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Bach - Legendary Recordings / Thomanerchor Leipzig


Release Date: 04/25/2006 
Label:  Berlin Classics   Catalog #: 8394   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Gerhard BosseHannes KästnerTheo AdamAgnes Giebel,   ... 
Conductor:  Kurt ThomasErhard MauersbergerHans-Joachim RotzschGünther Ramin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus OrchestraLeipzig St. Thomas Church ChoirLeipzig New Bach Collegium Musicum
Number of Discs: 10 
Recorded in: Mixed 
Length: 11 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Summing up this collection is not easy. There are some performances that strike me as being less successful than others and often the less successful ones are the result either of stodgy tempi or choral singing that is less than excellent. In this connection, one thing that the collection does demonstrate is the extent to which standards of choral singing improved during the second half of the twentieth century. As will have been apparent from my detailed comments on the individual performances I don’t find Günther Ramin or Kurt Thomas to be the most imaginative of Bach conductors on the evidence of the recordings here assembled. However, in the case of Ramin we only have one work by which to judge him here, albeit a major one, and it Read more may well be that other examples of his recorded legacy in Bach would show him in a much more favourable light.

What can’t be denied is the great devotion and commitment to Bach’s sacred music, and to the religious ideas that inspired it, that all four conductors demonstrate consistently. These are not conductors who think of these pieces as concert works. Rather it’s music that was in their very blood and was an integral part of their daily work as musicians serving at the Thomaskirche. These performances, even if one disagrees with points of detail, exude a natural conviction. They are part of a living, breathing tradition.

The solo work is consistently good, with some soloists - Auger, Giebel and Schreier in particular - standing out. As I’ve said the choral singing is more variable in quality but is consistently good under Mauersberger and Rotzch. The obbligato instrumental playing is uniformly good and often much better than that.

Inevitably, since the recordings span a period of nearly thirty years, the recorded sound is inconsistent, improving as the recordings become younger, but it’s never less than satisfactory. The documentation is a little disappointing. The full German texts of the cantatas are provided but there are no translations. The typefaces are of differing sizes and some are very difficult to read. Most seriously, however, the booklet note, which comes in English and German, is quite brief and not very satisfactory. It contains only scant information about both the Thomanerchor itself and about the four Cantors whose work is featured. I would have thought that since an important raison d’être of the project seems to be to celebrate the Bach performance tradition of the Thomaskirche and some of its recent Cantors more should have been said, for once, about the performers, especially as to many listeners these conductors will be little more than names. For those wanting to know more, some biographical information about all the conductors featured in this set can be found at http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Thomaskantors.htm

However, despite some shortcomings this is a most valuable and interesting set and lovers of Bach’s sacred music should certainly investigate it.

