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Bach: Masses Bwv 235 & 234, Sanctus / Herreweghe


Release Date: 05/22/2009 
Label:  Virgin Classics Special Import Catalog #: 91118   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter KooyChristoph PrégardienGérard LesneAgnès Mellon
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ghent Collegium VocaleGhent Collegium Vocale Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

That Bach's four short Masses (short because they set only the Kyrie and Gloria sections required by Lutheran usage) have excited so little interest among record companies is doubtless a result of the bad press they have attracted over the years: "more barbaric parodies cannot be imagined" was Albert Schweitzer's opinion, and his evaluation—if rather blunt—is typical of the disdain felt for these works by Bach scholars who could not forgive the composer for re-cycling a few of his cantatas and thereby treading on their romantic notions of the original creative artist. But unless the B minor Mass itself—just as much a patchwork of secondhand material—is also to be classed as 'barbaric', few listeners today will be able to find much Read more to object to in these charming pieces, in which Bach's personality shines through just as strongly as in any of his more reputable creations. And how many people know Cantata No. 187?

Philippe Herreweghe's new recordings of the Masses in G minor and A major—along with the sprightly (and original) D major Sanctus, BWV238—should not, then, be of interest only to Bach enthusiasts. Both Masses share the same formal outline, the main contrast between them arising instead from their instrumental colouring, as Bach supplements the strings with oboes in BWV235, and flutes in BWV234. Herreweghe maximizes this gentle distinction by fixing his efforts on achieving a smooth blend and a rich, reverberant sound, in which he is undoubtedly helped by the echoing church acoustic of the Abbaye aux Dames in Saintes; but there is a price to pay, and it is one of textural clarity and rhythmic precision, something one misses most in the solo arias, all of which are sensitively sung but could benefit from a touch more intimacy. Similarly, the choruses, though they are beautifully sung, sound rather as if the rhythmic corners have been knocked off them. Nevertheless, if the sheer nobility and tenderness of Bach's church music appeals to you then you will have no problems with this disc. Let's hope the other two Masses follow soon.

-- Lindsay Kemp, Gramophone [1/1991]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Missa brevis in A major, BWV 234 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter Kooy (Bass), Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Gérard Lesne (Countertenor),
Agnès Mellon (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ghent Collegium Vocale,  Ghent Collegium Vocale Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: after 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 22 Minutes 24 Secs. 
2.
Missa brevis in G minor, BWV 235 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Gérard Lesne (Countertenor), Peter Kooy (Bass), Christoph Prégardien (Tenor)
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ghent Collegium Vocale,  Ghent Collegium Vocale Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: after 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 28 Minutes 31 Secs. 
3.
Sanctus in D major, BWV 238 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ghent Collegium Vocale,  Ghent Collegium Vocale Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723-1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 2 Secs. 

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