- Mass in B minor, for 5 voices, 6-part chorus, violin, orchestra & continuo, BWV 232 (BC E1)
The Cologne Chamber Orchestra, according to the liner notes of this album, plays "according to the principles of historical performance-practice on modern instruments and so can meet the needs of modern concert halls." This is nonsense, sloppily expressed (do concert halls have needs? desires maybe?). Performances by historical-instrument groups in modern halls are commonplace. Editorial malfeasance aside, however, this is a strong B minor mass in an unusual territory lying between symphony orchestra treatments and those by Baroque-instrument bands. "Principles of historical performance-practice" applied to modern instruments seem primarily to mean the use of a small string group that allows the wind parts to be heard and Bach's intricate polyphonic writing to emerge in its full glory. And so it does, both in the big trumpet-driven choruses that are the glory of the B minor mass and in the glittering solo and duet arias. The sound is not big, but it is dense and full in a way that suits Bach's choral music satisfyingly. Conductor Helmut Müller-Brühl, he of the multiple umlauts that have tested the mettle of many a classical disc jockey, leads an ensemble situated squarely in the center of the German Bach tradition when it comes to overall style; the Dresden Chamber Choir has a vigorous but perfectly blended sound. At the budget price, this may be a good, basic "Mass in B minor" for those new to Bach's music; it is one of the cornerstones of his output, containing some of his most intricate contrapuntal creations but maintaining a tone that is by turns monumental and joyful. But sometimes Naxos carries the whole budget thing a little too far. Would it really have added to the cost of the album to tell us which soprano was singing on which solo? This disc is available in an SACD release, likely worth the extra money.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I test this piece by the ex expecto. While I would love to own the Suzuki which towers above all the rest, I can't play SACD The Muller Bruhl is damn good. On a little best lower plane of heaven, it rocks with the same jazzy joy. Don't let the snob who are destroying any chance for the young to feel the ecstasy of of this ladder to heaven, even if you'r not sure whether they'e sure they can believe. this work is the greatest of all time and don't let the pharisees, known as scholars and critics, bog you down in their dissections of early instruments and modern. This performance swings. That's why I'm buying it. I couldn't care what the so-called experts write only to snuff out what we all can appreciate because the proof is in the pudding .