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Bach, J.S.: Christmas Cantatas BWV 63, 64, 121 & 133

Bach, J.S.: Christmas Cantatas BWV 63, 64, 121 & 133

1 Jan 2000
4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Bach, J.S.: Christmas Cantatas BWV 63, 64, 121 & 133
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 2000
  • Release Date: 20 Nov. 2000
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • Copyright: ℗© 2000 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:20:54
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001LX9FR4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,170 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

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By Jon Chambers VINE VOICE on 18 Nov. 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bach's cantata repertoire could find no more enthusiastic advocate than John Eliot Gardiner. He is on record as saying that 'the heart of Bach's music lies in his church cantatas' and that these cantatas 'form a corpus of work which counts as one of the great glories of European music'. And at least one cantata here, the opening work, BWV 63, is one of Bach's very best. Joyous, melodic and life-affirming, it is the kind of music to convert sacred-music sceptics.

It is difficult to fault the CD either technically or artistically. As often, the sound quality in this studio series is crisper and more assured than in the Pilgrimage series. Here, the English Baroque Soloists exemplify what Baroque playing is at its best, with respect for period performance style allied to exuberance and supreme accuracy. Four stars though, because the last three cantatas don't quite match the dizzying heights of the first. Notwithstanding, a continual highlight of these cantatas is the exhilarating cello playing of (I presume) David Watkin - he's listed first of three cellists but receives no special accreditation for, amongst other things, the dazzling barvura passage accompanying the tenor recitative, BWV 63iv.

The recordings on this CD were made in 1998, all except BWV 133 at Abbey Road Studios in London. Such a relatively 'safe' venue allows performers to take the kind of risks that they'd probably prefer not to in the live Pilgrimage series.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Beautiful. Glorious music. JEG et al wonderful.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyful Bach! 10 Nov. 2006
By Neaklaus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording of Four of Bach's Christmas Cantatas shows the listener some of his most joyful music. Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Montiverdi

Choir and the English Baroque Soloists deliver the goods on every selection. My personal favorte is BWV 63 "Christen atzet diesen Tag"

These recordings are part of the DG Archiv series of Bach Cantata Pilgrimage recordings, which for reasons of Money, et al, discontinued.

So Sir John and company decided to start their own label SDG or Soli Deo

Gloria which is working hard to record the rest of the cantatas from the

pilgrimage. The cantata are performed on Authentic Instruments, but do not

sound like an academic excersise in performance, instead they sound like

a celebration of Bach's music and spiritually. I can easily recommend the

entire series of recordings on both labels. Also their DVD of Bach's "

Christmas Oratorio" on Arthaus is a must have item, and a great compliment

to these recordings.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is No Praise High Enough 19 Oct. 2012
By stevenrothbard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There is no praise high enough for this series of recordings by J E Gardiner and his magnificient people from their year 2000 Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, of which this excellent CD is a part. I've purchased three CDs from this project so far, and they just get better and better. I'm really amazed, and I don't use hyperbolies in writing, really awestruck at the incredible genius of Bach! Could it be that of the 200 or so cantatas of his which have survived, most (or all) of them are at least good? It would seem so, because these very special, live and lively performances of Gardiner and his great group have shown us how many of the cantatas we have are better than merely good, but are great or completely unbelievable so that there is no yardstick we can use anymore, but just sit in silence and utter amazement at the achievement of an Eighteenth Century Lutheran cantor who was not very popular as a composer in his lifetime and who labored in relative obscurity until the revival by a Jewish composer in the Nineteenth Century. As Gardiner says in his interesting video "Bach Cantatas" on the BBC label, most of these cantatas are not familiar to most listeners today. This series on Archive and the ongoing series on Gardiner's own label are correcting this incredible gap in our knowledge of some of the greatest music written in the West. These recordings practically recommend themselves. They'll stand out in the catalogue for a long time.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ... of one stars due to the repertoire - I love some of Bach's Cantatas very but there are a ... 10 Feb. 2015
By Chris Sahar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Well done performances and the withholding of one stars due to the repertoire - I love some of Bach's Cantatas very much but there are a few which I consider just equal to his contemporaries. For example, BWV 121 starts with an excellent first movement but the following movements, although solidly composed. do not stand out from his peers such as Kuhnau. Of course there are terrific movements or full cantatas here , it is just I am not such a Bach devotee as to desire a recording of all of Bach's cantatas. I do understand this is the intent of the series. A Bach completist would be in heaven, someone rather new to Bach might get bored. For the latter, I recommend checking a recording put out years ago by the Virgin label - cannot recall offhand the performers but it is excellent. Other choices for the Bach newbie is Suzuki's recording of Kuhnau, Zelenka and Bach Magnificats. A great way to understand what influences Bach picked up and hear great music from his historical contemporaries.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arkiv or SDG? 8 Aug. 2007
By Mark Preece - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I would agree with most of Craig's review, apart from the fact that these Arkiv recordings were not exactly a part of Gardiner's Bach Pilgrimage. They were recorded in London England, at Abby Road Studios, not live in a famous church in Western Europe that Bach had some connection with. This Arkiv version of Cantata No. 63 is the finished recording of the "In Rehearsal with John Eliot Gardiner" DVD, where you get to see how John conducts his rehearsals. Very interesting to say the least. I purchased them both and used as a comparison. Although VERY good, I would still choose Gardiner's "Soli Deo Gloria" recordings of the actual Pilgrimage. I am a subscriber of the Bach Pilgrimage recordings, and every on is absolutely fantastic. Notably, Niklas Eklund on Baroque trumpet is absolutely the best in the world, and his interpretation of the Cantatas plays circles around both Mark Bennet and Crispian Steele-Perkins! As for the SDG version of No. 63, the Pilgrimage version has not yet been released, but it will be included on Vol. 18 of the set, so watch for it, as it will be a fantastic addition to the subscription.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Series!!! 26 Nov. 2002
By Michael Ernst - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This Christmas cantata volume is the crown jewel of the Monteverdi Choir's series of complete Bach cantatas. The opening chorus of the first cantata on this CD is what heaven must sound like. Unlike a few recordings I've heard of these cantatas where the instruments overpower the voices, John Gardiner does a great job of balancing out the orchestra and choir. I listened to this CD constantly when I first got it. Buy the Monteverdi Choir's disk with the Advent cantatas to supplement this superb recording.
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