One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Johann PACHELBEL (1653-1706)
Easter Cantatas

Deus in adjutorum [10:13]
Christ lag in Todesbanden [13:02]
Hallelujah! Lobet den Herrn [13:27]
Christ ist erstanden [7:47]
Jauchzet dem Herrn [14:35]
Magnificat in C [18:20]
La Capella Ducale
Musica Fiata/Roland Wilson
Recorded May 22-25, 2002, Klosterkirche, Oberpfalz, Germany. DDD
cpo 999 916-2 [77:26]


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS


Johann Pachelbel, who sadly is today known only for the ubiquitous Canon in D, was a most respected composer in his own day. His influence extended all over Germany, and he was certain to have had an impact on Johann Sebastian Bach, whose older brother Johann Christoph, was Pachelbelís pupil.

Sadly, this recording of Sacred Cantatas misses the boat at so many ports, that what could have been a very welcome addition to the library is too flawed to be taken seriously. There are so many artistic problems in this performance that it would be dull to list them individually, so I will take the liberty of making a list of general comments that on the whole pertain to all of the pieces on the disc.

First there is the question of balance. Roland Wilson uses ten singers, five soli and five ripienists. Given the festive nature of this music, which often includes trumpets and drums, there is simply not enough voice to balance the instruments. Consequently, vocal counterpoint is obliterated, and one often has to mentally fill in the blanks of what cannot be clearly heard.

Next there is the issue of vocal style. Here the issues are myriad. Let us begin the "earlier than thou" sound of the sopranos, whose close-throated, overwrought with messa di voce singing is an annoyance from the get-go. Next comes counter-tenor soloist Ralf Popken, whose quality of tone is at worst just plain poor. There is no core to the sound, no particular beauty to the tone, phrasing or expression. The tenor and the bass fare little better.

Also bothersome is the lack of ensemble amongst the singers when singing as a choir. There is no unity to the choral sound. Rather we hear a mixed bag of individualist voices that stick out in odd places, making for a sound that is disjunct at best, unpleasant at worst.

Wilson delivers fairly run-of-the-mill interpretations of pieces that should be bursting with energy and emotion. They seem to me to be simply faxed in. To his credit, his instrumental ensemble plays with vigour and precision. This is not enough to save an otherwise poorly executed program. Frankly, I am quite surprised that CPO, a label famous for its excellence, let this one out of the studio. This is a company that can and has done considerably better in the past, and it is disappointing that their fine catalogue is marred by this very second-rate performance.

Notes, packaging and sound quality are excellent, but I cannot recommend buying the disc just for the cover art and booklet essay. A let-down on most counts.

Kevin Sutton


We are currently offering in excess of 50,400 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.