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Bach: Cantatas (BWV 56, 4, 82) /Fischer-Dieskau · Richter

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Conductor: Karl Richter
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (18 April 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B0000057DC
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,167 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

RICHTER KARL / MUNCHENER BACH-

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By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Dec. 2007
Format: Audio CD
These performances were first recorded in 1969 and 1970, when one of the most magnificent voices of the 20th century was still in its superb prime. Of the three cantatas here one, # 56, is new to my collection and offers us 4 successive solos from the great man plus a short final chorale. The early Christ lag in Todesbanden cantata is mainly choral with only one stanza sung solo, and I own another performance from Gardiner's `pilgrimage' series with Stephen Varcoe as soloist. Of the celestial Ich habe genug this is now the fourth account in my collection, and I wonder how many more I shall acquire before either my collection of the Bach cantatas or its collector's allotted time is complete. Fischer-Dieskau joins the august company of John Shirley-Quirk (with Marriner), Ian Bostridge in his celebrated debut disc with Europa Galante, and the lamented Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in making a firm single recommendation at such a level of excellence something I find to be beyond me.

As far as the `Christ lag' cantata is concerned, I would dare to say that I probably prefer the Gardiner/Varcoe offering to this one, although I prefer both to either. Varcoe acquits himself splendidly and has nothing to fear from comparison with the great Berliner. What tips the balance for me is the orchestral side, where Gardiner and his nomadic colleagues delight me especially with the freshness and crispness of their work, if that is not unduly suggestive of talking about lettuce. However I cite comparisons here only as a side-issue and as a very rough guide to some alternatives, although I should probably mention that the Bostridge disc contains the sinfonia from cantata # 4 as a small filler.
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Format: Audio CD
I have been hearing this recording aired on Radio 3 for what seems to be forever. The last airing was interrupted and I thought "why on earth haven't I bought this!" The fantastically low priced disc duly arrived and I have had such enjoyment since. One never tires of marvelling at Fischer-Dieskau's unequalled tone and timbre matched with such breath control. A "must have" in any record collection.
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Format: Audio CD
Semi-incarcerated in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome, if Michelangelo's statue of Moses were ever to break free from its ligatures to address God in a stentorian voice, accompanied by a choir of giants and giantesses, the end-product would bear resemblance to this disc. This is magnificence itself. Fischer-Dieskau leaves his fussiness and pedagogy at the door of the church to provide us with a magisterial performance that resonates in the mind and soul. Above all, one marvels at the lower register of his voice.

While this performance is Bach writ large, there is nothing `Huddersfield-ish' about it. Transparency and clarity of diction reign supreme in the choir even as it propounds the grandeur of the subject and its realisation. Nor is there any evidence of diet-Bach as spruiked by the likes of Jeggy. Consider `Den Tod niemand zwingen kunnt' from BWV 4 as performed here by Munich Bach Choir: it leaves one as mesmerised and befuddled as the Roman legionaries standing guard at the tomb - what on earth has just happened here?

Even if you do not subscribe to Bach's metaphysics, this is an engulfing experience where considerations of style, recording quality and head-count are ultimately irrelevant. For those believers among us, it offers immersion into the passion, death and resurrection of JC. For those who abjure such dynamics, it is another curveball to dodge.
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Format: Audio CD
The music is inherently gorgeous and I have spent 20 years exploring different recordings and I am thankful for Richter/Fischer-Dieskau for starting me on this journey. But it has been all wonderfully pointless; I found the best recording at the beginning.

I'm an atheist but I find Ich Habe Genug, in particular, hugely moving; I can't imagine how it must move the pious. If there is a better way of spending £10 I'm not aware of it....
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