He and his Read more colleagues searched for original instruments to throw new light on composers and their works and significantly influenced the history of music interpretation in the second half of this century. Many of these new recordings were of works never before available on disc, including chorales, as well as works for organ and works for harpsichord. The edition includes Bach's solo violin works performed by Thomas Zehetmair and the violin sonatas performed by Alice Harnoncourt violin , Nikolaus Harnoncourt viola da gamba and Herbert Tachezi harpsichord. Of the orchestral repertoire, the Brandenburg Concerti are represented by the highly acclaimed Il Giardino Armonico recordings released in The orchestral suites are performed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the harpsichord concerti by Gustav Leonhardt. Each new cantata, each new aria is an adventure, an exciting discovery.
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He and his Read more colleagues searched for original instruments to throw new light on composers and their works and significantly influenced the history of music interpretation in the second half of this century.
Many of these new recordings were of works never before available on disc, including chorales, as well as works for organ and works for harpsichord.
The edition includes Bach's solo violin works performed by Thomas Zehetmair and the violin sonatas performed by Alice Harnoncourt violin , Nikolaus Harnoncourt viola da gamba and Herbert Tachezi harpsichord.
Of the orchestral repertoire, the Brandenburg Concerti are represented by the highly acclaimed Il Giardino Armonico recordings released in The orchestral suites are performed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the harpsichord concerti by Gustav Leonhardt.
Each new cantata, each new aria is an adventure, an exciting discovery. Regrettably, for reasons of space its size precludes a review of the scope it deserves; since a fully detailed discussion could easily consume a hundred pages of this magazine, I and you must be content with the bare essentials necessary to convey a basic idea of its contents and quality.
Since many of the individual performances have been reviewed previously by other Fanfare critics, I recommend a search of the Fanfare Archive for their more detailed observations. A page booklet provides the detailed contents of each CD.
The cardboard sleeves provide the titles and BWV numbers of the works on that disc; the last names only of vocal soloists, but the full names of instrumental soloists, ensembles, and conductors; the number of tracks for each composition and its total timing but not the timings of individual tracks , and the total disc timing.
Since I had to add up all the individual CD timings myself to come up with the total timing for the entire set listed in the headnote, I will stake no claim for the perfect accuracy of that figure. The discs are well filled, with an average timing of a bit over 62 minutes apiece. An online index of all the compositions, listed by BWV number with title, genre, year of composition, and CD number, is available at warnerclassics. No printed texts for the vocal works are provided; the original German texts, along with English and French translations, are available online at bach-cantatas.
This is an independent site, not owned, maintained by, or related to Warner Classics. There are some typographical errors on the cardboard sleeves in the set. On CD , it is not indicated which artists perform which works. The names of several artists are misspelled, the most glaring mistake being Leopold Stastny a once famous soccer coach for flutist Leopold Stasny.
See Wikipedia for a convenient online list. In what follows I have listed by BWV number the items included and omitted in this particular set. Again, as I had to tabulate the omitted BWV entries manually, I will not disclaim a possibility of error here.
The cantatas are the only part of the set where the contents are provided in strict BWV number order. The remaining vocal works, along with the chamber music and orchestral works, are arranged roughly in that order with certain exceptions. By contrast, the works for organ and for keyboard are in a completely non-sequential order dictated partly by attempts to assemble the pieces by genres and partly by the decision to keep together all the recordings made by a particular artist.
The set is divided into subsections by genre, with each subsection color-coded by a bar running across the top of the cardboard sleeve. There are also about three dozen short pieces that are alternative versions of arias, chorales, or keyboard works, individual genuine movements from otherwise spurious works, etc. This brings us at last to an overview of the performances themselves. Both teams shared the same soloists, among which three names predominate: male alto Paul Esswod, tenor Kurt Equiluz, and bass Max van Egmond.
With this cycle now being 23 years old, familiarity has occasionally tended to breed contempt among music critics, and it has become too easy to forget what an extraordinary and revolutionary accomplishment it was.
First and foremost, it was the first absolutely complete cycle of the cantatas, a virtual Mount Everest for the recording industry to scale. Second, it was recorded entirely on period instruments, with choral and instrumental forces on the more intimate scale of those actually used by Bach instead of the much larger forces used for similarly larger modern concert halls.
Fourth, with the exceptions to be noted shortly, the choral and instrumental forces likewise make worthy contributions. Fifth and last, there is the conducting of Harnoncourt and Leonhardt, stripping centuries of leaden weight and opacity off these scores to present them as lithe, buoyant, and transparent, though not without gravitas where required.
