Notes & Reviews:
The Observer, 21st September 2014
Buoyant and agile in performance, small in scale and steeped in the best traditions of period playing - putting musicality over scholarship - the Magdalena Consort was founded in 2008 by bass/director Peter Harvey...The Magdalenas are the next generation, heading out alone. if you don't know them, try this brilliant disc.
American Record Guide, November/December 2014
As Peter Harvey explains in his program notes, the thread that prompted the selection of the three cantatas for this recording was the presence of extramusical symbolism in the form of numbers or verbal acrostics. The singing is one voice to a part. In the Leipzig cantatas the strings are 4-3-2-1-1 (violone) plus obbligato winds and continuo. The most economically scored work is 150, with two solo violins, obbligato bassoon, and continuo. The ideal of chamber music generally prevails. The performances are above reproach technically, with a first-rate early music vocal quartet and excellent period instrument playing. Tempos are reasonably brisk. Harvey's interpretations are thoughtful and mature, and I expect they will stand up well to repeated hearings.
Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2014
The four voices are fairly matched with each other, less so with their instrumental colleagues, and Harvey leads unfailingly elegant interpretations. At each turn, however, they yield to the textual and expressive detail of The Bach Players.
Bach's ambition to compose liturgical music for the entire church calendar produced a wealth of sacred cantatas. Around two hundred have survived, and are an eloquent expression of his opinion that, "true music should be for the honor of God and the recreation of the soul". This collection features three of Bach's best-loved cantatas performed by the Magdalena Consort led by Peter Harvey. Vocal lines are sung one-to-a-part, in the style originally championed by Joshua Rifkin, which lends these performances an air of chamber music. Harvey, who also sings the bass part, is joined by soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, alto Daniel Taylor and tenor James Gilchrist.