One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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 cpo reviews

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

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



Buy through MusicWeb
for £12.49 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button

Johann Sebastian BACH (185-1750)
Trauer-Music: Music to mourn Prince Leopold BWV244a
Taverner Consort and Players/Andrew Parrott
rec. 27-30 November 2010, Church of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown, Oxford. DDD
German texts and English translation included
AVIE AV2241 [78:40]

Experience Classicsonline

Between 1717 and 1723 Bach worked as Capellmeister at the court of Prince Leopold in Cöthen. The Prince was a lover of music and, indeed, played the viola da gamba. He recruited a number of leading musicians to play in his court orchestra. As the very interesting booklet notes tell us, Bach remained in contact with the Cöthen court even after moving to Leipzig, making several return visits, in particular for the celebrations of Leopold’s birthday, which fell in December. In November 1728, however, the prince died suddenly, just before his 34th birthday. It fell to Bach to write music for his funeral, which did not take place until the following March and he composed a substantial Trauer-Ode. The music is lost though some copies of the libretto, by Bach’s frequent collaborator, Picander, have survived. Despite the fact that he had several month’s notice of the funeral, it appears that Bach did not write a brand new score for this occasion. Instead, scholars have concluded that he recycled music from two recently-composed major works.
These scores are the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 (1727) and the funeral ode Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl, BWV 198, written in the same year for the funeral of Christiane Eberhardine, wife of Elector Augustus the Strong. In fact it has been noted by various Bach experts that Picander’s words fit well the various arias that Bach is thought to have used, suggesting that the libretto was fashioned round the music rather than vice versa. Inevitably, however, what we have here is a conjectural reconstruction or, as Robert Mealy puts it in the booklet, “the result of much detective work and a certain amount of daring re-invention.” I presume that the latter part of that comment includes the recitatives which Mealy tells us “have been re-invented by Parrott, following Bach’s own practices, and drawing on material surrounding the original arias”. Incidentally, this reconstruction has not been created for this recording; the fruits of Parrott’s detective work were first performed in concert as long ago as 2004.
What we have here is a substantial work, lasting well over an hour and consisting of twenty-four separate items, though this includes one short chorus that is heard twice. There are nine solo arias and most of the rest is passages of recitative for there are just five numbers for chorus. One of the fascinations is hearing such familiar music as the arias ‘Buß und reu’,’Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen’, ‘Mache dich, mein Herze, rein’ and ‘Erbarme dich’ not only sung to new words but appearing in a different context. I have to say that the results seem to me to be persuasive, especially since we know that Bach, like so many composers of the Baroque era, was an inveterate recycler of his own music – and that of others. Helpfully, the booklet includes a table showing the source of each of the thirteen musical “borrowings” from the two works. The recitatives may not be “authentic” Bach but Andrew Parrott has done a good and idiomatic job, based on his great knowledge of Bach, and these passages convince.
As to the performance itself, as usual Parrott follows his one-voice-per-part approach to Bach and his four soloists, Emily Van Evera, Clare Wilkinson, Charles Daniels and Thomas Meglioranza, do the chorus work as well. The only exceptions to this are the final chorus, which uses the music of the last chorus of the St. Matthew Passion, and the tenor aria fitted to the music of ’Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen’. For both of these Parrott deploys extra singers so that he has two voices per part. I know there are many who dislike hearing Bach’s choruses sung in this way – generally I too am in that camp – but here the chorus work is so limited that it doesn’t really matter very much.
Of the soloists, I think Clare Wilkinson makes the best showing. I particularly enjoyed her expressive delivery of ‘Erhalte mich Gott’ (‘Erbarme dich’), which also benefits from a fine violin obbligato, played by Kati Debretzeni, I think. Emily Van Evera sings intelligently though to my ears there’s a slight edge to her tone that not all listeners may like. Charles Daniels is a highly experienced Bach singer and I enjoyed the sensitivity of his singing though I did wonder if he could and should have been a little more robust in his delivery of ‘Geh, Leopold, zu Deiner Ruh’ (’Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen’). Having said that, perhaps Picander’s words justify a more intimate approach than might be the case in the St. Matthew Passion? Thomas Meglioranza is described as a bass but his is a pretty light voice, leaning very much towards a baritone. He opens the work with the aria ‘Laß, Leopold, Dich nicht begraben’ (‘Komm, sußes Kreuz’) and, frankly, I found his voice lacking in body here; I longed for the extra weight of tone that Peter Harvey or Peter Kooij might have brought to the proceedings. However, later on in ‘Bleibet nun in eurer Ruh’ (‘Mache dich, mein Herze, rein’) his voice has more tonal body, which is pleasing.
Incidentally, that first bass aria features a viola da gamba obbligato, surely a nod by Bach to his gamba-playing patron. It’s well played, as are all the obbligatos. Parrott’s team of a dozen instrumentalists acquit themselves very well indeed, providing consistently stylish and exert accompaniments.
We can never know exactly what music was heard at the obsequies of Prince Leopold but this reconstruction brings scholarship and highly informed speculation to bear and offers a convincing recreation of Bach’s final musical offering to his late master.
John Quinn


































































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

Pat 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.