At the same time, there are also some well-known and oft-noted shortcomings. Quite unfairly, the boy soprano soloists remain unnamed for almost the first third of the complete cycle, and then most oddly are listed only in the booklet but not on the individual CD cardboard sleeves. The results are generally disappointing, though seldom unlistenable, and no worse than any number of wobbly or screechy adult sopranos who have also recorded these works. Second, it is an astonishing sign of the progress of the period-instrument movement over the last 40 years that the level of instrumental playing exhibited in this cycle, particularly in the earliest entries, would no longer be acceptable among front-rank ensembles today.
Right to the end, the horns and trumpets tend to fracture or lip into many of their notes, and the squawky oboist in BWV 8 and the raw, brittle trumpeter in BWV 46 would not make it to the stage of an initial audition nowadays. It is an unkind irony that these groundbreaking performances can now, by comparison with the ongoing cycles of Gardiner, Koopman, and Suzuki, seem dated in these aspects. But even if one or more of those later cycles ultimately supersedes Harnoncourt and Leonhardt, their cycle remains an indispensable historical landmark which every serious lover of Bach is obligated to hear.
No, not the violinist of Strauss waltz fame; this is his father. One wonders why Teldec missed the opportunity to produce an all-period instrument set. From the overall track record of parent company Warner, my guess is sheer parsimony.
The soloists throughout are generally good to excellent, though I have never liked the voices of either countertenor Michael Chance or tenor Peter Schreier the latter sings as well as conducts in BWV 36c , and soprano Agnes Giebel is off form. The period-instrument performances are all quite fine, and Schreier is a stylish leader of his modern forces in BWV 36c. Matthew Passion and Christmas Oratorio , followed later by the Magnificat and his second recordings of the Mass in B Minor and the St.
John Passion These are supplemented by performances variously recorded between and of three arias from the version of the St. John Passion, as the singing and playing are far more polished than in the earlier versions, and Harnoncourt finally had the good sense to abandon the use of boy soprano soloists in favor of adult female sopranos fully capable of singing their parts.
The St. Matthew Passion remains an impressive achievement, though again the use of boy soprano soloists remains a sore point. All the adult soloists throughout are again generally good to excellent. While none of these is a first choice any longer for a recording of these works, most hold up very well and are welcome additions to any collection; only the somewhat ragged Christmas Oratorio and the rather opaque Corboz recordings of the Missae Breves do not wear their age well and need to be supplanted.
All of these are top-notch performances, though the BWV on modern instruments is of a richly old-fashioned cast. For me that is absolutely welcome, as I have long lamented that performances of these pieces are generally too slow; Koopman by contrast is almost always just right for me.
There are a very few less than stellar entries. The Prelude and Fugue, BWV , is rather stiff; an otherwise terrific Toccata and Fugue, BWV , is marred by eccentric extended trills on the sustained notes of the opening fanfare motif; the BWV Passacaglia is very good but somehow does not quite build up to the mighty climax of the very greatest performances. But it speaks volumes for the caliber of this cycle that these are the only four works where I consider the performances to be less than superlative; for me, this is interpretively the desert-island Bach organ set.
I do have two reservations: I wish Koopman had included the apocryphal BWV pieces, and that the set had arranged the works in sequential BWV order, as the typical attempts at thematic grouping of pieces pursued here and in most other Bach organ sets simply makes many pieces far more difficult to find.
The Stockmeier set also has all the works, with a few minor exceptions, arranged in BWV order. Unlike with the organ works, the duties here are divided among several performers.
As with the organ works, I am dissatisfied with the layout of this section of the set. Discs of major and lesser works follow one another in no discernible sequence. Instead of the English and French Suites being presented as units, they are interleaved. It would have taken very little effort to come up with a far more logical and usable sequence for this section.
One can of course argue that since most of the contents of these collections are included in other works, Teldec is justified in a decision to avoid duplication and offer only individual items from those notebooks that Bach did not use elsewhere, but I find it unfortunate and wrong-headed.
There is a certain stylistic affinity in the performances of the major works in this set, given that van Asperen, Curtis, Staier, and Wilson were all pupils of Leonhardt. All of these interpreters share a certain intellectual sobriety and restraint in style, scrupulous in the best sense of that word. That is not to say that individual personalities do not express themselves in such matters as registration and tone color. Curtis brings a deeply sonorous, weighty sound to the English and French Suites in which, incidentally, he does not observe all the repeats.
