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Die Alben

Ab
CD5,49 Fr.

Messen, Passionen, Requiems - Erschienen am 28. August 2008 | Alpha

Booklet Auszeichnungen 4 étoiles Classica
In the marvelous packaging of this French release one can read an in-depth analysis of the rather grim painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder reproduced on the cover, complete with fascinating detours into such topics as the sexual significance of the mussels in the painting. The intended connection is a certain endlessness of invention common to both creators. There isn't a word, however, about the choral-orchestral ensemble Pygmalion, oddly enough named especially in a French context (and they are apparently French). Whoever they are, they're superb. Bach's four Missa Brevis settings, as the booklet points out, have historically suffered in terms of prestige because they mostly consist of "parody" movements or recycled vocal movements fitted out with new texts, in this case those of the Kyrie and Gloria of the mass. Most of the sources are sections of cantatas. For the listener, however, this means very little beyond a tendency toward long instrumental introductions to many of the movements. The Pygmalion choir delivers a superior example of the warm, sensuous French approach to Bach; the instrumentalists achieve perfect ensemble with their Baroque bows and strings. Best of all are the soloists, heard in the inner sections of the subdivided Gloria. All have distinctive voices perfectly proportioned to the size of the music, and that of alto Magid El-Bushra is worth sampling just for its unusual, almost boy-soprano grain (hear the Domine fili movement of the Missa Brevis in G minor, BWV 235, track 5). The sound reveals very small details of the playing and conveys real presence of the musicians without placing the listener unnaturally close. The only complaint is that the program is rather short; the two masses could have been bookended with short pieces instead of just introduced with another unusual Bach reworking, this one of a motet by Kuhnau. In all, a recording of choice for some of Bach's lesser known choral music. © TiVo
Ab
CD11,99 Fr.

Messen, Passionen, Requiems - Erschienen am 28. August 2008 | Alpha

Auszeichnungen Diapason découverte - 9 de Classica-Répertoire
In the marvelous packaging of this French release one can read an in-depth analysis of the rather grim painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder reproduced on the cover, complete with fascinating detours into such topics as the sexual significance of the mussels in the painting. The intended connection is a certain endlessness of invention common to both creators. There isn't a word, however, about the choral-orchestral ensemble Pygmalion, oddly enough named especially in a French context (and they are apparently French). Whoever they are, they're superb. Bach's four Missa Brevis settings, as the booklet points out, have historically suffered in terms of prestige because they mostly consist of "parody" movements or recycled vocal movements fitted out with new texts, in this case those of the Kyrie and Gloria of the mass. Most of the sources are sections of cantatas. For the listener, however, this means very little beyond a tendency toward long instrumental introductions to many of the movements. The Pygmalion choir delivers a superior example of the warm, sensuous French approach to Bach; the instrumentalists achieve perfect ensemble with their Baroque bows and strings. Best of all are the soloists, heard in the inner sections of the subdivided Gloria. All have distinctive voices perfectly proportioned to the size of the music, and that of alto Magid El-Bushra is worth sampling just for its unusual, almost boy-soprano grain (hear the Domine fili movement of the Missa Brevis in G minor, BWV 235, track 5). The sound reveals very small details of the playing and conveys real presence of the musicians without placing the listener unnaturally close. The only complaint is that the program is rather short; the two masses could have been bookended with short pieces instead of just introduced with another unusual Bach reworking, this one of a motet by Kuhnau. In all, a recording of choice for some of Bach's lesser known choral music. © TiVo
Ab
HI-RES17,99 Fr.
CD11,99 Fr.

Messen, Passionen, Requiems - Erschienen am 20. September 2010 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Auszeichnungen Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
This is one of a pair of albums devoted to Bach's Missa Brevis settings by French ensemble Pygmalion. Both are strongly recommended. These settings, with Kyrie and Gloria only, were repurposed by Bach from various earlier works, mostly cantatas; they're not among his unquestioned monuments, but they do bespeak his genius. The presentation here by France's Alpha label is compelling. The label packages works from the 16th to the 19th centuries inside high-quality reproductions of paintings that related to the given music in some way, explained by an art-historical essay. Here the painting is The Sermon of Saint John the Baptist by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, of 1566; it is not chronologically matched to Bach, but the correspondences are nevertheless fascinating. Both drew religious scenes out of the cultural materials of ordinary folk. And both were, in the words of essayist Denis Grenier, "ecumentical": Bach was a Protestant who was at the very least influenced by styles of Catholic regions and wrote Latin masses, while Brueghel lived in the Catholic-controlled Habsburg Netherlands but depicted religious events in the down-to-earth way that would emerge under Protestant belief systems. The appeal of the music lies partly in the ways Bach adapts Protestant cantatas for the Catholic mass. The Gloria in excelsis movement of the Missa Brevis in G major, BWV 236, is based on the opening chorus of the Cantata No. 79, "Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild" (God the Lord is Sun and Shield), BWV 79: not a total stretch, but also not precisely the same thought, and Bach reworks the music rather than simply resetting it. Similar processes occur in several other movements, and they're fascinating for those well acquainted with Bach's choral music. The general listener may prefer to simply luxuriate in Pygmalion's coolly elegant sound, in the singing of a consistently strong group of soloists headed by soprano Eugénie Warnier, and in the superb Kyries of both masses, each embodying Bach's contrapuntal perfection on a modest scale. The program is rounded out by a short work sometimes known as a cantata but designated by Bach himself as a motet: O Jesu Christ, meins lebens Licht, BWV 118, a funeral work with two parts written for instruments designed by Bach with the name lituus. The booklet goes into a good detail about efforts to decide just what these were supposed to be; the players make the unadventuresome choice of a pair of oboes, but the musical execution is gorgeous. An exceptional Bach release. © TiVo
Ab
CD16,49 Fr.

Messen, Passionen, Requiems - Erschienen am 21. Oktober 2013 | Alpha

Booklet