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Classical - Released January 7, 2013 | Alia Vox

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released May 7, 2012 | Alia Vox

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released March 24, 2014 | Satirino Records

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica

Classical - Released October 23, 2012 | Aeolus

Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio - La Clef du mois RESMUSICA
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Classical - Released March 3, 2014 | Coro

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
For his performances of Bach's so-called Lutheran masses, short mass settings of just Kyrie and Gloria, the version of the choral group the Sixteen delivered by conductor Harry Christophers really ought to be called the Eight. Christophers moves in the direction of the popular one-voice-per-part performance concept for Bach but does not fully embrace it; instead there are two voices per part, with the soloists drawn from the ranks of the choir. It's a reasonable compromise, and it does bring out a considerable amount of instrumental detail. In something like the big opening chorus of the Cantata No. 79, "Gott der Herr ist Sonn' und Schild" (BWV 79), the choir represents a dramatic fall-off in dynamics, but Christophers generally gets a surprisingly full sound out of his choristers. That cantata is included because, as on the first volume of the Sixteen's pair devoted to the Lutheran masses, it was raided by Bach for material. Most of the music in the Lutheran masses is recycled, which may account for their comparative lack of popularity, but to downgrade them is to misunderstand Bach's musical world, and there's considerable interest in the way German-language cantata texts were adapted for this remnant of Catholic ritual. Christophers is not a Bach conductor on the level of Suzuki or John Eliot Gardiner, and there can be a sweetness that grates. But both the overall concept and the execution are solid, and the soloists, with male altos, are generally impressive. Fans of the Sixteen may well wish to check out this new direction in the popular group's career. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 20, 2007 | Challenge Classics

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released January 3, 2008 | Avie Records

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
After recording J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos to near perfection with the English Concert in 1982, it might seem redundant for Trevor Pinnock to try his hand at them again in this 2007 set with the European Brandenburg Ensemble. Allowing for certain variables of interpretation and execution between the two versions, which should be expected at a remove of 25 years, one can still expect Pinnock to turn in elegant period readings that don't diverge too dramatically from his earlier recordings on Archiv. On this exquisite set, released by Avie -- a label that lets its artists take creative risks that many major labels won't -- Pinnock explores the Brandenburgs with considerable freedom and inventiveness, particularly in adjusting the size of his ensemble according to acoustical needs, and in his employment of musicians from several different countries and performing backgrounds. To the trained ear, these concertos have a slightly darker coloration, due to the tuning at A415, and some experts may detect where the high- or low-tone violones are used in substitution for the standard cello or double bass. Yet to most listeners, these performances won't sound experimental or daring, since the changes are wholly appropriate to the Baroque era, when instrumentation and other practices varied in almost every performance. Yet in terms of expression, this set may seem a little richer, warmer, and a bit more relaxed than its predecessor, and the ensemble's presence is almost palpable in the close-up, highly detailed reproduction. Anyone who already owns the earlier recordings may feel this attempt is "gilding the lily," but Pinnock's second traversal of the Brandenburgs is definitely worth hearing, and is highly recommended to others who need a terrific version, by any standard. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 27, 2007 | Challenge Classics

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released February 26, 2007 | Challenge Classics

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released September 10, 2014 | Passacaille

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released April 1, 2016 | Avie Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Rachel Barton Pine has often performed the Sonatas and Partitas of Johann Sebastian Bach in recital, but her 2016 release on Avie is her first studio recording of this essential masterwork for violinists. Using a Baroque bow on a modernized 1742 Guarneri de Gesù violin, Pine plays the Sonatas and Partitas with crisp accentuation, transparent voicing, and a warm tone, much as she does in her concert performances. Her interpretation, which is influenced by period practices but not limited by them, offers clear counterpoint in the sonatas and buoyant dance rhythms in the partitas, and there is little scratchiness in her stopped chords to disrupt the smoothness and transparency of her elegant lines. Pine's depth of feeling and expressive insights into the music keep it from seeming like dry, technical exercises, yet there is none of the overly rhetorical Romantic approach here, either, so this reading does justice to Bach's likely intentions while communicating emotion in a subtle and tasteful manner. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released July 15, 2012 | Claves Records

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released October 7, 2011 | EPR-Classic

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released August 25, 2015 | Passacaille

Booklet Distinctions 3F de Télérama
« Her performance has commitment, clarity and a Leonhardt-like care over note placement. » (Lindsay Kemp, Gramophone Magazine, april 2016)  
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Claves Records

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released March 7, 2007 | Challenge Classics