Much the same can be said of the various works performed by Staier. Van Asperen employs a somewhat more chiseled, staccato touch with emphatic accents to his traversal of the toccatas. Wilson surprised me with his resort to a more transparent, almost Italianate sound palette in the WTC than I would have expected from his modern copy of a German instrument. Leonhardt himself occupies a median position between his pupils, favoring a somewhat dry instrumental timbre, though he surprises one with the colors and sonorities he can produce from it.
Not surprisingly, given his mammoth traversal of the sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti, Ross brings an appropriately light, graceful, Italianate touch to his performances of the partitas, Italian Concerto, and Overture. Barchi surprised me in the opposite manner of Wilson, as an Italian harpsichordist who employs an exceptionally dark, sonorous, even lush registration.
Briefly, I would single out all the performances by Curtis, Staier, Barchi, and Baumont as being deeply satisfying and competitive with any others in the catalog. Those by van Asperen and Scott also are gratifying, if not as immediately appealing. The performances of the violin sonatas and partitas by Thomas Zehetmair played here on a modern instrument have their admirers, but I emphatically am not among them.
One would never guess that he was a pupil of Nathan Milstein, whose immortal DG album of these works remains the imperishable standard. The cello suites with Harnoncourt were originally made for the Musical Heritage Society in ; I believe it was the first set to be recorded using period instruments. Fortunately this, too, has a cornucopia of superior alternatives see my review of the Gavriel Lipkind set in Fanfare for a fuller discussion.
Duties in the solo flute works are divided several ways. All of these performances are again quite fine, even if Stasny, Harnoncourt, and Tachezi do not quite rise to the level of transcendental beauty attained by Brooklyn Baroque on a Quill Classics release.
Rounding out this section on a somewhat less successful note are renditions of A Musical Offering by Harnoncourt and members of his Concentus Musicus, and the complete The Art of Fugue with Tachezi playing the organ instead of the harpsichord. For the Kunst der Fuge , the first issue is whether one has a strong preference for a performance of it on organ, harpsichord, or piano, or an arrangement for an instrumental ensemble. If one wants to hear it on the organ as done here, then Lionel Rogg on EMI is a far better choice than this overly sober affair.
I would like to suggest an anatomical location further south for infliction of this punishment, but decorum forbids it. The lowbrow level at which it is pitched can be gleaned immediately from the opening seconds, in which brief snippets of familiar masterpieces by various composers are played in souped-up pop arrangements. Quite simply, it surpasses them both, but some details are in order. The Brilliant Classics set is, for the most part, mediocre to awful. Its newly recorded set of the sacred cantatas with a group of Dutch performers features a conductor, chorus, and instrumental ensemble that are merely adequate, and soloists who are painful examples of period-performance practice at its most provincial.
Unfortunately, some of the recordings made especially for this set for example, the English Suites are swamped with an overly resonant acoustic that muddies the sound and sometimes introduces electronic distortion. Most of the other performances are licensed from various other labels, with mixed results. The remaining sacred and secular vocal works receive generally good if not outstanding readings, while the chamber and orchestral works are of uneven quality, overall acceptable but not competitive with many superior versions.
These performances are comparatively old-fashioned in that they are played on modern instruments though to some degree observant of period practice and feature vocal soloists many of them leading international stars who sing with correspondingly heavier voices also suitable for 19th-century operatic and Lieder repertoire. However, the performances are all deeply felt, and the singing and playing range from solid to superb.
The various shorter sacred vocal works also receive top-notch readings that compare equally or favorably with their Teldec counterparts. Unfortunately, most of the large-scale sacred vocal works the B-Minor Mass, the St.
The Complete Bach Edition
Bach The Complete Bach Edition. Main Performer or Conductor:. Volume 1, 15 Discs Sacred Cantatas Nos. Matthew Passion Available in 4 different languages and in a version without the sacred cantatas. Jan Hanford said: The ultimate collection of the complete music of J. Having all of Bach's music at my fingertips is a dream come true. This astonishing collection of music is a historic event.
Bach 2000 Teldec Booklet Pdf
Bach - Das Kantatenwerk is a classical music recording project initiated by the record label of Telefunken in first recordings had been made in December to record all sacred Bach cantatas. The project was entrusted to Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt. Each conductor had his own instrumental ensemble, based in Austria and the Netherlands respectively. Since Rilling recorded on modern instruments the Telefunken then Teldec project could at least claim, when the project completed in , to be the first recording using historical instruments , with boys' choirs and boy soloists for most soprano and some alto parts. Leonhardt's instrumental ensemble was the Leonhardt-Consort. The initial releases were LPs.
Bach cantatas (Teldec)