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Bach: Motets

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Performer: Cantus Cölln
  • Conductor: Konrad Junghänel
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (11 Sept. 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B0000665YD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 654,299 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
In this country we are, I feel, very bad at looking beyond our own shores when it comes to choral music. This, of course, can be attributed to the remarkable strength of professional singing, from college chapel choirs up to the many outstanding ensembles that make all sorts of wonderful music. However, this strength is also in some ways a weakness. The system which produces all these excellent singers is, by and large, that of the university choral scholarship, followed by cutting one's teeth in the shark-pond of London professional singing (this, of course, does a disservice to the many excellent singers from outside the capitol, but it is true for the majority). Because of this, a certain approach, and a certain style are fostered: one of perfect sight-singing, purity of tone and unobtrusive "blend". I would not for a second criticise the results this achieves, but I would argue that it is definitely worth, once in a while, listening to something completely different!

Cantus Cölln are a very small ensemble from (as you might expect) Germany. They have been making records for about 20 years now, cracking out an impressive 30 discs in that time, largely specialising in German Baroque repertoire, and garnering a large clutch of awards for their pains. This disc (which was first recorded in 1997), is fairly typical of their output, combining a choir of soloists (if that's not an oxymoron) with small instrumental forces, and the results are very convincing indeed. The singing is excellent, and the vocal colour is entirely unlike the "English" approach: these singers prefer expression over machine-gun accuracy, which leads at times to slight infelicities in tuning and blend, but lends the performance a satisfyingly distinctive character.
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