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V 11: Bach Cantatas

Gardiner; Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists , Bach J.S. Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 36.57 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid June 29 2010
By Teemacs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The cantatas on this particular collection are not so well known (to me anyway), the best-known being on the second CD BWV 38 "Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir", and BWV 98 "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan" (Bach wrote no less than three cantatas using this text). BWV 38 features the use of four sackbuts, which sound splendid. Indeed, the whole set sounds splendid, and I remain constantly amazed that Gardiner was able to keep up this standard, week after week. Gardiner may not be God, but one is tempted to write "was JEG tut, das ist wohlgetan".
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE HIGH STANDARD IS MAINTAINED July 20 2010
By GEORGE RANNIE - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The previous reviewer expressed his/her amazement at the high standard John Eliot Gardiner and his forces (Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists) have maintained while recording all of Bach's known Cantatas. I too have wondered likewise. How did Gardiner with the aforesaid forces maintain such high standards throughout the entire year of 2000 at various venues all around the world? As this volume eleven (11) proves, the highest standards have indeed been maintained. This volume eleven (11) is indeed wonderful with all of performers (including the soloists) sounding as glorious as the first release some time ago.

I too am not too familiar with the seven cantatas in this two (2) disc set that were composed for the twentieth and twenty-first Sunday after Trinity. As I have stated previously on this board being a confirmed heathen, I am not too sure of the religious significance of that. All that I DO know is that the music contained in volume eleven (11) is marvelous with Gardiner, The Monteverdi Choir, The English Soloist and the individual soloist performing magnificently.

One of the individual soloist, I have to mention as really making an impression on me was the bass, Paul Harvey, on the first disc, He is really outstanding. All of the individual soloists on both discs were great; however, Paul really made an impression singing his arias and recitatives most wonderfully singing with a full, rich and flexible voice. My intention was to mention only one of the soloist on this recording but I do have to mention that Paul Agnew, the tenor on thesecond disc is spectacular!! I, once again, was in complete awe of his singing--his runs trill, etc., almost had me screaming with delight.

If you, like me are "arm-chair" participants in Gardiner's Pilgrimage, you will want to add Volume 11 to your "trip" or you just want to hear the genius of JS performed outstandingly, buy this volume.
5.0 out of 5 stars WOHLGETAN AS EVER March 11 2012
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
There are 27 volumes in Gardiner's great pilgrimage series of the Bach cantatas, my collection now holds 25 of them, this is my 23rd review, and I have long since run out of alternative ways of saying that the standard is not only very high but consistently very high. I have to be repetitious in reviewing them, but for the best of reasons because of this very consistency that they exhibit. I have no way of knowing at which point in the series any newcomer may encounter his or her first review, I very much doubt that anyone will have been tracking them serially, so I can at least take comfort from reflecting that the main or perhaps only victim of the tedium created by such reiteration will be myself.

So for newcomers yet again - in the year 2000, the 250th anniversary of Bach's death, Gardiner and his associates travelled the globe performing all the master's extant cantatas on the liturgical dates for which he had written them, or as near as the different dates of Trinity and Pentecost in the two years allowed. Gardiner himself may have known all the pieces before he set out, but it is very clear from the contributions made by the other musicians that they were often learning them on the hoof. For me, to turn out the quality that they have done in such circumstances is a miracle second only to what the composer achieved in creating the works in the first place, week after week turning out masterpieces that many a composer would have been proud to produce once a year.

Just a small number seem to me to fall a little below the high average, but this 11th of the series (however they work out the numbering) is not one of those. The format is the same as always, with texts given in German and English, `texts' including the blog-style essays that Gardiner attaches to each disc, but not the shorter contributions made by one or other of the executants, in this case the soprano Suzanne Flowers. The 20th and 21st Sundays after Trinity found the wandering minstrels in Genova and Greenwich respectively, and I should note as usual that the constant changes of venue seem to have given the performers' technical partners no problems in recording live recitals. The presentation is attractive, a sort of book format, but let me issue my usual caution about handling the discs, which can be either hard to extract without touching the surface or liable to fall out spontaneously.

As usual, the entire troupe covers itself with distinction, and of course the stylistic sense under such a director is beyond criticism. There is an atmosphere to it all that I would guess must have come from the special sense of challenge and excitement in learning some of the greatest music in the world and getting it to perfection at a few days' notice. The singers get most of the comment, not unnaturally, so let me appreciate the instrumentalists in particular this time. Gardiner makes a remark that Bach's writing for tenor tends to be awkward, and he could have gone a lot further. Bach's vocal writing as a whole is profoundly influenced by instruments, which dominate his ear and imagination at least as much as they would dominate Wagner's 150 years later. For some reason, I found the instrumental dominance especially marked this time. In particular both BWV49 and BWV188 contain long instrumental sinfonias. The latter has had to be pieced together by Robert Levin, and this is apparently not his only scholarly contribution, but I wonder why Gardiner has nothing to say to us about its counterpart in BWV49.

A really astounding achievement, this series. I am ready to offer the world a few thoughts on volumes 12 and 13 over the next few days, and if I survive another birthday in June I shall finally wrap the process up with volumes 21 and 25.
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