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Bach: Lutheran Masses, Vol. 1

Bach,J.s. / Sixteen / Christophers
Release Date: 10/08/2013 
Label:  Coro   Catalog #: 16115   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BACH Masses, in g, BWV 235; in F, BWV 233. Cantata No. 102 Harry Christophers, cond; The Sixteen Ch & O (period instruments) CORO 16115 (74:07 Text and Translation)


It’s getting harder to lament the curious neglect of Bach’s short or “Lutheran” Masses. Within recent memory I’ve had the privilege of auditioning new sets by Ton Koopman, (Challenge), Konrad Read more Junghänel (Harmonia Mundi), and Raphaël Pichon (Alpha). Philippe Herreweghe’s excellent set was reissued by Virgin, and Brilliant has even revived Hanns-Martin Schneidt’s 1974 version in its complete Bach Edition box. Helmuth Rilling on Hänssler is still around. Now comes the first installment of a new set by Harry Christophers. Nevertheless, the short Masses do get considerably less attention than the cantatas, which they resemble in every way except for the absence of recitatives and closing chorales. The cantatas, after all, tell stories; the Masses do not. In fact, most—probably all—of the music in the Masses is recycled from pre-existing cantatas.


In these performances Christophers has reduced The Sixteen by a half, to eight singers only: Grace Davidson and Julia Doyle, sopranos; Robin Blaze and William Purefoy, countertenors; Jeremy Budd and Mark Dobell, tenors; Ben Davies and Eamonn Dougan, basses. The voices are accompanied by a slightly larger instrumental ensemble: 3, 3, 2 (or 3), 2, and 1 of strings, plus the necessary winds and continuo. All of the singers take solo turns, except Doyle. The only soprano aria on the disc, in the F-Major Mass, went to Davidson.


One lesson we might take from this release is that Bach rocks, although we already knew that. The Kyrie of the G-Minor Mass, a real toe-tapper, gets the ball rolling, and Christophers takes it from there, injecting the choral movements, especially, with abundant energy. The double quartet is very effective throughout. I was a little less enthralled by some of the arias, but not enough to discourage me from giving the whole enterprise a thumbs up. Because the combined Masses run just over 52 minutes, Coro has generously added a Cantata, No. 102, between the Masses, a welcome bonus. I’m looking forward to Volume II.


FANFARE: George Chien
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Works on This Recording

1.
Missa brevis in G minor, BWV 235 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: after 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  St Augustine's Church, Kilburn, London 
Length: 26 Minutes 40 Secs. 
2.
Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben, BWV 102 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  St Augustine's Church, Kilburn, London 
Length: 21 Minutes 10 Secs. 
3.
Missa brevis in F major, BWV 233 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: after 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  St Augustine's Church, Kilburn, London 
Length: 24 Minutes 4 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Music for the Sabbath February 12, 2014 By George Thompson (Gonzales, LA) See All My Reviews "According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Sunday is the Lord's Day, the Christian Sabbath, "to be spent in the public and private exercise of God's worship." This CD and its soon-to-be-released companion ("Lutheran Masses, Vol. 2") provide aids for preparation for public worship and music for private devotion and personal reflection at home on the Lord's Day. Don't turn on the TV and stay off the internet on Sundays. Instead read your Bible, pray and meditate and listen to this CD. Your life will be conformed to the image of Christ through these means of grace." Report Abuse
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