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J.S. Bach: Magnificat, BWV 243a; Christmas Cantata, BWV 3 / Dunedin Consort; John Butt

Album Summary

>Gabrieli, Giovanni : Hodie Christus natus est
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Gott, durch deine Güte, chorale prelude for organ (Orgel-Büchlein no 2), BWV 600 (BC K29)
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Cantata no 63, "Christen, ätzet diesen Tag," BWV 63
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her (I), chorale prelude for organ (Orgel-Büchlein no 8), BWV 606 (BC
>Luther, Martin : Vom Himmel hoch
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Meine Seele erhebt den Herren, BWV 733
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Magnificat, for 5 voices, 5-part chorus, orchestra & continuo in E flat major, BWV 243a (BC E14)
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Puer natus in Bethlehem, chorale prelude for organ (Orgel-Büchlein no 5), BWV 603 (BC K32)
>Traditional, Christmas : Puer Natus in Bethlehem (Piae Cantiones)
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

This is the premiere recording of J.S. Bach's Magnificat heard for the first time within its original liturgical context, alongside the beautiful Christmas Cantata. Dunedin Consort recreates Bach's first Christmas at Leipzig (Vespers in the Nikolaikirche, 25 December 1723); the recording opens with a Gabrieli motet and includes organ preludes and a seasonal congregational chorale. Director John Butt has given listeners an interpretation that will provide a refreshing outlook on this masterpiece and will show the Magnificat in a completely new light. This recording marks the return of Dunedin Consort's star-studded cast including, Nicholas Mulroy, Matthew Brook, Joanne Lunn and Clare Wilkinson plus newcomer Julia Doyle. Butt's liturgical reconstruction of Bach's John Passion was named a 'Critics' Choice' by BBC Radio 3 'CD Review' and Gramophone, as well as being named 'Recording of the Month' by three publications. The Dunedin Consort has established a reputation as one of the finest period performance choirs around, under the direction of prize-winning historical performance specialist John Butt OBE. The multi-award-winning Dunedin Consort has won praise for the natural style of its soloists and renown for the virtuosity of its singers. In addition to a GRAMMY nomination, Dunedin Consort has won two Gramophone Awards: the 2007 'Baroque Vocal' Award for 'Handel: Messiah' and the 2014 'Choral' Award for 'Mozart: Requiem'. Further accolades include: Esther was voted one of the 'Top 10 Classical Albums of 2012' by The Times, 2011 saw them included in Gramophone's 'Twenty Greatest Choirs' list and its recording of Bach's Matthew Passion was named Building A Library: First Choice by BBC Radio 3 'CD Review', whilst Six Brandenburg Concertos was named Gramophone 'Choice' and awarded five stars by both BBC Music Magazine and The Guardian.

The Guardian, 11th October 2015
There are interesting textual changes, the playing and singing are terrific, and Butt creates a very convincing congregational hymn with organ flourishes. But the highlight of the disc is the Christmas Cantata 63, brilliantly done with such expressive exuberance that it should have had (but certainly did not) the Leipzigers dancing in the aisles with joy at the arrival of their new Kapellmeister.

The Scotsman, 17th October 2015
This is yet another astonishing triumph by Professor John Butt and his Dunedin Consort. Scholarly originality is the clincher: a reconstruction of Bach's first Christmas Vespers in Leipzig with the wonderful Magnificat as central focus...The musicianship is exquisite; the emotional impact is immediate.

The Observer, 11th October 2015
Another bull's-eye hit from John Butt's Dunedin Consort... interesting textual changes, the playing and singing are terrific, and Butt creates a very convincing congregational hymn with organ flourishes... the highlight of the disc is the Christmas Cantata 63, brilliantly done with such expressive exuberance.

Early Music Magazine
A very good example of John Butt's marriage between arresting scholarship, enormous musicality - the tempi are so naturally right - and pragmatic skills: conceiving and bringing such a complex production to fruition is a huge task, and the whole disc is so coherently musical from the word go. Give it to all your friends for Christmas: this is contextual Bach at its very best.

MusicWeb International
This is one of the most enjoyable and stimulating Bach discs to have come my way since ... well, since John Butt's account of the Johannes-Passion. The performance standards are uniformly excellent and the music is life-enhancing... I'm in no doubt that I shall be listening to this superb disc at some stage on Christmas morning.

Irish Times
With just 10 voices and an orchestra not quite double that in number (four of them trumpets) the scene is set for music-making that's lucid and festive, captured in sound that's both intimate and full. A spirited Christmas celebration with a difference.

CD Review, 24th October 2015
It's an absolute joy - far too good to keep for Christmas.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, UK (07/27/2014-07/31/2014).