-- John Quinn, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten, BWV 59 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Gerhard Bosse (Violin), Hannes Kästner (Organ), Theo Adam (Bass),
Agnes Giebel (Soprano)
Conductor:  Kurt Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1723-1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/1959 
Venue:  St Thomas' Church, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 12 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
2. Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Armin Männel (Trumpet), Agnes Giebel (Soprano)
Conductor:  Kurt Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Written: 1730 
Date of Recording: 12/1959 
Venue:  St Thomas' Church, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 20 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
3. Magnificat in D major, BWV 243 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Konrad Siebach (Double Bass), Helmut Weimann (Cello), Burkhard Glaetzner (Oboe),
Hannes Kästner (Organ), Hermann Prey (Bass), Hans-Joachim Rotzsch (Tenor),
Marga Höffgen (Alto), Agnes Giebel (Soprano)
Conductor:  Kurt Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1728-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1959 
Venue:  St Thomas' Church, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 31 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
4. Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Hannes Kästner (Organ), Marga Höffgen (Alto)
Conductor:  Kurt Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/1959 
Venue:  St Thomas' Church, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 13 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
5. Ich habe genug, BWV 82 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Willy Gerlach (Oboe), Hannes Kästner (Organ), Hermann Prey (Baritone)
Conductor:  Kurt Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1727; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/1959 
Venue:  St Thomas' Church, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 26 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
6. Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen, BWV 56 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Hannes Kästner (Organ), Hermann Prey (Baritone)
Conductor:  Kurt Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/1959 
Venue:  St Thomas' Church, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 22 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
7. Singet Dem Hern, BWV 225 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Kurt Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Venue:  Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 15 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording.
Leipzig, Germany (1958 - 1959) 
8. Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf, BWV 226 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Kurt Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1729; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 8 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording.
Leipzig, Germany (1958 - 1959) 
9. Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 227 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Kurt Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 22 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording.
Leipzig, Germany (1958 - 1959) 
10. Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir, BWV 228 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Kurt Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 9 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording.
Leipzig, Germany (1958 - 1959) 
11. Komm, Jesu, komm!, BWV 229 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Kurt Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1725-1749; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 9 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording.
Leipzig, Germany (1958 - 1959) 
12. Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden, BWV 230 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Kurt Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1723-1729; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 7 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording.
Leipzig, Germany (1958 - 1959) 
13. Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Friedemann Erben (Cello), Theo Adam (Bass), Peter Schreier (Tenor),
Hertha Töpper (Alto), Hannes Kästner (Harpsichord), Agnes Giebel (Soprano),
Konrad Siebach (Double Bass), Hannes Kästner (Organ), Axel Schmidt (Oboe da caccia)
Conductor:  Erhard Mauersberger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1744; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1966 
Venue:  St Thomas' Church, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 28 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
14. Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Friedemann Erben (Cello), Willy Gerlach (Oboe), Hannes Kästner (Harpsichord),
Agnes Giebel (Soprano), Horst Fuchs (Bassoon), Hannes Kästner (Organ),
Konrad Siebach (Double Bass), Theo Adam (Bass), Franz Genzel (Violino Piccolo),
Peter Schreier (Tenor)
Conductor:  Erhard Mauersberger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1731; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1966 
Venue:  St Thomas' Church, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 28 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
15. Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht, BWV 55 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Heinz Hörszch (Flute), Hannes Kästner (Harpsichord), Heinz Morawietz (Double Bass),
Hannes Kästner (Organ), Friedemann Erben (Cello), Peter Schreier (Tenor)
Conductor:  Erhard Mauersberger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1968 
Venue:  Versöhnungskirche, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 15 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
16. Gleich wie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt, BWV 18 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Günther Donath (Viola), Eva Kästner (Recorder), Wolfgang Espig (Viola),
Horst Fuchs (Bassoon), Hannes Kästner (Organ), Hannes Kästner (Harpsichord),
Dietmar Hallmann (Viola), Konrad Siebach (Double Bass), Hans-Christian Bartel (Viola),
Lothar Max (Cello), Peter Schreier (Tenor), Theo Adam (Bass),
Thekla Waldbauer (Recorder), Adele Stolte (Soprano)
Conductor:  Erhard Mauersberger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1715; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/1967 
Venue:  Haus Auensee, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 16 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
17. Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 62 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Hannes Kästner (Organ), Hannes Kästner (Harpsichord), Konrad Siebach (Double Bass),
Lothar Max (Cello), Theo Adam (Bass), Peter Schreier (Tenor),
Gerda Schriever (Alto), Adele Stolte (Soprano)
Conductor:  Erhard Mauersberger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/1967 
Venue:  Haus Auensee, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 23 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
18. Jesu, der du meine Seele, BWV 78 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Heinz Morawietz (Bassoon), Karl-Heinz Passin (Flute), Hannes Kästner (Organ),
Hannes Kästner (Harpsichord), Konrad Siebach (Double Bass), Lothar Max (Cello),
Theo Adam (Bass), Peter Schreier (Tenor), Annelies Burmeister (Alto),
Adele Stolte (Soprano)
Conductor:  Erhard Mauersberger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/1970 
Venue:  Versöhnungskirche, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 24 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
19. Lobe den Herrn, den mächtigen König der Ehren, BWV 137 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Hans-Jürgen Schmidt (Double Bass), Burkhard Schmidt (Cello), Theo Adam (Bass),
Peter Schreier (Tenor), Ortrun Wenkel (Alto), Arleen Augér (Soprano),
Walter Heinz Bernstein (Organ)
Conductor:  Hans-Joachim Rotzsch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig New Bach Collegium Musicum,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 15 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording.
Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, Germany (1981 - 1982) 
20. Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis, BWV 21 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Arleen Augér (Soprano), Siegfried Lorenz (Bass), Peter Schreier (Tenor),
Burkhard Schmidt (Cello), Walter Heinz Bernstein (Organ)
Conductor:  Hans-Joachim Rotzsch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig New Bach Collegium Musicum,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Cöthen, Germany 
Venue:  Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 39 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Arranger: Walter Heinz Bernstein.
This selection is a stereo recording.
Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, Germany (1982 - 1983) 
21. Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste, BWV 106 "Actus tragicus" by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Heinz Morawietz (Double Bass), Hans-Peter Linde (Viola da gamba), Rosemarie Lang (Mezzo Soprano),
Hermann-Christian Polster (Bass), Dieter Weimann (Tenor), Günther Stephan (Cello),
Almuth Reuter (Organ), Rainer Gebauer (Recorder), Jens Borleis (Recorder),
Siegfried Pank (Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Hans-Joachim Rotzsch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig New Bach Collegium Musicum,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Mühlhausen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1975 
Venue:  Haus Auensee, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 23 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
22. Der Himmel lacht! die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Heinz Morawietz (Double Bass), Almuth Reuter (Organ), Burkhard Schmidt (Cello),
Eberhard Büchner (Tenor), Hermann-Christian Polster (Bass), Helga Termer (Soprano)
Conductor:  Hans-Joachim Rotzsch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig New Bach Collegium Musicum,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1715; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1976 
Venue:  Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 22 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Version: 1724
This selection is a stereo recording. 
23. Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen, entweichet ihr Schmerzen, es lebet der Heiland, BWV 66 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Gerhard Bosse (Violin), Heinz Morawietz (Double Bass), Almuth Reuter (Organ),
Siegfried Arnold (Cello), Eberhard Büchner (Tenor), Siegfried Lorenz (Baritone),
Armin Männel (Trumpet), Heidi Riess (Alto)
Conductor:  Hans-Joachim Rotzsch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig New Bach Collegium Musicum,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1976 
Venue:  Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 31 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
24. Lobe den Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget ihr Saiten!, BWV 172 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Theo Adam (Bass), Achim Beyer (Double Bass), Peter Schreier (Tenor),
Ortrun Wenkel (Alto), Arleen Augér (Soprano), Burkhard Schmidt (Cello),
Walter Heinz Bernstein (Organ)
Conductor:  Hans-Joachim Rotzsch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig New Bach Collegium Musicum,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1981 
Venue:  Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 22 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
25. Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, BWV 68 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Walter Heinz Bernstein (Organ), Achim Beyer (Double Bass), Ortrun Wenkel (Alto),
Arleen Augér (Soprano), Peter Schreier (Tenor), Burkhard Schmidt (Cello),
Theo Adam (Bass)
Conductor:  Hans-Joachim Rotzsch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig New Bach Collegium Musicum,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1981 
Venue:  Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 16 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
26. Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter Schreier (Tenor), Siegfried Lorenz (Bass), Burkhard Schmidt (Cello),
Walter Heinz Bernstein (Organ), Arleen Augér (Soprano)
Conductor:  Hans-Joachim Rotzsch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig New Bach Collegium Musicum,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 21 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording.
Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, Germany (1981 - 1983) 
27. Saint John Passion, BWV 245 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Agnes Giebel (Soprano), Marga Höffgen (Alto), Hans-Olaf Hudemann (Bass),
Franz Kelch (Bass), Ernst Haefliger (Tenor)
Conductor:  Günther Ramin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1954 
Venue:  St Thomas' Church, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 130 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 

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