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Bach: Magnificat

Album Summary

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Magnificat
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Meine Seele erhebt den Herren, BWV 733
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Mass for 3 voices, chorus, 2 oboes, strings & continuo in G minor, BWV 235 (BC E5)
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Prelude and Fugue for Organ in G major, BWV 541
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Continuing their exploration of the sacred vocal music of the great Johann Sebastian Bach, Philippe Pierlot and the Ricercar Consort couple the Magnificat with the Mass BWV235 for their latest release on Mirare. The Magnificat is one of Bach's most justly celebrated works. However, it is in fact the composer's own adaptation of an earlier composition. Similarly, his masses were based on movements from his cantatas. Here is a chance to observe this fascinating process, accompanied by related organ pieces.

"Presented as a grand work with a single-voice chorus, this reading of the Magnificat is as vitally conceived and multi-dimensional as I can recall. So often the blend of a madrigal-sized choir detracts from a necessary corporate impact but such is the keen characterisation of the text and the willingness to "come and go" in the texture that the Ricercar Consort convey, in the exultant framing movements and "Omnes generationes", a rare combination of visceral rhythmic verve and vocal energy.

The solo movements are also bursting with personality, soprano Anna Zander delivering a robustly fluent "Et exultavit" and her counterpart, Maria Keohane, a sensually captivating "Quia respexit", whose oboe d'amore obbligato dovetails her lines with imploring beauty. If the alto, Carlos Mena, is the least vocally poised, then his "Esurientes" is still exceptionally judged and his duetting with tenor Hans-Jörg Mammel in "Et misericordia" sensitively projected. As throughout, all the singing is complemented by delectable instrumental accompaniments. "Suscepit Israel" is the highlight, however: a bittersweet Carissimi-like trio (perhaps more Scarlatti Stabat mater in supplication?) of mesmerizing fragility.

The G minor Mass represents a clever juxtaposition of conceits with the Magnificat, as Bach revisits choice cantata movements (from BWV72, 102 and 187) and parodies them so successfully - whatever past curmudgeons say - that this lesser-known example from the four so-called "Lutheran Masses" reminds us what they can communicate so specially with such a finely blended and integrated ensemble as the Ricercar Ensemble. Francis Jacob - whose Bach recital (Zig-Zag, 5/01) remains a favourite - provides considered accounts of two significant solo organ works. Less abandon than Koopman, perhaps, but this is supremely refined playing and articulates the ambitions of an exceptionally distinguished project." -Gramophone Awards, 2010 / Baroque Vocal nominee

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Église St Jean l'évangéliste de Beaufays; Église du Bou (04/2009).



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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Magnificat
  • Performers: Francis Jacob (Organ); Maria Keohare; Stephan MacLeod (Bass); Hans-Jorg Mammel (Voice); Anna Zander (Alto)
  • Conductor: Philippe Pierlot
  • Ensemble: Ricercar Consort
  • Running Time: 24 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 06/1733

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Meine Seele erhebt den Herren, BWV 733 :: Meine Seele erhebet den Herren, fugue for organ (by J. L. Krebs, not JSB),
  • Performer: Francis Jacob (Organ)
  • Conductor: Philippe Pierlot
  • Running Time: 4 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: by 1751

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Mass for 3 voices, chorus, 2 oboes, strings & continuo in G minor, BWV 235 (BC E5)
  • Performers: Francis Jacob (Organ); Maria Keohare; Stephan MacLeod (Bass); Hans-Jorg Mammel (Voice); Anna Zander (Alto)
  • Conductor: Philippe Pierlot
  • Ensemble: Ricercar Consort
  • Running Time: 24 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1738-1739

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Prelude and Fugue for Organ in G major, BWV 541
  • Performer: Francis Jacob (Organ)
  • Conductor: Philippe Pierlot
  • Running Time: 7 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: after 1712