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Bach: Actus Tragicus - Cantatas BWV 106, 150, 131, 12 / Meunier, Vox Luminis

Bach,J.s. / Luminis / Meunier
Release Date: 01/27/2017 
Label:  Alpha Productions   Catalog #: 258   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Luminis
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The Belgian group Vox Luminis, directed by the bass Lionel Meunier, is now acknowledged as belonging among the world’s elite vocal ensembles, especially for its interpretations of German Baroque sacred music. The group's program of Bach cantatas are among the composer’s earliest, having been written in 1707/1708. Notable among them is the poignant cantata ‘Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit’ (God’s time is the best of all times) BWV 106, also known as the ‘Actus tragicus’, which was composed by the 22-year old composer for a funeral ceremony.

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REVIEWS:

There are many beautiful moments in this program of four early cantatas by Bach. The seriousness with which Lionel Meunier and Vox Luminis
Read more approach these works is evident, and the forces are ideal.

– BBC Music Magazine

Vox Luminis live up to their name with clear, soft textures redolent of 17th-century devotional rhetoric. The single voices and instruments constitute a remarkably crystalline landscape. Emotional restraint also offers some ear-pricking moments.

– Gramophone Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Luminis
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Weimar, Germany 
2.
Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Luminis
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1708-1709; Cöthen, Germany 
3.
Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste, BWV 106 "Actus tragicus" by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Luminis
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Mühlhausen, Germany 
4.
Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Luminis
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1707; Mühlhausen, Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Press review January 7, 2018 By Classicalacarte Classicalacarte (Saint-Donat, QC) See All My Reviews "These four cantatas are early works of J .S. Bach composed between 1707 and 1714. The recording by the Belgian ensemble Vox Luminis under the leadership of the baritone-bass Lionel Meunier has been generally well received by reviewers. Our survey has yielded at least ten reviews. In France, the reviewers of both Diapason (#654 – 03/2017) ( 4 stars/6) and Classica (#190 – 03/2017) (4 stars/5) expressed their satisfaction, although Gaetan Naulleau of Diapason did express some reservations. Jonathan Freeman-Attwood (Gramophone – 02/2017) is not entirely satisfied. He writes : “ The vocal delivery is mixed, especially when exposed to Bach’s already demanding coloratura, and it’s mainly very straight-toned ”. “The overall impression is one of music-making that fails to plumb the depths of these wonderful lamentations”. George Chien of Fanfare (40:6 - 07– 2017) is of the opinion that these “ … performances are quite minimalist”. “Its not a great disc, but its an OK one”. William J. Gatens (American Record Guide) expresses an interesting point of view: “The present works … owe more to the formal model of the 17th Century sacred concerto as developed from Schütz to Buxtehude”. As a result: “The small-scale instrumentation gives the works the intimate flavour of chamber music…”. His final opinion is that admirers of Bach’s early works “… will find much to admire in these performances”. The most eulogistic commentaries expressed about this recording can be read on the Web. In Germany, Rondo Magazin (04/2017) awards the CD a 5 stars mark. Fiona Maddock (Guardian – 12/2016) also expresses a very positive point of view (4/5 stars) : “… Vox Luminis has a winning purity”. David Stancliffe (Early Music Review 02/2017) (5 stars) shares similar ideas as those expressed by W.J. Gatens : “ … Vox Luminis have approached these early Bach cantatas from the style of ensemble singing they have created for Bach’s 17th-century predecessors. This means that the ensemble sound, like that of the organ, is robust, but open voiced rather than ‘produced’. Not everyone will like it, but (to me) it offers an unrivalled blend and clarity”. The reviewers of two webzines (in French) (ResMusica – 12/2016) and ClassiqueNews (11/2016) are extremely enthusiastic about this production. Similarly, Jean-Francois Pucek posted on his blog a very comprehensive and also very affectionate commentary about “Actus Tragicus’ by Vox Luminis (Label Alpha258). It is possible to consult all these reviews by searching with the following criteria : “ classicalacarte + Alpha258 “" Report Abuse
 Beautiful Performances -- Excellent Sound April 13, 2017 By L. Wilborn (Richwood, TX) See All My Reviews "These performances are beautifully performed and excellently recorded. Engaging listening. The booklet presents historical background of the works, lyrics (in three languages), information on performers and organ, and photos of performers and organ. Great album; recommended." Report Abuse
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