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Product Details

  • Performer: Hilliard Ensemble
  • Conductor: Christoph Poppen
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Anton Webern
  • Audio CD (April 1 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Group
  • ASIN: B00008HCEY
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,444 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Fuga (Ricercata) A 6 Voci
2. String Quartet
3. Sinfonia - Versus I: Coro
4. Versus II: Duetto (Sporano, Alto)
5. Versus III: Aria (Tenore)
6. Versus IV: Coro
7. Versus V: Aria (Basso)
8. Versus VI: Duetto (Soprano, Tenore) - Versus VII: Choral
9. I Heftig Bewegt
10. II Sehr Langsam
11. III Sehr Lebhaft
12. IV Sehr Langsam
13. V In Zarter Bewegung
14. Fuga (Ricercata) A 6 Voci

Product Description


If you liked Morimur, the intellectual examination of the so-called "hidden" chorales in Bach's Chaconne, then you'll buy the premise behind this CD as well. It purports to examine "connections and musical/spiritual affinities between Bach and Anton Webern," but it's probably a good idea to forget that, since it's close to incomprehensible, and the performances here are stunning enough not to be affected by a gimmick. Indeed, the Hilliard's one-voice-to-a-part reading of Bach's Cantata No. 4 is about as gorgeous, moving, and transparent a performance as you'll ever hear. Webern's arrangement of the fugue for six voices from Bach's Musical Offering (recorded at the start and end of the CD) is also beautifully played, this time by the Münchener Kammerorchester, and it is, indeed, a wonderful, rich arrangement. Two early works by Webern serve as part of the contents of the sandwich whose bread is the Musical Offering: the 1905 String Quartet, here orchestrated by Poppen, and Five Movements for String Quartet, Op. 5, which Webern himself orchestrated in 1930. The booklet explains something about life and death and the relationship between the key-structures of all the works here; if there had been no notes at all this would still be a beautiful CD. Music this well-played needs no excuse or relationship to anything, and the notes--and premise--are little more than frustrating. --Robert Levine

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xaa4c07e0) out of 5 stars 1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xaa54e6b4) out of 5 stars Bach and Webern: centuries apart in time, contiguous in nature June 20 2010
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
RICERCAR - an elaborate polyphonic composition making extensive use of contrapuntal imitation and usually very slow in tempo - is an fitting title for this performance of the works of JS Bach and those of Anton Webern, for many as antithetical a pairing of composers as could be imagined. But the influence of Bach on Webern is significant: centuries apart they both were fascinated with counterpoint and in many ways each developed a musical language that would outlast them for may years.

ECM has programed a fascinating and thought provoking recital in comparing and contrasting the works of Bach and Webern on this wholly satisfying recording. Christoph Poppen is the fine conductor of the Munich Chamber Orchestra and his performances of these disparate and yet complementary works is solidly professional. He opens and closes the recital with Webern's transcription of Bach's The Musical Offering Ricercar and in between he offers the shimmering orchestration of Webern's 1905 String Quartet - one of the finest works on this near perfect program. For Bach devotees Poppen conducts a performance of Bach's 'Christ lag in Todes Banden' electing to use the Hilliard Ensemble (four voices only) as the 'chorus' and soloists, wisely adding the fine soprano Monika Mauch to enhance the color. It is intimate and deeply moving.

Webern's five movements for string quartet (Opus 5) are presented in his orchestral transcription, again with the same degree of sensitivity and depth of understanding as in the other Webern piece. There is much more of Webern's variety of tempi and dynamics and outbursts of color in this work. And the recital closes where it begins - with The Musical Offering of Bach - the ricercar as transformed by Webern in homage to the Master. This is subtle and completely satisfying programming on the part of Christoph Poppen, an intellectually satisfying selection as well as a performance of great beauty. Grady Harp, June 10