Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1739)
Erschallet, ihr Lieder, BWV 172 (1714) [20:29]
Himmelskönig, sei willkommen, BWV 182 (1714) [28.33]
Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis, BWV 21 (1714) [38:55]
Emma Kirkby (soprano); Michael Chance (counter-tenor); Charles Daniels (tenor); Peter Harvey (bass); The Purcell Quartet
rec. 22-24 May 2007, St. Jude on the Hill, Hampstead
2 CDs for the price of 1
CHANDOS CHAN0752(2) [49.04 + 38.55]
Experience Classicsonline

This is the third volume in the Chandos survey of Bach’s early cantatas (see review of Weimar vol. I). As with previous issues these cantatas are sung one voice to a part by a distinguished quartet of soloists. The soloists sing the chorales and choruses as well – the complete single-voice approach. In principle I welcome this mode of performance, and have on my library shelves some superb examples of Bach performed by single voices. The four singers in this case are accompanied by an ensemble of just twelve instrumentalists. And, frankly, it is the instrumental playing which is the best thing on the disc.
 
There is some lovely singing here, particularly in the solo movements. But the singers are all very mature, with highly developed personalities and both Kirkby and Chance use a number of vocal tricks to negotiate the tricky vocal lines. Chance has a tendency to shade in and out of individual notes and Kirkby’s voice does not respond as flexibly in the upper ranges as it once did. This would not matter if we were just talking about solo movements as all four soloists still have a vast amount of experience and skill to give and their solo contributions are well worth listening to.  In the choruses however, the singers are disappointing. They just don’t gel as a vocal entity and you long to hear the choruses sung by singers with a greater sense of line and a slightly less determined vocal identity.
 
There are just three cantatas on the discs and they make a fascinating trio. Erschallet, ihr Lieder uses drums and three trumpets to resounding effect to illustrate the opening words ‘Resound, ye songs, ring out, ye strings’. The cantata has a tricky textual history as Bach performed it a number of times, each with variants on the particular pitch standard used. The Purcell Quartet use the lower conservative key, but even so Kirkby sounds a little taxed at the very top of her range.  The cantata is a rather jubilant work, veering towards ecstatic joy at the prospect of heavenly eternity.
 
This is followed by a cantata which may be a re-working of an even earlier one. Himmelskönig, sei willkommen seems to have existed originally in a version for four voices plus trio sonata accompaniment. The additional parts were added later. It would have been interesting to hear the work in its original state and there would have been room on the disc. As it is we hear it in the state in which Bach performed it in 1714. It is similar in tone to the previous cantata, but instead of trumpets Bach gives us a more intimate heavenly conversation.
 
The final cantata of the set, Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis also has textual problems as Bach re-used a separate work for the grand finale - with trumpets and drums. As that work originally had a five-part string texture, Bach had to make some hasty adaptations. Unusually for him, the piece never seems to have reached a definitive state. It is performed on this disc in the form in which it was given in 1714. The cantata is far more monumental than the previous two, with despair dominating the first half. The second opens with the Soul still in despair. Gradually hope dawns in the light of Jesus. Unlike the opening cantata on the disc, Bach holds back the trumpets and drums until the last glorious moment.
 
The advantage of this particular group of cantatas is that we can hear three of Bach’s works dating from the same period in 1714. The CD booklet contains an informative article giving a good background to the works, along with texts and translations. At 88 minutes the set has a rather short playing time. You can’t help wishing that they’d managed to fit another cantata onto the discs.
 
There is much to enjoy here including fine instrumental playing and, thanks to the small-scale forces of the Purcell Quartet, some splendidly transparent textures. Whilst this set is certainly recommendable for anyone interested in Bach’s early cantatas, the solo singing is not quite up to the high standards set by the instrumental contribution.
 
Robert Hugill
 

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review 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.