MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. 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

Chandos recordings
All Chandos 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: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Cantatas for the Complete Liturgical Year Vol.10:-
Cantata "Es ist euch gut, daß ich hingehe", BWV 108 [14:21]
Cantata "Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch", BWV 86 [13:01]
Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11 [28:40]
Cantata "Sie werden euch in den Bann tun euch", BWV 44 [17:44]
Siri Thornhill (soprano); Petra Noskaiová (alto); Christoph Genz (tenor); Jan Van Crabben (baritone)
La Petite Bande/Sigiswald Kuijken
rec. 30 April–1 May 2008, Predikherenkerk, Leuven, Belgium. stereo/surround. DDD/DSD
ACCENT ACC 25310 [73:21]

Experience Classicsonline

Sigiswald Kuijken's Bach cantata pilgrimage is taking in fewer stops than those of his contemporaries – he is recording a single cantata for each Sunday of the liturgical calendar – but it is still an ambitious project. And the comparisons that it is up against are daunting to say the least; we are in one-to-a-part territory here, but there are already plenty of those about. SACD? An excellent decision by somebody at Accent, but it invites comparisons with Suzuki's superlative cycle. Then there is Kuijken's own back catalogue, which itself contains some of the greatest Bach cantata recordings ever made.

He is on form though, and this disc holds up well against his earlier offerings. La Petite Bande is a good deal more petite than it was in the 1990s, and it has lost a few of its greatest stars. Marcel Ponseele, perhaps the greatest ever exponent of the baroque oboe, has departed the ensemble and is sorely missed. However, his replacement, Patrick Beaugiraud, is a player of the same school, and while he doesn't quite manage the variety of articulation of Ponseele's obbligato lines, he nonetheless achieves a similar level of musicality and lyricism. His is the first solo turn, in the bass aria "Es ist euch gut, dass ich hingehe" of BWV 108 and it is an impressive start to the disc.

Comparisons with Masaaki Suzuki are instructive as both make the most of the SACD technology to create real intimacy. But where Suzuki's forces excel in perfecting the ensemble and phrase structuring, Kuijken is happy for a little imprecision to creep in. The tuning in the strings is rarely 100%, but that slightly wayward intonation only adds to the sense of immediacy. And unlike Suzuki, Kuijken takes a relaxed approach to the structuring of phrases. It sounds almost intuitive, although I'm sure it is highly studied and prepared, but it allows the instrumental forces to sound all the more vocal for not being overly regimented or controlled.

Kuijken is a great believer in the virtue of authenticity, so one-to-a-part is treated as a musical virtue rather than an inconvenient truth of historicism. He is also an advocate of the cello da spalla, an instrument like a large viola but tuned as a cello. Discussion continues as to whether the Cello Suites were written for such an instrument, and until it is conclusively disproved Kuijken is going to use it as the tenor instrument of his string section. This makes for a slightly top-heavy sound, or insubstantial rather, but it fits well into his intimate and relaxed tonal palette.

One aspect of Kuijken's music-making that is well represented on this disc is his own performance on the baroque violin. He plays obbligato in the aria "Ich will doch wohl Rosen brechen" in BWV 86 and it is a triumph of understated baroque elegance, an intricate, weaving line, but with that earthy, grounded tone of gut strings played by somebody who really knows how to play on gut strings. As with so many of Kuijken's previous recordings, it is an example of the sheer variety and musicality that 18th century instrumentation can bring: he may be a partisan advocate of period instruments, but he can always demonstrate why they are superior.

None of the vocal soloists really stand out, but that fits Kuijken's approach well. They are, after all, required to be the choir as often as they are given solo numbers. All sing with an absolute minimum of vibrato or ornamentation, neither of which is particularly missed in this relaxed intimate setting. There are one or two tuning issues, but again, in this relaxed setting one or two slightly flat notes hardly seem significant. They wouldn't get away it under Suzuki though, that's for sure.

It is a shame that Kuijken is not trying for a complete cycle, because numerous as they already are, he really has something unique to say with this music. The SACD sound really enhances the intimacy; it is as if you have your own Petite Bande sitting in front of you, and every nuance is faithfully and clearly reproduced. You could complain that it is underpowered, or top heavy, or imprecise, or based on a contentious view of Bach's orchestration, but once you have listened to a few minutes all these thoughts will pass. This may not be the last word on Bach, but it is close to the last word on Kuijken's Bach.

Gavin Dixon





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.