Notes and Editorial Reviews
The German Bach specialist Karl Richter made ground breaking recordings of baroque repertoire for the Archiv label in the 1960s and 1970s. Richter frequently led the Munich Bach Orchestra, an ensemble of modern instruments coupled with a fairly large chorus. While Richter's performances didn't strive for the same exacting, and sometimes pedantic, period accuracy that was found in recordings by Harnoncourt and Leonhardt, he brought a sense of spirituality and drama to Bach's music that has rarely been equaled.
This epic 10-disc set presents Richter's recordings of Bach's key sacred works and is nothing short of a revelation. Richter had a superb ear and his soloists and choral forces always delivered finely crafted performances. Richter knew how to get a grand sound from the chorus without sacrificing clarity, and the opening 'Kyrie' of the 'B Minor Mass' is a textbook lesson in the art. There's drama aplenty in Richter's performances, especially in the choruses of the 'Saint John Passion.' Richter's vocal soloists have never been surpassed, and included such luminaries as Gundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig, Fritz Wunderlich and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. These are the recordings that made Bach accessible to a generation.