Learn more Download now Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle The Grand Tour Prize Draw Learn more Shop Women's Shop Men's

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Bach, J.S.: Magnificat; Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, Cantata BWV51
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£11.09+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 December 2014
The early digital sound isn't perfect, as if balance between choir, soloists, and orchestra hadn't been fully worked out -- but never mind. This is alive. It's an interesting pairing. In "Jauchzet Gott," we have a piece for a virtuoso singer, which Emma Kirkby, then at her freshest as a singer, dispatches with great élan and in a style -- vibrato free -- appropriate to the music as Bach conceived it, for a boy soprano. The boy capable of this in 1730 or so must have been very gifted. Crispian Steele-Perkins, whom I'm guessing is the solo trumpeter, is right there with Kirkby in enlivening performances of the opening aria and the closing "Alleluia." The Magnificat is differently conceived -- the solo voices are almost deliberately non-virtuostic, singing on a human scale, and in the arias beautifully backed by oboe (backing Patrizia Kwella), bassoon (in David Thomas's fine "Quia fecit"), and flute (with Charles Brett's solo). The virtuosity comes from the choir, which really lets it rip. All in all, though, I like that human scale -- the piece was probably often sung by good but not great singers and backed by a relatively small orchestra (here about 33). This recording is now 30 years old -- there may be better recordings, but there's nothing wrong with this one.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 9 October 2013
This disc, well recorded in 1983, contains two fine performances given by a well balanced set of soloists in the Magnificat and some fabulous singing from Emma Kirkby in the cantata. The solo trumpet playing in the cantata deserves special mention and it is a grave error not to list such an important solo player who is treated on a par with the vocal soloist in the opening and closing sections.

The main attention will almost certainly focus on the Magnificat which receives a generally swift reading of the choruses but not to excess. This enables the choir to enunciate clearly and still achieve considerable verve in delivery. All the soloists perform well and this is an excellent performance of a work that should thrill. Bach clearly intended it to have considerable impact and scored it with that in mind. The English Baroque Soloists are a fine group of musicians who play accurately and with good tone. This applies to all the sections of the orchestra but in this case it needs to be added that the three trumpets play in such a way that they would surely have delighted Bach.

Bearing in mind the adverse remarks made elsewhere about the sopranos in the Magnificat and also the recording balance, I have checked these issues carefully and can only report that no such problems can be detected on my own playback system, even when alerted. The equipment is good enough to be merciless with inadequate technology and, as a trumpet player, I have played the work myself and can find no fault in this performance, only plenty to praise!

Apart from the obviously short playing time of just under 42 minutes, this disc offers splendid music making and is well recorded. I would therefore suggest that it is well worth considering as an attractive purchase even with the proviso about the playing time.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 December 2012
Excellent recording. I don't know why people say that is too fast. Indeed, the Magnificat is pretty fast compared to others, but it is not to the extent that everything is out of control. Anyway, it is clearly a matter of opinion; to me, it's definitely my favourite.
11 Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 May 2015
These are a truly wonderful performances of BWV 243 & 51 that I have had for years (on cassette) and finally acquired on CD. The performances date from recordings made in London in 1983, and released in 1985. Sadly the inset (in French, German and English) give no information as to where the very warm and resonant acoustic was recorded.
Gardener takes the choruses of the Magnificat at an ebullient and dancing pace, whereas in the arias like the Quia respexit humilitatem he slows down to a gentle and sensitive pace, allowing singer and music to breathe and express themselves. In fact the wonderfully energised Omnes Generationes is almost too fast; only a choir of the class and stamina of the Monteverdi Choir (which was basically a choir of soloists) could cope with such demands. The English Baroque Soloists are of course superb throughout. The vocal soloists in the "Magnificat" are that first generation of the authentic period singers: Nancy Argenta, Patricia Kwella, Charles Brett, Anthony Rolfe Johnson and David Thomas; voices all at their peak.
There are now many other great recordings of the Magnificat of course to compete with this one, but where this disc really stands out is for the cantata "Jauchzet Gott in allen landen" BWV 51. This is basically a cantata for solo soprano, trumpet obbligato and string band. The soloists here are Emma Kirkby and Crispian Steele- Perkins. Kirkby is at the height of her powers, pure voiced with perfectly tight and ringing notes, answered equally by Steele-Perkins perfectly placed and ringing trumpet. I know Handel wrote the Firework Music but this is dynamite Bach that absolutely fizzes. This church cantata, written in the Italian mode, was originally performed by a 12 year old boy treble and presumably a trumpeter with a valve-less trumpet. It is difficult to believe it could have been a performance anywhere near as good as this one. There may be a better recordings of this cantata but I have yet to hear them.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 February 2015
I find the excellent performances on this CD unfortunately let down by a poor recording. As might be expected, this is a small-scale period performance. I find the tempi fine. The score for the Magnificat is the revised later (c1730) version in D, and not the earlier 1723 version in E flat.

The digital recording was made in the very reverberant acoustic of All Saints, Tooting in November 1983. Whilst the balance between soloists, choir and orchestra is fine, the overall rather muddy sound rather spoils the enjoyment for me, and makes it less involving.

At just over 41 minutes in length, this CD is barely half-full. It is pity that with the re-issue, Philips didn't use the opportunity to add a further piece.

