Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Style and grace; warmth and humanity

Gloria in Excelsis Deo, Celebrating the completion of the recording of Bach's sacred cantatas.

In 2013 Masaaki Suzuki and his Bach Collegium Japan finished a massive 18-year project: the recording of all of J.S. Bach's sacred cantatas. All 55 SACDs are now available in a special box-set from BIS.

To mark the end of the project this film was made at the Shoin Chapel in Kobe, where all of the recordings had been made over a period of 18 years. It includes performances of three complete cantatas, BWV 30, 69 and 191, interspersed with interviews with the musicians and various interested parties. The very fine HD video and superb surround sound give you a vivid picture of how this awesome music went from Bach's mind to Maestro Suzuki's, and then to Super-Audio Compact Discs. More than just musical skills are on display here. You see the style and grace of the vocal soloists as they move from soloist roles back into the superbly integrated choral sound. The three virtuoso trumpeters, holding their instruments with one hand with their other hand on their waists, swaying to the music with the proud look of Samurai warriors. Perhaps most importantly you see the warmth and humanity of the great leader, Masaaki Suzuki, whose faith is as important as his scholarship and musicianship.

Here is an excerpt, the Dona Nobis Pacem from the B minor Mass, a coda which ends the disc.

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