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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A blast from the past, complete with a big mistake--now corrected, 2 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Bach, Js : Cantatas Bwv 106, 182, 152, 118, 18, 89, 90, 161, 59 (Remastered) (Daw50) (Audio CD)
This release and others in the Das Alte Werk series will, for most purchasers, be very welcome replacements for LPs they have owned and played for forty years and more. Fashions in performance practice are as variable as those in couture, and given a choice, most people will, as it were, select a jacket with this year's cut or a frock with this year's hemline. Those willing to venture farther afield, however, will find in the selections on this two-CD set several performances of enduring value and several performers--notably Kurt Equiluz and Max van Egmond--who were marked out for greatness then and have been neither surpassed nor equaled since. Their work here shows them at their remarkable youthful best.

It must be noted, however, that Cantata 18 is not as described. The performance included in this set is most decidedly not the one made under the direction of Jürgens. As soon as the second movement begins and the voice of Max van Egmond rather than the expected Jacques Villisech is heard, it is evident that the Nikolaus Harnoncourt performance of a decade or more later has been substituted. How could such an astonishing gaffe be made by the producers of this set or go unnoticed by anyone at Warner Music? Given the risibly small market share of the Das Alte Werk reissue series, the substitution in later pressings of the correct recording of Cantata 18 would be an event on the secular plane comparable with the happenings at Fatima or Lourdes. So as ever, caveat emptor.

Despite the just-expressed caution, the set has more to be said for it than against it. Whoever did the remastering did a very commendable job. Would that the same could be said for the set's producer and distributor.
Update (26/5/2013). Thanks to the courtesy of Mr. R. Lane, an Amazon reviewer at the USA site, I have learned that Warner Classics has released a revised and corrected pressing of this release. That is to say, Mr. Lane reports that in current copies of these CDs, the recording of Cantata 18 included in the set is actually the one the label claims it is: the Jürgen Jürgens recording. This is unqualifiedly good news, but given the likelihood that a certain number--perhaps a quite large number--of copies of the older, uncorrected pressings are still out and about, prudence suggests that prospective buyers ask questions of their seller before they buy. (Whether questions will yield helpful answers is a matter best left for another day and another venue.) In celebration of this surprising exercise of corporate responsibility, it seems only fitting and just to ratchet the approval level up to four and a half stars and then round it up to five.

Yet another update (30/10/2013). The samples of Cantata 18 that Amazon provides are still those of the Harnoncourt recording. What this implies I have no way of knowing for sure--save that it underlines the need for prospective purchasers to exercise prudence and caution.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Mar 2009 21:16:37 GMT
pclaudel says:
Will wonders never cease? Someone at Warner Classics sent me an e-mail saying that the version of Cantata 18 used in future pressings will be corrected at some time soon. So for the moment, two cheers for Warner for this very hopeful news; the third cheer will be gladly given once the company's promise becomes a reality.

Posted on 18 Dec 2010 06:47:33 GMT
pclaudel says:
It is now fully twenty-one months since my previous comment was typed, and I regret to say that Warner Classics have still not corrected their programming error, nor have they contacted me with regard to the promised replacement CD. I cannot say that I am surprised by their conduct, but perhaps foolishly, I had hoped that I would be.
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