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Bach: The Complete Cantatas Box set


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Audio CD, Box set, August 30, 2011
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Product Details

  • Performer: Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
  • Conductor: Helmuth Rilling
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (August 30, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 72
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Haenssler Classics
  • ASIN: B004K583KA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,802 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

hänssler CLASSIC is proud to present Helmuth Rilling's landmark
recording of the complete Bach Cantatas in a new, specially-price
collector's edition. Rilling was the first conductor to ever record the
complete Bach cantatas and still, 25 years after they were first
released in celebration of the Bach tercentennial in 1985, they
remain the standard by which all other interpretations are judged.
Timeless performances featuring many of Europe's finest singers at
the height of their careers!
An attractive new display box with complete documentation and
interactive CD ROM containing complete booklet notes and texts is
included!

Customer Reviews

For Bach lovers this collection is a must!
Jorge Martinez Glez
As I said in my 2006 review, sure you could buy individual performances that rate higher, but still this is an excellent set.
Austin Reader
The technical quality of sound and playing seemed very good to me.
lucas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Kirk McElhearn VINE VOICE on October 16, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Rilling was not the first to record all the cantatas; Leonhardt and Harnoncourt were, and their set is available relatively cheaply these days, but it features all male singers, meaning that the arias for soprano, sung by boys, vary in quality.

Rilling's set is the antithesis of the HIP approach that L&H took. His is a lush orchestral sound, with a very strong choir. His soloists are often excellent, but two things make this one of the last sets I turn to. (I have 6 complete Cantata sets.) First, Rilling's tempi can be a bit turgid at times; there's is often too much solemnity and not enough joy. Second, the recording process is weird; there is often a soloist on one channel, an obligato instrument (such as a violin or oboe) on the other channel, and the main orchestra in the center. This is especially annoying on headphones.

Gardiner's "Bach cantata pilgrimage" set is far superior in so many ways: more energy, more subtlety, better soloists. Suzuki's soon-to-be-finished-in-a-few-years set on Bis is excellent as well, but sometimes too clean. But I'd take either of them over Rilling any day. At this price, if you're a fan of the cantatas, it's a must-have set, but I wouldn't want this to be the only set one has; Rilling's approach is too limited for such astounding music.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Johannes Climacus on February 17, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Bach Cantatas unquestionably constitute the greatest single achievement by a single composer within a single genre in the history of Western music (though Haydn's cycle of Quartets runs it a close second in my estimation). If you love classical music, sacred music, and Bach, you must not deprive yourself of the incredible privilege of getting to know this massive achievement. Perhaps even more mind-boggling than the proportion of quality to quantity in this vast output is the realization that there are probably at least a hundred more Cantatas that have not come down to us! If there is a heaven--and it's hard to remain agnostic after a close encounter with these works--then I can only hope that it will be the privilege of blessed Bachians to hear these unknown Cantatas (and anything else the great master might have cobbled together on the slopes of Eternity).

Returning to the present age for the moment, one notes with some dismay that the consolations of great music do not come without a cost--yes, the cost of intellectual effort, but also financial outlay. And it is on this point that Hänssler-Verlag's reissue of Rilling's Cantata Cycle maintains a distinct advantage, whatever it musical merits or vices. With the Secular Cantatas included, along with exhaustive scholarly notes, texts and translations downloadable (and printable) from the CD-Rom included, this is a bargain that no collector can or should resist at the current asking price. Even if you own other other Bach Cantata recordings in abundance, don't pass this up.

The reason is simply that this is the ONLY complete Bach Cantata cycle performed with modern instruments, ample mixed choirs (not a countertenor among them!
Read more ›
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Teemacs on September 16, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Grab this before the sellers change their minds about the price...

Helmuth Rilling was the first person ever to record all the cantatas. He actually didn't set out with this in mind, but it sort of worked out that way. The whole thing took over 20 years to do, and the later performances were more informed by the growing knowledge of and interest in period performance. Nevertheless, these are played on modern instruments with a choir with female singers and using female soloists (including Arleen Auger, who sang in many of them). This, of course, will not appeal to folk who like "authentic" performance, but the fact of the matter is that we can never have truly authentic performance, and it's a delusion to think otherwise. In any case, I have always thought that Bach is music for eternity, to be played in the spirit in which it is written, and not confined to a musical straitjacket.

Rilling was a great Bachian, and this set is outstandingly musical, an absolute joy. I personally regard some of these cantatas to be the best versions available anywhere - ones that come to mind are BWV129, BWV90 and BWV148. The others are also all splendid. They are different from my other sets (complete Gardiner and Leusink, and various Koopman, Suzuki, Werner and Harnoncourt), but every bit as enjoyable. And at this price they're a bargain. If I didn't already have them all, I'd snap this up. Go snapping.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By mjhobbes on September 27, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a marvellous boxed set. It's marvellous on two accounts. Firstly, by listening to a such a collection you realise Bach's enormous achievement: one is continually surprised and delighted by unique strokes of genius - the fecundity of Bach's imagination and invention is truly staggering. Secondly, there is Rilling's achievement in producing an integral collection of such consistency. Naturally, with its production over a span of many years, some evolution in style is evident, most notably in the solo singing, but this does not detract from the quality. Rilling's interpretations are sympathetic and are always sensitive to the words, so important in the Bach cantatas. There are many brilliant performances of the obligato instrumental parts and in the continuo. Last but not least, the chorus sound is consistently good: various choruses have been used, but in none of them have I detected that unpleasant squeezed-up, dry-as-dust singing that that seems to be strangely fashionable; at the same time, Rilling's choral forces are fully able to tackle fleet or coloratura passages at least on a par with the best.

This is an Amazon bargain not to be missed and could seriously enrich your musical life!
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Is The Hillmuth Rilling Complete Bach Cantata Box Worth Buying? (It's a...
glorious solo singing, warmth of expression,emotionally moving. definitely worth acquiring
Nov 6, 2011 by Roy Karlen |  See all 2 posts
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