As the mysterious opening bars of the Kyrie gradually emerge into the light, we know that this recording of Mozart’s glorious Great Mass in C minor is a special one: the tempi perfect, the unfolding drama of the choral writing so carefully judged, and, above it all, the crystalline beauty of soloist Carolyn Sampson’s soprano, floating like a ministering angel. Masaaki Suzuki’s meticulous attention to detail, so rewarding in his remarkable Bach recordings, shines throughout this disc, the playing alert, the choir responsive, the soloists thrilling. And there is the bonus of an exhilarating Exsultate, Jubilate with Sampson on top form.
Masaaki Suzuki was an organist before he was a conductor, and his recordings of Bach's organ works have made a delightful coda to his magisterial survey of Bach cantatas with his Bach Collegium Japan. This selection, the second in a series appearing on the BIS label, gives a good idea of the gems available. You get a good mix of pieces, including a pair of Bach's Vivaldi transcriptions. Fans of Suzuki's cantata series will be pleased to note the similarities in his style between his conducting and his organ playing: there's a certain precise yet deliberate and lush quality common to both. And he has a real co-star here: the organ of the Kobe Shoin Women's University Chapel, built in 1983 by French maker Marc Garnier. The realizations of Bach's transcriptions of Vivaldi concertos fare especially well here, with a panoply of subtle colors in the organ. Sample the first movement of the Concerto in D minor, BWV 596, with its mellow yet transcendently mysterious tones in the string ripieni. BIS backs Suzuki up with marvelously clear engineering in the small Japanese chapel, and all in all, this is a Bach organ recording that stands out from the crowd. Highly recommended.
Bach's motets are surrounded by much uncertainty. To begin with, we do not know how many he actually composed, as some have been lost while others have been wrongly attributed to him. Although several of the motets were written for funerals, it is also uncertain if they were actually performed during church services: as a genre, the motet was established as early as the 13th century and by Bach's time it was considered to be old-fashioned and backward-looking. Even so, the motets are the only vocal works by Bach that have an unbroken performance tradition until the present time, which may serve as testimony to the powerful response that they induce in listeners and performers alike. They were originally believed to have been composed for choir a cappella, but it is now thought that Bach himself may have performed them either a cappella or with instruments doubling the vocal parts and with basso continuo.
These CDs serve their purpose well offering complete movements or sections of recordings available on Pentatone. The only listing of contents is on the back jewel-box cover; the booklet(s) are actually catalogs of what is available in the format. Each CD is given a full page in the booklet with complete track listings and performer informtion. I'm surprised each of the CD booklets doesn't list all of the multi-channel recordings (both new and RQR) on the label. One features excerpts from new multi-channel recordings; the most impressive sonically are those by the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, New Dutch Academy, Russian National Orchestra and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra Dvorak/Tchaikovsky coupling. All of these are 5 channel recordings (left/right, front and rear, and center front).
Sampler with works by Mozart, Carter, Vivaldi, Schoenberg, Haydn, Ives plus many more great artists and recordings. 19 tracks from the remarkable 2L catalog, and each varies greatly in character and sound design. Each tracks’ only common element is that its sound seems absolutely perfect for the music it conveys.
Two of the albums presented in this compilation is nominated for the GRAMMY Award 'Best Surround Sound Album'. Discover what the unique Nordic Sound is all about!