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Bach: Easter Oratorio / Herreweghe, Collegium Vocale

Release Date: 03/28/1995 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 901513   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Barbara SchlickKai WesselJames TaylorPeter Kooy
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ghent Collegium VocaleGhent Collegium Vocale Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Once in while a recording comes along in which the performers, producers, and recording team get everything right. This is one of them. First issued in 1995, this production of Bach's Easter "oratorium" easily can claim supremacy among several very good alternatives. Largely cobbled from an earlier secular cantata for a duke's birthday, the music is some of Bach's most poignant while being alternately festive and meditative. There are no "roles" as we find in the Passions, no Evangelist-type recitatives, no chorales, and there's no real dramatic story line. Instead, we visit a particular scene--Peter, John, and the two Marys discover the empty tomb and contemplate its meaning. There are only two choruses,
Read more the first of which is substantial--and one of Bach's masterpieces--and there's an unusual two-movement (fast-slow) orchestral introduction. The rest consists of arias for soprano, alto, and tenor (one of the most beautiful tenor arias in all of music) and some of Bach's most skillfully written recitatives. The performances here are everything you could wish for, with sound that neither giveth nor taketh away, but rather just allows us to hear everything clearly and naturally. The program's other work isn't just a bonus, it's a full-fledged partner to the oratorio. Intended for the second day of Easter and also reworked from an original secular cantata, it most likely was performed as an Easter work the same year (1735) as the oratorio. The opening chorus of the cantata BWV 66 is one of the legion of wonders among Bach's choral movements. It's performed here with uncommon crispness and a highly charged yet refined energy that drives the music forward with irresistible power. It's worth owning the disc for the performance of this chorus alone.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Easter Oratorio, BWV 249 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Barbara Schlick (Soprano), Kai Wessel (Countertenor), James Taylor (Tenor),
Peter Kooy (Bass)
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ghent Collegium Vocale,  Ghent Collegium Vocale Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1732-1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1994 
Length: 41 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: German 
Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen, entweichet ihr Schmerzen, es lebet der Heiland, BWV 66 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  James Taylor (Tenor), Kai Wessel (Countertenor), Peter Kooy (Bass)
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ghent Collegium Vocale,  Ghent Collegium Vocale Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1994 
Length: 30 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: German 

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