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J.S. Bach: Lutheran Masses, Vol. 1 / Bach Collegium Japan; Masaaki Suzuki

Album Summary

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Mass for 3 voices, chorus, 2 oboes, strings & continuo in G minor, BWV 235 (BC E5)
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Mass for 4 voices, chorus, 2 oboes, strings & continuo in G major, BWV 236 (BC E4)
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sanctus, for chorus, 2 oboes, strings & continuo in G major (doubtful), BWV 240
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sanctus in D major, BWV 241
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Kyrie in C minor (from Missa, BWV Anh. 26)
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Christe eleison, for 2 female voices & continuo in G minor, BWV 242 (BC E8)
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sanctus, arranged for chorus, cornet, strings & continuo in D major (after an unknown work), BWV 238
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sanctus in C major, BWV 237
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The Reformation’s fundamental alterations to traditional forms of church service, had, by Bach's time, resulted in German churches Latin yielding to the country's own language. To a limited extent, however, the Latin mass text did remain in use in the Protestant church – in particular the Kyrie and Gloria sections. Termed ‘Missa’ to differentiate them from complete settings, these pieces are often referred to now as 'Lutheran Masses'. Bach's famous Mass in B minor began its existence as a work of this type, and four other examples from Bach's pen have survived. Newly performed and recorded by Bach Collegium Japan under the direction of Masaaki Suzuki, the Missae BWV 235 and 236 are here combined with four separate settings of the Sanctus. Two of these are original works, whereas BWV 241, and possibly also 240, is an arrangement of another composer’s setting. The 'Kyrie–Christe' BWV Anh 26 is an example of how Bach used music by other composers, in this case by his Neapolitan contemporary Francesco Durante.

BBC Music Magazine, August 2015
Suzuki and his disciplined singers and instrumentalists bring a pleasingly light touch to the dance-like Kyrie opening chorus of BWV235...In short, notwithstanding occasional choral rough edges, there are few disappointments.

Gramophone Magazine, September 2015
Suzuki's solo 'A team' are out in force and generally deliver excellent and communicative quasi-arias...The choruses are perhaps a touch less well-heeled and defined than usual, in both consistency and balance, but Collegium Musicum Japan compellingly advocate both Masses as well as the festive Kyrie and Sanctus settings.

American Record Guide, March/April 2016
I have long regarded Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan as the gold standard for Bach's sacred vocal works, and the present recording sustains that estimation. These performances are exemplary for technical polish, precision, coherence, and musical flow. The soloists are among the finest of their kind. All are veterans of many previous Suzuki recordings. The sound is warm but clear. Listeners looking for a recording of this music will not go wrong. A recording by Suzuki of the remaining two Bach Lutheran Masses plus a Mass in A minor by Marco Gioseppe Peranda (c1625- 1675) has recently been released (BIS 2121, not sent for review). There are several other recordings of the Lutheran Masses, but one that deserves special mention is a pair of releases from Harry Christophers and The Sixteen (Coro 16115; March/April 2014; 16120; Sept/Oct 2014). He gives a more relaxed and intimate reading of this music with two voices per part - Suzuki uses a choir of 23 - and correspondingly light instrumental forces. The delicate clarity of tone and exquisitely sensitive nuances of Christophers's performances are extraordinarily attractive.



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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Mass for 3 voices, chorus, 2 oboes, strings & continuo in G minor, BWV 235 (BC E5)
  • Performers: Masamitsu San'nomiya (Oboe); Natsumi Wakamatsu (Violin)
  • Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki
  • Ensemble: Bach Collegium Japan
  • Running Time: 23 min. 58 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: Masamitsu San'nomiya (Oboe); Natsumi Wakamatsu (Violin)
  • Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki
  • Running Time: 24 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1738-1739

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sanctus, for chorus, 2 oboes, strings & continuo in G major (doubtful), BWV 240
  • Performers: Robin Blaze; Hana Blazikov (Gothic Harp); Peter Kooij; Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Masamitsu San'nomiya (Oboe); Gerd Türk (Tenor); Natsumi Wakamatsu (Violin)
  • Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki
  • Running Time: 2 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1742

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sanctus in D major, BWV 241
  • Performers: Robin Blaze; Hana Blazikov (Gothic Harp); Peter Kooij; Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Masamitsu San'nomiya (Oboe d'amore); Gerd Türk (Tenor); Natsumi Wakamatsu (Violin)
  • Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki
  • Running Time: 2 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1747-1748

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Kyrie in C minor (from Missa, BWV Anh. 26) :: Kyrie 1
  • Performer: Natsumi Wakamatsu (Violin)
  • Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki
  • Running Time: 2 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1727-1732

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Christe eleison, for 2 female voices & continuo in G minor, BWV 242 (BC E8)
  • Performers: Robin Blaze; Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Natsumi Wakamatsu (Violin)
  • Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki
  • Running Time: 1 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1727-1732

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Kyrie in C minor (from Missa, BWV Anh. 26) :: Kyrie 2
  • Performer: Natsumi Wakamatsu (Violin)
  • Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki
  • Running Time: 1 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1727-1732

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sanctus, arranged for chorus, cornet, strings & continuo in D major (after an unknown work), BWV 238
  • Performers: Robin Blaze; Hana Blazikov (Gothic Harp); Peter Kooij; Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Gerd Türk (Tenor); Natsumi Wakamatsu (Violin)
  • Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki
  • Running Time: 2 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 12/25/1723

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sanctus in C major, BWV 237
  • Performers: Robin Blaze; Hana Blazikov (Gothic Harp); Peter Kooij; Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Masamitsu San'nomiya (Oboe); Gerd Türk (Tenor); Natsumi Wakamatsu (Violin)
  • Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki
  • Running Time: 1 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1723