With this set of 12 cantatas, a few of them quite short, Dutch historical-instrument conductor Ton Koopman approaches the end of his monumental traversal of the complete Bach cantata corpus. The cantatas here mostly date from the last two decades of Bach's life. By this time Bach had cantatas from earlier cycles ready for most occasions pertaining to the liturgical year. Several of the works here were written for special occasions -- weddings in at least two cases. The orchestration for the most part is large and varied, with several pieces including trumpets and tympani; the Cantata No. 195, "Dem Gerechten muß das Licht," BWV 195, features a dazzling array of strings, oboe, oboe d'amore, transverse flutes, horns, trumpets, bassoon, timpani, and continuo. The result is that these pieces play to the strengths of Koopman's interpretations: the warm, flawless blend of the Amsterdam Baroque Choir and the sharp differentiation of the instruments within what remains a big, festive sound overall. The famous cantata in this group is the Cantata No. 140, "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme," BWV 140, with its "Sleepers Awake" chorale and its lovely variations on a pastoral theme. Sample the opening chorus (CD 2, track 1) for an idea of what you can expect in the various large choruses in the lesser-known cantatas in the set: each has its nice textural touches, and not a one gets lost in Koopman's expert interpretation. Hear the "Welt, ade, ich bin dein müde" (World, goodbye, I am tired of you) movement of the Cantata No. 158, "Der Friede sei mit dir," BWV 158, for an example of Koopman at his best: this odd combination of a bass aria with mantra-like interjections of the chorale from the choir's sopranos would throw a lesser conductor. The soloists in this set are also unusually effective. Soprano Sandrine Piau's voice is unhampered by the high pitch Koopman employs, and her soaring lyricism makes an effective foil for the unusual, rather English horn-like timbre of the alto of Bogna Bartosz. There is something a bit cool in Koopman's readings; for deep humanistic insights into Bach's music, the evolving cantata set by John Eliot Gardiner may be preferable. But in the public, festive music heard here, this lion of the historical-performance movement is hard to beat. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 20, 2007 | Challenge Classics

Ton Koopman has recorded Bach's St. Matthew Passion twice, and in many ways, he seems to have changed his mind about the work. His 1992 recording for Erato was, for an original instrument/historically informed performance, large in scale, broad in scope, dramatic in execution, and heavy in sound. This, his 2005 recording for Antonie Marchand, is likewise an original instrument/historically informed performance, but it is more intimate in scale, more concentrated in scope, and lighter in sound. But, even with these changes, Koopman's second Matthew Passion is not only still dramatic in execution, it is far more dramatic in execution, and thus in its way even more compelling. Musically, both performances are superb. Both times, Koopman uses his Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, a strong and supple instrument completely responsive to his direction, but the later recording's smaller-sized ensemble makes the music sound just as colorful but clearer and more light-filled. Except for bass Klaus Mertens, Koopman uses entirely different but equally effective soloists for each recording, but with slightly quicker tempos and more pointed recitatives, the later soloists are much more dramatically effective. Koopman's interpretation has not fundamentally changed -- clearly, he still views the work as the most sublime and transcendent sacred musical work in the history of humanity, a view both performances are highly persuasive in arguing -- but he here seems to view the work as all that plus a compelling drama. For listeners who grew up with the Karajan or Solti recordings of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, the idea of an original instrument/ istorically informed performance being described as large, broad, or heavy may seem unlikely, and they are advised to seek out Koopman's 1992 recording for evidence to the contrary. But for listeners who already accept original instrument/historically informed performances and who are looking for a recording that emphasizes the work's dramatic qualities, the 2005 Koopman is the one to hear. © TiVo
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Classical - Released December 2, 2014 | Aglae Música

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Classical - Released February 27, 2007 | Challenge Classics

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Classical - Released March 7, 2007 | Challenge Classics

Just when you think that Ton Koopman's magnificent cycle of the complete cantatas of Bach can't get any better, on the last disc of the last volume, it does with a reconstruction of Bach's fragmentary Cantata 193 Ihr Tore zu Zion by Koopman himself. After 19 volumes of three discs apiece, Koopman has proved himself to be perhaps the current reigning champion of what may be the greatest single body of musical religious works after Palestrina's masses. His unending insights, his unfailing enthusiasm, and his unstinting energy, Koopman and his forces have expressed a great deal of the spirituality and all of the humanity in Bach's cantatas. And by re-composing Ihr Tore zu Zion, a work for which only a set of parts without continuo existed, Koopman and enriched the greatest single body of musical religious works after Palestrina's masses with the addition of a nearly religious work celebrating the inauguration of a new town council. Anyone who loves Bach's music will sooner or later have to confront the master's cantatas. When your time comes, try Koopman. Antonie Marchand's sound is clear, deep, and real. © TiVo