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J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232 / Maria Keohane, Joanne Lunn, Alex Potter, Jan Kobow, Peter Harvey. Concerto Copenhagen, Lars Ulrik Mortensen

Album Summary

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

Notes & Reviews:

The Concerto Copenhagen, the leading Scandinavian ensemble for historical performance practice, is currently regarded worldwide as one of the most remarkable and imaginative orchestras in this field under its artistic director Lars Ulrik Mortensen. The orchestra's vitality, sense of style, and communicative talent have become its trademarks. Accordingly, CPO has decided to release Bach's Mass in B minor on two SACDS (moreover, in quality surround sound) featuring this extraordinary ensemble and top-class soloists. The Mass in B minor is regarded as one of the outstanding achievements of music history. On the present recording the orchestra's instrumental dimensions correspond to those of Bach's own ensemble; here too the customary lower concert pitch from his times forms the tuning standard. However, the use of solo voices in most of the choral numbers is disputed. This conflict goes back to various extremely controversial theories introduced in 1981 by the American conductor and musicologist Joshua Rifkin, who believed that most of Bach's choral works were intended for solo voices. The harpsichordist and conductor Lars Ulrik Mortensen describes this idea as a new approach that slowly but surely is changing our entire idea of Bach's tonal universe and in my opinion numbers among the most important modern insights into historical performance practice. When compared with more traditional, larger ensembles, the relation between vocalists and instrumentalists changes completely, so that the music necessarily becomes much lighter and more transparent. The vocal parts are 'individualized'; there is a more pronounced contrast between 'individual' and 'group,' which generally is an extremely important architectonic aspect in Bach's vocal music. Therefore, it is both possible as well as necessary to bring to light countless details that otherwise would have been lost. Accordingly, in the choral numbers the soloists are in each case reinforced by a single ripieno singer. The audio depth and transparency are breathtaking!

Gramophone Magazine, March 2016
To my mind, Mortensen's special performance, which is full to the brim with insightful musicianship and has a refreshing avoidance of contrived formulas, comfortably joins Parrott (EMI), JunghSnel and John Butt (Linn) as the finest examples of this kind of perspective on performing Bach's monumental sacred masterpiece.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Garnisons Kirke, Copenhagen (05/21/2013-05/25/2013).


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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Mass in B minor, BWV 232
  • Performers: Else Torp (Soprano); Jan Kobow (Tenor); Christopher Watson (Tenor); Joanne Lunn (Soprano); Jakob Jespersen (Bass); Hanna Kappelin; Peter Harvey (Bass Baritone); Maria Keohare
  • Conductor: Lars Mortensen
  • Ensemble: Concerto Copenhagen
  • Notes: Garnisons Kirke, Copenhagen (05/21/2013-05/25/2013)
  • Running Time: 97 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1748-1749