contemplating purchase to listen to the samples and compare them with others. You may be surprised (in one way or another).