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Bach: Mass In B Minor / Bruggen, Cappella Amsterdam

Bach,J.s. / Mields / Zomer / Kobow / Kooij
Release Date: 04/27/2010 
Label:  Glossa   Catalog #: 921112   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th CenturyCappella Amsterdam
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 46 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

For some performers these days, rendering of Bach's choral works comes down to a numbers game: from the most basic cantata to the most elaborate passion setting--or the B minor Mass--they claim Bach intended his choral works to be sung by only one voice to a part. Period. And because with modern performers of the highest professional caliber and recording techniques that easily present performances by singers and orchestra in ideal balance and optimal acoustic perspective they are able to demonstrate the feasibility of their theory, they hopefully declare their case closed. And while this theory--most diligently researched and avidly advocated by Joshua Rifkin--is certainly worthy and deserving of
Read more respectful attention, all you have to do is listen to a performance such as this superb one from Frans Brüggen and his Cappella Amsterdam and Orchestra of the 18th Century and you must conclude that, no, Bach may have had to accept minimal forces for his big choral works, but his conception clearly was on a grander scale--and anyone who understands the mentality of composers in the face of often unfair and unreasonable real-world constraints, both economic and artistic, knows that they never let the purely practical or necessary get in the way of the ideal (think Beethoven's piano sonatas, for example).

Brüggen is a long-time master of Baroque performance, and here he shows that mastery at every level, from the perfectly judged tempos to the dynamic choral movements, sensitively shaped arias, rich textural detail, and overall sense of balance between orchestra and chorus, chorus and solo or duetto movements, and orchestra with whatever configuration of vocal forces. The result is a grandly-scaled performance that feels neither long nor labored--and the contributions by all concerned--soloists, choir, and orchestra--are first-rate. Large works such as this, containing so many variables, usually have one or more weak links--an inadequate soloist or two, undernourished orchestral playing, disappointing sound--but no apologies are necessary here. This recording, from a concert performance in Warsaw, Poland in 2009, easily tops my list and reassures me that not only do I not have to accept a flawed performance of this masterpiece (check out the other reviews in our archive), but I--and we--can happily reject any notion of bare-bones Bach in favor of a conception that fully realizes the spiritual power and interpretive possibilities inherent in this much-discussed and debated score. Excellent notes explaining the history of the work and the origin of this recording enhance this outstanding release.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Mass in B minor, BWV 232 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century,  Cappella Amsterdam
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1747-49; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/2009 
Venue:  Lutoslawski Radio Studio, Warsaw, Poland 
Length: 106 Minutes 00 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Mass in B minor: Kyrie: Christe eleison
Gloria: Gloria in excelsis Deo

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