Audio quality of this German Archiv recording is noticeably pleasant to the ear. Louder parts do not have the accompanying outbursts of digital junk noise typically present in many digital recordings; it's just pure sweet music. Archiv did this one right. Recommended for the high audio quality. Every piece is a masterpiece played with verve and energy.
The music of the Eighteenth century features delicate textures and refinement as well as expressiveness and energy. This was the age of the smaller chamber orchestra, and Bach was one of the compositional geniuses of the century. In this recording, the award-winning Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, which specializes in authentic renditions on fine reproduction period instruments, performs four delightful Bach suites, including No. 1 in C, No. 2 in B Minor and Nos. 3 and 4 in D Major.
Als die Bachforschung Mitte der 80er Jahre beweisen konnte, dass nicht Die Kunst der Fuge, sondern die Zusammenstellung der H-Moll-Messe Bach in seinen letzten Lebensjahren beschäftigt hat, rückte der theologische Aspekt im Schaffen Bachs, den man zwischenzeitlich als in den späten Leipziger Jahren zunehmend bedeutungslos sehen wollte, wieder ins Zentrum der Betrachtung. Freilich besteht die Messe zum größten Teil aus schon vorher in anderen Zusammenhängen komponierten Einzelteilen, aber sie erfuhren zum Zeitpunkt der Kompilation teilweise grundlegende Umgestaltung. Zumindest das "Et incarnatus est" ist jedoch eine sehr späte, möglicherweise sogar die letzte Komposition Bachs. Sie steht in der Messe neben dem "Crucifixus", der Kontrafaktur eines Satzes aus der frühen Kantate BWV 12: Frühe und späteste Schichten im Schaffen Bachs fügen sich völlig bruchlos aneinander.
A selection of Bach's secular smaller-scale choral and vocal works in the Suzuki BIS cantata cycle delights as much as the weightier ones have done.
Masaaki Suzuki is nearing the end of the excellent BIS cycle of all the Bach cantatas. Other complete current cycles of note are those by Ton Koopman on Challenge and John Eliot Gardiner on SDG. This is the only one on SACD although the disks can also be played in stereo on CD players and most computers. It's also a cycle using period instruments; Koopman's and Gardiner's do not.
Bach’s St. John Passion with a star-studded lineup of soprano Johennette Zomer, countertenor Andreas Scholl, tenor Mark Padmore, and bass Klaus Mertens, conducted by Ton Koopman, was bound to be—and indeed was—an enjoyable affair. A little over two years ago the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra performed the B-minor Mass with him, now they tackled the ‘smaller’ Passion…
By his twenties, Antonius "Ton" Koopman was already carving a musical niche for himself in which he would rise to become one of the world's most prominent performers in the early music movement. Koopman was born in the Dutch town of Zwolle in 1944. After what he describes as a "classical education," he went to Amsterdam to study organ (with Simon C. Jansen), harpsichord (with Gustav Leonhardt), and musicology. Koopman's musical interests from the outset centered upon the re-creation of older musics on their original instruments in a thoroughly researched historical performing style. He founded his first Baroque orchestra in 1966, followed by an exuberant career (40 years and counting) of mingled performance, conducting, and scholarship.