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Ricercar - Bach, Webern / Poppen, Hilliard Ensemble


Release Date: 04/01/2003 
Label:  Ecm   Catalog #: 000004802   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Anton WebernJohann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Monika MauchGordon JonesDavid JamesRogers Covey-Crump
Conductor:  Christoph Poppen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Chamber OrchestraHilliard Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Webern’s wonderfully refined orchestration of the Ricercar from Bach’s Musical Offering provides an intriguing backdrop to a disc that attempts to explore further links between the two composers. The parallels are most effectively drawn in the two extended works, Webern’s 1905 String Quartet and Bach’s Cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden, both of which utilise a subtle manipulation and variation of intervallic cells in order to express powerful feelings of loss and mourning. Inexplicably Webern refused to acknowledge the Quartet as a mature example of his art. Yet its impact is overwhelming, particularly as presented here in Christoph Poppen’s very effective arrangement for string orchestra, and in its new guise one could easily envisage it Read more being performed as often as Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht.

Given his vast experience as leader of the Cherubini Quartet, it is not surprising that Poppen inspires the Munich Chamber Orchestra to deliver wonderfully fluid and texturally imaginative accounts of both the Quartet and the more radical Five Movements. In the Bach, the Hilliard Ensemble provides marvellously understated singing even though diction is not always ideally clear. But the performance is as compelling as others on the disc.

One might question the decision to open and close proceedings with the Bach-Webern Ricercar, but there’s little doubt that hearing it for the second time after traversing the musical journey of the other works is both enlightening and immensely rewarding.

Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 4 (out of 5)

-- Erik Levi, BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

1. Fuga a 6 voci from Bach's Musical Offering, BWV 1079 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Christoph Poppen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934-1935; Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/2001 
Venue:  Church of the Ascension, Munich, Germany 
Length: 9 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is performed twice on this CD. 
2. Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Monika Mauch (Soprano), Gordon Jones (Baritone), David James (Countertenor),
Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christoph Poppen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Chamber Orchestra,  Hilliard Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/2001 
Venue:  Church of the Ascension, Munich, Germany 
Length: 19 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: German 
3. Quartet for Strings, M 79 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Christoph Poppen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; Preglhof 
Date of Recording: 01/2001 
Venue:  Church of the Ascension, Munich, Germany 
Length: 19 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Christoph Poppen 
4. Sätze (5) for String Quartet, Op. 5 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Christoph Poppen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Preglhof 
Date of Recording: 01/2001 
Venue:  Church of the Ascension, Munich, Germany 
Length: 11 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: string orchestra version 

Sound Samples

Musical Offering, BWV 1079 - Transcription: Anton Webern: Fuga (Ricercata) a 6 voci
String Quartet (1905) - Orchestrated by Christoph Poppen: String Quartet (1905)
Cantata "Christ lag in Todesbanden", BWV 4: 1. Sinfonia - Versus 1: Coro
Cantata "Christ lag in Todesbanden", BWV 4: 2. Versus 2: Duetto (Soprano, Alto)
Cantata "Christ lag in Todesbanden", BWV 4: 3. Versus 3: Aria (Tenore)
Cantata "Christ lag in Todesbanden", BWV 4: 4. Versus 4: Coro
Cantata "Christ lag in Todesbanden", BWV 4: 5. Versus 5: Aria (Basso)
Cantata "Christ lag in Todesbanden", BWV 4: 6. Versus 6: Duetto (Soprano, Tenore) - Versus 7: Choral
5 Movements for String Quartet, Op.5: 1. Heftig bewegt
5 Movements for String Quartet, Op.5: 2. Sehr langsam
5 Movements for String Quartet, Op.5: 3. Sehr lebhaft
5 Movements for String Quartet, Op.5: 4. Sehr langsam
5 Movements for String Quartet, Op.5: 5. In zarter Bewegung
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 - Transcription: Anton Webern: Fuga (Ricercata) a 6 voci

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Early 20th Century Treasures June 20, 2012 By Randy W. See All My Reviews "I bought this CD primarily for the Webern orchestration of the Bach Ricercar. It's a beautiful and amazing work the way Webern handles it - completely Bach, but pointillist and sparkling in a new way that adds a new clarity.

The Webern pieces were a surprise to me. They resemble early Schoenberg string music, the D minor quartet and Verklarte Nacht, that beautiful sensual post romantic chromaticism that existed for a short time.

The Bach on this album is also wonderful. All the performances are thoughtful and passionate. This CD is a star in my collection."
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