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J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor / Arcangelo; Jonathan Cohen

Album Summary

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Mass in B minor, BWV 232
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Despite the fact that Arcangelo are still a relatively new ensemble, they have already compiled an impressive list of honors and accolades, including a Gramophone award in 2012 for their album Arias for Guadagni. On this stunning release, director Jonathan Cohen leads the group in a performance of Bach's B minor Mass. The members of the choir and orchestra have a passion for faithful interpretation that goes far beyond historical understanding. This 'one-to-a-part' reading allows Bach's masterful counterpoint to be heard as clearly as possible.

Gramophone Magazine, November 2014
Cohen's rejection of the generic, within a grand and ravishing overview, is what propels an overwhelming sense here that this reading deserves to be taken very seriously...The work infrequently speaks with such gracefulness, freedom or conviction.

Sunday Times, 23rd November 2014
One might expect Cohen's Arcangelo to opt for minimal personnel - although the trumpety movements suggest spectacular forces - but his choir of 20 can convey the inward spirituality of Et incarnatus est and the laudatory Tclat of the Gloria and Et resurrexit with equal efficacy.

BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014
Cohen's take side-steps Joshua Rifkin's premise that it should be sung one-to-a-part and fields a choir of 20...Cohen announces the Credo at an invigoratingly purposeful lick...Tim Mead's eloquently restrained Agnus Dei is crowned by a Dona nobis pacem whose blazing grandiloquence grips.

Early Music Today, May 2015
The] lines are finely shaped and their textures sound rich rather than heavy. This is a superbly conceived and executed set, absolutely joyous and gloriously colourful.

American Record Guide, March/April 2015
The performers sing and play as if the piece meant more than a musicological exercise. Balances are carefully watched, such that the trumpets often play as part of the ensemble (i.e. quietly), rather than loud everywhere. The big pieces have plenty of excitement, and more contemplative moments like the 'Qui tollis' or 'Et incarnatus' are beautifully shaped. Cohen uses solo voices in the opening section of 'Confiteor', as have other conductors. The tactic works well. Boden's 'Benedictus' is very expressive and nice. Davies does well in both the (very different in range) bass arias. The soloists are all very good. As I say, this is a fine recording, if you prefer the "period" style.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: St Mary's Church, Tetbury, Gloucetershire (10/06/2013-10/08/2013).


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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Mass in B minor, BWV 232
  • Conductor: Jonathan Cohen
  • Ensemble: Arcangelo
  • Notes: St Mary's Church, Tetbury, Gloucetershire (10/06/2013-10/08/2013)
  • Running Time: 109 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1748-1749