Reviews

Beautiful renditions BWV 600, BWV 63, BWV 243a, and BWV 603!
This recording on SACD (which sounds *fantastic*) is essentially a reconstruction of Bach’s first Christmas Vespers in Leipzig. The five soloists are Julia Doyle (soprano), Joanne Lunn (soprano), Clare Wilkinson (mezzo-soprano), Nicholas Mulroy (tenor), and Matthew Brook (bass-baritone), and all are wonderful to hear, both individually and in the various combinations in which Bach presents them.

The SACD opens with Gabrieli’s “Motet: Hodie Christus natus est a8”, which leads seamlessly into BWV 600 (a one minute organ prelude), and then into the Christmas Cantata itself (BWV63). The orchestration is noteworthy (as described in the well-written and informative liner notes) in that it features Bash’s only known use of four trumpets – and boy do they *sound*! The solo oboe featured prominently in the first vocal duet of the work deserves extra kudos, as it is just gorgeous. Then again, that same description applies to Clare Wilkon’s rich and warm vocals as well as Matthew Brook’s stunning bass-baritone throughout the works, especially the solo recitative on track 8.

The recording closes with BWV 243a, the Magnificat in E-flat Major, and it is just stunning. Every soloist just explodes gently from the speakers (this seems like a contrast, but listen and see if you don’t agree!), and John Butt’s harpsichord accompaniment throughout is just delightful. The liner notes indicate that Stephen Farr (organ) is also improvising some of the organ accompaniments heard throughout, and his work sounds wonderful. Why is the recording not strictly authentic one wonders? Because an accurate transcription of everything not in existence. But Mr. Butt has done a remarkable job producing a recording that feels true to the intent that Bach may have had, and the musicians definitely are giving their best from start to finish.

This is a wonderful recording of the pieces mentioned, and the recording quality itself is exceptional. If Bach’s Cantatas are something that you love and can’t get enough of, this recording will likely be an excellent addition to your collection. Highly Recommended!

Submitted on 04/19/16 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Gabrieli, Giovanni : Hodie Christus natus est
  • Performers: Julia Doyle (Soprano); Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor); Matthew Vocal] (Baritone); Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Conductor: John Butt
  • Ensemble: Dunedin Consort
  • Notes: Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, UK (07/27/2014-07/31/2014)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Christmas

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Gott, durch deine Güte, chorale prelude for organ (Orgel-Büchlein no 2), BWV 600 (BC K29)
  • Performers: Julia Doyle (Soprano); Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor); Matthew Vocal] (Baritone); Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Conductor: John Butt
  • Ensemble: Dunedin Consort
  • Notes: Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, UK (07/27/2014-07/31/2014)
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 1713-1715

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Cantata no 63, "Christen, ätzet diesen Tag," BWV 63
  • Performers: Julia Doyle (Soprano); Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor); Matthew Vocal] (Baritone); Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Conductor: John Butt
  • Ensemble: Dunedin Consort
  • Notes: Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, UK (07/27/2014-07/31/2014)
  • Running Time: 26 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 1714-1715

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her (I), chorale prelude for organ (Orgel-Büchlein no 8), BWV 606 (BC
  • Performers: Julia Doyle (Soprano); Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor); Matthew Vocal] (Baritone); Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Conductor: John Butt
  • Ensemble: Dunedin Consort
  • Notes: Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, UK (07/27/2014-07/31/2014)
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 1713-1715

>Luther, Martin : Vom Himmel hoch
  • Performers: Julia Doyle (Soprano); Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor); Matthew Vocal] (Baritone); Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Conductor: John Butt
  • Ensemble: Dunedin Consort
  • Notes: Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, UK (07/27/2014-07/31/2014)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Christmas

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Meine Seele erhebt den Herren, BWV 733 :: Meine Seele erhebet den Herren, fugue for organ (by J. L. Krebs, not JSB),
  • Performers: Julia Doyle (Soprano); Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor); Matthew Vocal] (Baritone); Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Conductor: John Butt
  • Ensemble: Dunedin Consort
  • Notes: Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, UK (07/27/2014-07/31/2014)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: by 1751

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Magnificat, for 5 voices, 5-part chorus, orchestra & continuo in E flat major, BWV 243a (BC E14)
  • Performers: Julia Doyle (Soprano); Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor); Matthew Vocal] (Baritone); Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Conductor: John Butt
  • Ensemble: Dunedin Consort
  • Notes: Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, UK (07/27/2014-07/31/2014)
  • Running Time: 31 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 12/1723

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Puer natus in Bethlehem, chorale prelude for organ (Orgel-Büchlein no 5), BWV 603 (BC K32)
  • Performers: Julia Doyle (Soprano); Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor); Matthew Vocal] (Baritone); Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Conductor: John Butt
  • Ensemble: Dunedin Consort
  • Notes: Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, UK (07/27/2014-07/31/2014)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 1713-1715

>Traditional, Christmas : Puer Natus in Bethlehem (Piae Cantiones)
  • Performers: Julia Doyle (Soprano); Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor); Matthew Vocal] (Baritone); Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Conductor: John Butt
  • Ensemble: Dunedin Consort
  • Notes: Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, UK (07/27/2014-07/31/2014)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Christmas