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Ricercar - Bach, Webern /Poppen, Hilliard Ensemble, et al

Album Summary

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Musical Offering, BWV 1079
>Webern, Anton : Quartet for Strings (1905)
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4
>Webern, Anton : Movements (5) for string quartet, Op. 5
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Christoph Poppen with the Hilliard Ensemble and the Munich Chamber Orchestra join forces in this intriguing program exploring the connections and musical affinities between J.S. Bach and Anton Webern. Most music historians now view Webern's String Quartet of 1905 (arranged here by Christoph Poppen for Chamber Orchestra) as prophetical in terms of the development of 20th century music, and this brilliant, beautiful, transparent orchestral arrangement emphasises its uniqueness.

BBC Music Magazine - Erik Levi
Both enlightening and immensely rewarding

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Symmetry, the cyclic evolution of a musical germ and the idea of birth in the midst of death: all are fundamental to this disc. Webern's motivically determined orchestration of the Ricercar from Bach's late The Musical Offering, where single lines change colour by the bar, opens and closes the programme. Christoph Poppen's orchestration of Webern's 1905 String Quartet soars and surges with an ardour that befits this early but significant masterpiece.

Like Webern in Bach, Poppen knows how and where to taper his forces, while his players respond with obvious dedication. Bach's Cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden grows, as Herbert Glossner reminds us, from a 'primordial cell' of a single semitone motive. Eight stanzas each end with a 'Halleluja', as unalike in shade and meaning as the strands of Webern's 'Ricercar', so magnificent is the young Bach's handling of the texts. Poppen performs choral Bach with single voices; he also encourages a string playing style that largely dispenses with vibrato, so that when you cross from Webern's Quartet to Bach's BWV4 you could as well be switching to a period performance. The Hilliards sing beautifully, both solo and in ensemble, and the balance between voices and instruments is impeccable.

Some might balk at the sudden eruption of Webern's violent 'Heftig betwegt' on the heels of Bach's closing 'Halleluja', but the musical sense of having five 'symmetrical' Movements for String Quartet fall within the greater symmetry of the programme as a whole overrides any initial discomfort. Again, Poppen's finely tooled reading focuses in precise detail the mood and texture of each miniature so that the eventual return of Bach- Webern is indeed like a profound thought revisited by a changed mind.



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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Musical Offering, BWV 1079 :: Fuga (Ri
  • Conductor: Christoph Poppen
  • Ensemble: Munich Chamber Orchestra
  • Running Time: 8 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 05/1747-07/1747

>Webern, Anton : Quartet for Strings (1905)
  • Conductor: Christoph Poppen
  • Ensemble: Munich Chamber Orchestra
  • Running Time: 19 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1905

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4
  • Performers: Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor); David James (Voice); Gordon Jones; Monika Mauch (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Christoph Poppen
  • Ensemble: Munich Chamber Orchestra
  • Running Time: 19 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: by 1708

>Webern, Anton : Movements (5) for string quartet, Op. 5
  • Conductor: Christoph Poppen
  • Ensemble: Hilliard Ensemble
  • Running Time: 11 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1909

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Musical Offering, BWV 1079 :: Fuga (Ri
  • Conductor: Christoph Poppen
  • Ensemble: Munich Chamber Orchestra
  • Running Time: 9 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 05/1747-07/1747