Bach and Christmas

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Belle
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Bach and Christmas

Post by Belle » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:57 pm

It's that time of the year approaching and thoughts are never far from the great master. I'll be listening over some days to the great oratorios and the B Minor Mass. And I'll never stop giving thanks for this composer; what did we human beings do to deserve it all?

John F
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Re: Bach and Christmas

Post by John F » Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:16 am

Every year at Christmas, Sviatoslav Richter invited friends to his apartment to listen to Bach's Christmas Oratorio in the DG/Archiv recording by Karl Richter, which he praises highly in his notes. Me too - an unequaled group of soloists, a big chorus, and well judged tempos. It contains some of Bach's most enjoyable music, no doubt partly because of the occasion and partly because the choruses and other numbers were originally composed for secular rather than sacred cantatas.
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: Bach and Christmas

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:27 pm

John F wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:16 am
Every year at Christmas, Sviatoslav Richter invited friends to his apartment to listen to Bach's Christmas Oratorio in the DG/Archiv recording by Karl Richter, which he praises highly in his notes. Me too - an unequaled group of soloists, a big chorus, and well judged tempos. It contains some of Bach's most enjoyable music, no doubt partly because of the occasion and partly because the choruses and other numbers were originally composed for secular rather than sacred cantatas.
That Karl Richter recording is a favorite of mine as well. I've sung this great work twice in Carnegie Hall (the second time from memory just for fun!), and we listen to it every Christmas season. One never tires of great music.

Belle
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Re: Bach and Christmas

Post by Belle » Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:38 pm

Apart from a great love of this music I also feel gratitude; enormous gratitude. We have so much to be grateful for - and you just don't see much of this any more in our cultures. :(

Belle
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Re: Bach and Christmas

Post by Belle » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:59 am

Today, this miracle: the Bach B Minor Mass. Netherlands Bach Society, recorded earlier this year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FLbiDrn8IE

If we really do inhabit a godless universe, Bach gives us a pretty poor account of it!

Lance
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Re: Bach and Christmas

Post by Lance » Tue Nov 26, 2019 12:13 pm

Couldn't concur more on Karl Richter and JS Bach! DGG/Archiv brought out a 10-CD boxed set of the composer's "Sacred Masterpieces" [463 701], which was quite a bargain. It contains the Mass in B Minor, St. Matthew- and St. John Passions and the Christmas Oratorio, all with superlative singers, orchestra/choruses, etc. That was followed up with more JS Bach in a DGG/Archiv 18-CD set called "Revealing Bach" [482 059] giving us the six Brandenburgs, four Suites, organ concertos, keyboard concertos and a host of other compositions. Priceless performances and a wonderful and necessary part of any collection.
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Marc
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Re: Bach and Christmas

Post by Marc » Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:23 pm

This little gem IS Christmas to me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CXsN91oOHg

(desperately searching for a 'heart' emoticon ;))

Belle
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Re: Bach and Christmas

Post by Belle » Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:54 pm

Oh god, it's simply glorious!! What IS it about Bach's music? I've been grappling with a description all my life; transcendent, serene, fragrant (I breathe it in, literally), intoxicating, profound....? And yet I think it some of the least 'accessible' music in the canon, for many people.

And, yes, it IS Christmas. All the rest is noise.

diegobueno
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Re: Bach and Christmas

Post by diegobueno » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:31 am

I love the oboi d'amore and oboi di caccia (in the Sinfonia). Colorful orchestration isn't the first thing you think of with Bach, but his choice of instruments is so specific, you know he put a lot of thought into it. And it often involves instruments no longer in use for which with modern instruments we can only substitute a near equivalent. The full colors emerge when you use the original instruments, as this performance does.
Black lives matter.

Belle
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Re: Bach and Christmas

Post by Belle » Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:12 am

Couldn't agree more!! I remember having arguments with John Francis about HIP. The period instruments provide the translucent textures in baroque music that is sometimes 'muddied' by modern instruments and bigger ensembles. Did you ever read J.E. Gardiner's book on Bach, "Music in the Castle of Heaven"?

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