5 stars for the performance and 3 stars for the recording.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 April 2014
I bought this to gain familiarity with a piece that our choral society is presenting this summer. Having compared half a dozen versions online, I chose this MP3 version, as it is the one with the clearest enunciation and beautiful sound.
John Eliot Gardiner knows what he is doing and the piece comes together very well.
My only complaint, and the reason I gave it four stars rather than five, is that track three is chopped off and has lost the last couple of seconds from the soprano aria Quia respect humilitatem.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 December 2014
I'm writing this review on buying the disc for a friend after listening to the recording for over twenty years. I remember seeing gardiner performing this at a prom Bach anniversary years ago and it prompted me to buy this recording initially. There is such vitality, such control, such energy and beauty at play throughout. It is as though everyone is at the front of their seat - I'd implore anyone to buy and enjoy. The cantata is a genuine additional treat.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
The first thing to say is that whatever you think of these performances, be careful what you pay for a disc amounting to only 41 minutes of music. I find one of the works much more successful than the other, and I actually suspect that the composer may have as much to do with that as do the performers. The Magnificat (here in its more familiar D major version) simply does not strike me as being equal in inspiration to the best of the cantatas, such as no 51, and to whatever extent this may be a valid view the recording (certainly) and the performance (possibly) conspire to reinforce it.

You may experience a slight problem in setting the best volume-level for the Magnificat. The setting that suits the arias best may make the opening chorus uncomfortably loud, and at any level the solo voices seem a little backward. This is not as serious a matter at it would be in Handel or Mozart, since Bach's inspiration is basically instrumental with the voices integrated into the instrumental pattern, and in fact my ear became accustomed to it quickly. All the same, I did not sense quite the level of inspiration and fervour that I have found in most of Gardiner's Bach performances. Everything is basically `right', and these performers are eminent Bach stylists, but they have set the standard of comparison that I go by, and I have heard them in better form than here. The choral sound in particular lacks the ultimate degree of clarity that I would have liked and that I am used to from these singers.

Cantata 51 is another matter entirely. This is simply superlative. I adore Emma Kirkby's voice, she is at her very best here, the recording has brightness and immediacy, and the whole performance is on fire. The only date mentioned in the liner is 1983, so presumably that was the year of both recordings, which makes the discrepancy in quality a little puzzling. The liner essay makes the excellent point that Cantata 51 is a kind of solo motet, Italian in origin, and I am familiar with the style from the much more Italianised Handel. The German school had by Bach's time naturalised the style completely, and to complete the Lutheran feel of the work Bach inserts a long and most beautiful and elaborate chorale. What the liner has to say about the music is very good and enlightening, so more's the pity that it squanders so much of its space in telling us that the music does this then that then the other, all of which we can hear perfectly well for ourselves.

4 stars may be slightly generous, given that the amount of music provided is far from generous. However it's possible that no performance at all could turn the Magnificat into Bach's finest effort, and there is nothing seriously amiss with this performance anyway. As for Cantata 51 as done here, I would have paid any asking price for it.
22 Comments| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 October 2013
I am very happy with this purchase and I just love Emma Kirkby's rendition. Her voice is exquisite. Can listen to this recording over and over again.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 February 2012
With great dignity, Admiral Jeggy descended to the galley of his trireme, the HMS Duke of Dorset (the flagship of the period practice squadron). Sprucely, he sat in his curial chair. Facing him were the `umble players of the English Baroque Soloists, chained to their oars and looking none too nourished. The Monteverdi Choir were cowering behind them. Nearby were four wan-looking soloists who had likewise befallen catenation; the challenge ahead was known to them and fearfully so. Crispian Steele-Perkins, stationed down the back, was nervously polishing his cornet.

"Milord," an adjutant stammered, "corsairs are in the vicinity. It's probably the battle-fleet of Richter the Hun. They've been performing the Magnificat and Cantata No. 51 in a traditional style. What is thy bidding, my master?"

Admiral Jeggy picked up a back-issue of the Gramophone (featuring himself on the cover).

"England expects these poor scratchers to do their duty. Cruising speed!"

The adjutant nodded at the nearby drummer. With a groan, orchestra and choir alike launched into the Magnificat. It was a spruce affair whose fearsome speeds and the over-prominent timpani masked the absence of spirituality. As he leafed his way through the Gramophone, the sea-lord looked up occasionally to gauge the progress of his minions.

"Tut-tut!" he squawked. "Attack speed!!"

Sweat was copious. Violinists were falling over at their oars - not even the whips could prompt them to keep up with the impossible beat. The baritone and tenor added their warbles to the cacophony. Long minutes later, Admiral Jeggy casually threw away his mag.

"Ramming speed!!!"

The last movement of Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen was upon them. Even the Admiral's entourage - no strangers to horror - looked on askance as violinists toppled over like kingpins. Tonal beauty and phrasing now meant nothing to the English Baroque Soloists: in turn, each of them befriended the cat o' nine tails. Shrill and pert, Kirkby was cadaverous. Ruddier than a beetroot, Crispian Steele-Perkins hooted away. Thankfully for all concerned, an end was brought to proceedings.

"What a triumph!" Admiral Jeggy purred to himself as he returned daintily to the bridge.
22 Comments| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items

Magnificat BWV243 / Kantate Bw51
Bach: Magnificat

Need customer service? Click here

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)