MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Voices of Bach - Works for oboe, choir and orchestra
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (from BWV 75) [1:42]
Jesus bleibet meine freunde (from BWV 147) [2:56]
Sei Lob und Pres mit Ehren (from BWV 167) [2:33]
Dein Blut, der edle Saft (from BWV 136) [1:22]
Ich bitte dich, Herr Jesu Christ (from BWV 166) [2:44]
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (from BWV 136) [1:22]
So fahr’ich hin zu Jesu Christ (from BWV 31) [1:13]
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (from BWV 12) [1:26]
Concerto for oboe d’amore, continuo and strings (from BWV 209) [18:59]
Concerto for cor anglais, continuo and strings (from BWV 54) [9:42]
Concerto for oboe, continuo and strings (from BWV 105, 170, 49) [18:27]
Albrecht Mayer (oboe, oboe d’amore, cor anglais, conductor)
Trinity Baroque/Julius Podger
The English Concert
rec. St Paul’s Church, Deptford, London, March 2009
DECCA 478 1517 [65:20]

Experience Classicsonline

Albrecht Mayer is the principal oboe of the Berlin Philharmonic and has already made a solo album featuring the music of Venice (Decca 4780313). This disc takes him to the music of Bach, a body of work he describes as his “musical home”. It is the approach that may interest collectors more than the playing, though. Mayer, working with Andreas Tarkmann, has chosen a number of works which Bach did not originally write for oboe and has turned them into oboe showcases. The chorales, for example, all give the oboe an artificially prominent part, most famously taking over the string part in Jesu Joy and Wachet auf. He takes two solo cantatas (BWV 209 and 54) and substitutes the oboe for the vocal line and, more radically, bowdlerises three cantatas to make an entirely new concerto. Either you’ll buy into this approach or you won’t, in which case this disc is not for you, but before we become too sniffy about it it’s worth remembering that Bach himself wasn’t above doing this to his own works. He famously made arrangements of Vivaldi’s concertos for his own societies to play. My view is that there is far more good than bad here and that if you like the sound of the oboe then you’ll quickly warm to this disc.

Mayer tries to suggest that his choice of cantatas has been to form a cycle, but if there’s a greater meaning here then it was lost on me. He is lucky to have the impeccable voices of Trinity Baroque to assist him and they make a lovely sound. However the blend with the oboe is not always well matched and the acoustic tends to spotlight the voices too much so that at times it feels a little like a contest. Some of the oboe substitutions work better than others: Jesu Joy is familiar to most of us in an oboe arrangement anyway, and So fahr’ich hin zu Jesu Christ works brilliantly, partly because the oboe simply undulates silkily underneath the unaccompanied choir. The setting of the familiar Wachet auf jars, however, and in BWV 136 I found the oboe distracting rather than devotional.

It is, in fact, where Mayer has deviated furthest from Bach’s purpose that he is most successful. The pungent oboe d’amore of BWV 209 is lovely and BWV 54 works spectacularly well, the dark tones of the cor anglais making a most convincing substitute for the alto voice that most often takes this cantata. There is less integrity to the mixed concerto but it works better than you might think, especially the slow movement adapted from BWV 170, and the blithe dance that ends it works as a great finale.

The playing itself is sleek and, to my ears, more Romantic than Baroque, but then integrity has rather been thrown out the window in the planning of this disc so who cares? The English Concert are fully at home in this music but they sound a little abrasive in the quicker movements, something not entirely made up for in the lovely Adagios.

A good one to try, then, but go into it with your eyes open.

Simon Thompson



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


      Composer surveys
      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

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


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

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



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

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
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
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
Web Ring
Translation Service

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

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.