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Bach: Motets BWV 225-230 / Kammler, Augsburger Domsingknaben


Release Date: 03/15/1996 
Label:  Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 77436   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Reinhard Kammler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Augsburg Cathedral Boys' Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

There is no shortage of currently available recordings of Bach's motets and there is no clear choice between them, either. Several of the versions have features in common with one another but the differences, by and large, are more significant than the similarities. This new disc from Deutsche Harmonia Mundi features the choir of Augsburg Cathedral. They are made up of boys' and mens' voices and, for the most part, they are impressive; but the boys score over the men in producing a more attractive sound. This choral texture is marred for me by the disagreeably nasal tone produced by one of the tenors. It hardly matters in the passages of full ensemble but in the smaller vocal groups it is projected with uncomfortable assertion. This apart, Read more the quality of the voices is fresh and the standard of intonation commendably high, though ears will react differently to the pitching of some intervals and occasionally the singers fail to find the centre of notes.

In the use of boys' voices this approach is closer to that of the Hanover Boys' Choir and the Hilliard Ensemble (EMI) which, however, also make use of adult male altos. Gardiner (Erato/RCA), Herreweghe (Harmonia Mundi), Harnoncourt (Teldec/ASV) and Richard Marlow (Conifer) introduce women's voices to the upper vocal parts with Gardiner and Herreweghe furthermore incorporating adult male altos. No one recording, however, is consistent with another in its choice either of continuo or of instrumental co//a parte support. Marlow depends solely on an organ yet achieves wonderful results with a choir whose sense of pitch is thoroughly secure. Herreweghe and Harnoncourt prefer a more elaborate accompaniment of four-part string texture with different members of the oboe family, bassoon and organ. The Hanover Boys' Choir with the Hilliard Ensemble, on the other hand, opt for cello, violone, organ and lute, a more modest solution; and it comes closer to the present recording— which uses a viola da gamba, violone and organ— than any of the others.

Anyone who already has one or more of the above-mentioned versions need not feel unduly tempted by this new issue; but if your library is so far without a recording of these profound, technically exacting and satisfying pieces then the Augsburg Choir can be recommended. Phrasing is thoughtfully applied and articulation crisp and animated. The approach is entirely different from that of Marlow, whose performance I praised last December and different yet again from the fine version from Harnoncourt, still perhaps, my own favourite. Good recorded sound.

-- Gramophon [10/1989]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Singet Dem Hern, BWV 225 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Reinhard Kammler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Augsburg Cathedral Boys' Choir
2.
Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf, BWV 226 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Reinhard Kammler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Augsburg Cathedral Boys' Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1729; Leipzig, Germany 
3.
Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir, BWV 228 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Reinhard Kammler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Augsburg Cathedral Boys' Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
4.
Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden, BWV 230 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Reinhard Kammler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Augsburg Cathedral Boys' Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1723-1729; Leipzig, Germany 
5.
Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 227 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Reinhard Kammler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Augsburg Cathedral Boys' Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Leipzig, Germany 
6.
Komm, Jesu, komm!, BWV 229 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Reinhard Kammler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Augsburg Cathedral Boys' Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1725-1749; Leipzig, Germany 

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