Like all the other Eliot Gardiner Bach recordings I have heard, this one hits the nail absolutely on the head. The playing is always precise and clearly articulated, while the tempi are, to me, perfectly judged, never allowing the more solemn pieces to slip into sentimentality. The forces that are used are not so large as to muddy any of the individual parts, but can still convey the power of the music where appropriate. The recording is beautifully balanced, allowing all the lines to be heard clearly. Perhaps the best compliment I can pay this recording is to say that it allows the listener to appreciate 100% of the music, with no detail being lost in performance or recording. I have bought a number of the Eliot Gardiner recordings from their 2000 Bach Pilgrimage Tour - every one without exception has been wonderful.
A cd of funeral music may appear at first sight not particularly uplifting, but Gardner's bright, incisive interpretation of these exquisitely bitter-sweet cantatas is rivetting from start to finish. And with soloists the calibre of Michael Chance, Nancy Argenta and Anthony Rolfe-Johnson, the result is electrifying. A precision of tone and clarity of articulation is essential in Bach, and in this respect both the choir and soloists excel. The final motet is a richly underscored triumphant end to a cd of fine Bach interpretation.
Gentle music for one of the most serious and moving ceremonies anyone can have,or attend. This is JSBach at his magnificent best. I obtained this for "Actus Tragicus":and I'm so glad that I did so. Although that work is fairly short,in comparison to a lot of Bach's music;it contains what must be some of his most heart-rending music. We learn from the notes that Bach had quite a difficult life:hardly a year of his married life passed without the death of children:and also his beloved wife. Then,of course there were other deaths for him to experience. Possibly "Actus", was for one of his close family. A moving,yet beautiful experience. I hope YOU will enjoy this as much as I have.