…In short: the so-called "English Bach" is portrayed here in a very fascinating way; you only really regrets having so few comparisons to the reading of historical conductors.
…I was not expecting this music to be especially interesting. Instead I have found delight and surprise, not so much at the playing - I always knew that the Freiburg would offer a big commitment to the music - but at JCF’s material which certainly catches and holds the attention. His ideas are lively and clearly sprung from a fresh and fecund musical imagination. This disc will add considerably to your musical knowledge and enjoyment.
…In short: an all around enjoyable and highly recommended CD!
…For fans of C.P.E Bach, this disc will be fascinating. For fans of late Baroque and early Classical music who don't already know C.P.E.'s music, it will be revelatory.
The second section of the cantata is a long vocal section opening with four soloists (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) singing together. Many recordings of this cantata use a choir for this section, but recent recordings have featured a one-voice-per-part strategy here, as does this one. The texture of this is excellent, although the balance between the voices wavers a bit. The tenor, bass and soprano each have ariosos within this section. Tenor Knut Schock enters a bit heavily, but his voice is quite appropriate for the melancholy tone of his section. Bass Bas Ramselarr has a slightly dark, yet clear voice. His section features a delightful accompaniment by the two recorders - in an interesting counterpoint with such a deep voice - and, again, the balance is slightly off, his voice sometimes drowning out the recorders just a bit…
Without doubt, the selecction of ones favourite recording within the vast sellection of interpretations of Bach's Mass in B-Minor is a difficult task. I have sung this mass and heard more than ten different recordings of this "miracle of mighty mountain range in the planet of music". For me, Hengelbrocks recording is by far the best one: first of all, Hengelbrocks interpretation is very inspired, with convincing and sometimes innovative tempi, as for instance in the opening Kyrie which, for the first time, I could sense as a funeral march; second, the chorus is brillant, for me even better than the international "stars" as for example the Monteverdi Choir; third, the Soloists wich are members of the choir, integrate perfectly in the whole picture of this master piece; fourth, the balance engineers have done an exceptional work which allows you to hear every detail of the orchestra, soloists and choirs in perfect balance.
The Mass in B Minor, Bach’s last completed vocal work as well as the climax of his creativity, reveals the overwhelming wealth of his compositional skills. In the history of music it ranks highly, as the “Montblanc of church music” (Franz Liszt) – composed during Bach’s time as cantor at the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. Performed in this important composer’s domain, the Mass in B Minor casted a spell over its listeners as the crowning glory of the Leipzig Bach Festival in 2013: Under the direction of Bach’s successor Georg Christoph Biller, the St. Thomas Boys Choir and an outstanding soloist quintet perform with the prestigious Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, playing on authentic period instruments.