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Johann Sebastian Bach: Missae Breves BWV 233 & 236

Album Summary

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Mass for 3 voices, chorus, orchestra & continuo in F major, BWV 233 (BC E6)
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Mass for 4 voices, chorus, 2 oboes, strings & continuo in G major, BWV 236 (BC E4)
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

After the success of Pygmalion's first recording, awarded with a Diapason d'Or, the second part is of very special importance. As an expression of musical genius, these Lutherian Masses are a fascinating discovery.

"These beautifully sculpted performances present a perspective on Bach which is committed to beauty of sound - as Pygmalion projected so successfully in their first volume of Masses (12/08) - but allied to a structural coherence which combines elegance and grip. That the composer took such trouble to create these four "Lutheran Masses" (largely reworked from extant cantata movements) justifies the care which Raphael Pichon and his Gallic forces take in advocating these still under-appreciated works.

Bach collectors will remember the joie de vivre of the F major Mass in Philippe Herreweghe's memorable 1990 recordings (Virgin, 9/91). Pygmalion bring yet another dimension in linear and textural interest, not to mention a fresh spark. The dynamics duck and dive (with suitably clucking horns in the outer movements) in the irresistible Gloria - a movement for which no surviving cantata source exists - and the balance between choral and instrumental sources is near ideal. The solos seem to emerge effortlessly from the ensemble with, perhaps, a little less comfort from obbligato quarters than the singers themselves.

The languorous opening of the G major Mass is given a kind of prima prattica severity which unfolds with supreme dignity, largely through shape derived from the searching bass-lines - a Bachian attribute too often overlooked in the name of democratic homogeneity. There's nothing gratuitously suave about this approach: the fine concerted episode near the beginning of the "Christe eleison" sets out purposefully before the emergence of something altogether more breathtaking as we travel through the movement in a flurry of contrapuntal adventure.

The "Gratias" is the pick of the crop for the remaining movements, thanks to the cultivated and alert bass singing of Christian Immler, but this outstandingly engaging, visceral and characterful disc keeps some of the best till last: a rich but deeply sorrowful reading of the funeral motet, O Jesu Christ, mein's Lebens Licht. As for the Masses, occasional lapses in polish are blown away by an emotional ambition which is truly to be cherished." -Gramophone

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: l'Église Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris V (10/25/2009-10/29/2009).



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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Mass for 3 voices, chorus, orchestra & continuo in F major, BWV 233 (BC E6)
  • Performers: Quentin Blumenroder (Organ); Emilianó Gonzales-Toro; Christian Immler (Bass); Eugénie Warnier
  • Conductor: Raphaël Pichon
  • Notes: l'Église Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris V (10/25/2009-10/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1738-1739

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Mass for 4 voices, chorus, 2 oboes, strings & continuo in G major, BWV 236 (BC E4)
  • Performers: Quentin Blumenroder (Organ); Emilianó Gonzales-Toro; Christian Immler (Bass); Eugénie Warnier
  • Conductor: Raphaël Pichon
  • Notes: l'Église Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris V (10/25/2009-10/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1738-1739

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht
  • Performers: Quentin Blumenroder (Organ); Emilianó Gonzales-Toro; Christian Immler (Bass); Eugénie Warnier
  • Conductor: Raphaël Pichon
  • Notes: l'Église Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris V (10/25/2009-10/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1736-1737