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Bach: Morimur


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Audio CD, September 25, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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In 1994, explains the booklet that accompanies Morimur, Professor Helga Thoene made the surprising discovery that the monumental "Ciaccona" from Bach's Partita in D minor for solo violin was built around various chorale themes hidden in the music. From the texts of these "secret" chorales and other symbolic musical devices, she deduced that the "Ciaccona" was an epitaph for Bach's wife, Maria Barbara. The revelation might have remained an intriguing (and touching) footnote to Bach scholarship if baroque violinist Christoph Poppen hadn't had the bright idea of taking Professor Thoene's discovery off the library shelves and placing it triumphantly in the concert hall. On this disc, his performance of all five movements of the whole Partita (BWV 1004) is interspersed with the various chorales hidden inside the "Ciaccona," sung with breathtaking precision by the Hilliard Ensemble. The double whammy comes at the end when the "Ciaccona" is performed again, this time with the singers bringing out the secret melodies. Poppen's playing is excellent, both sweet-toned and vibrant, while the Hilliards have never sounded better: the combination of the two is spine-tingling. It is as if Maria Barbara's proper epitaph has finally been realized, and a moving and wonderfully stimulating recording created in the process. --Warwick Thompson

1. Auf meinen lieben Gott
2. Den Tod...
3. Allemanda
4. Christ lag in Tobesbanden
5. Corrente
6. Den Tod niemand zwingen kunnt
7. Sarabanda
8. Wo soll ich fliehen hin
9. Den Tod...
10. Ciaccona
11. Christ lag in Tobesbanden
12. Dein Will gescheh'
13. Befiehl Du Deine Wege
14. Jesu meine Freude
15. Auf meinen lieben Gott
16. Jesu Deine Passion
17. In meines Herzens Grunde
18. Nun lob', mein Seel', den Herren
19. Den Tod...
20. Ciaccona fur Violine solo und vier Stimmen nach einer Analyse von Helga Thoene
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Performer: Hilliard Ensemble, Christoph Poppen
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (September 25, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM New Series
  • ASIN: B00005ND3J
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,826 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble’s inspired collaboration began in 1993 with the groundbreaking recording Officium and has resulted in consistently inventive music making ever since. At that first meeting Garbarek’s saxophone, soaring as a free-ranging ‘fifth voice’ with the a cappella Ensemble, gave the first indications of the musical scope and emotional power ... Read more in Amazon's Hilliard Ensemble Store

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Customer Reviews

It is clear that the thesis is more than adequately supported by the results.
"zimri-lim"
The Hilliard Ensemble does a remarkable job playing all the music then putting it all together to show how Bach connected all the music.
Sedulous
The result is one of great spirituality and profound subtleties and of the most enjoyable revelations of the music of Bach yet.
Enrique Sanchez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Fisher on October 23, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This album attempts (and largely succeeds, in my opinion) to make clear to the listener what musicologists are exploring theoretically: that J.S. Bach used concepts of numerology to write a subtext within his Six Sonatas and Partitas for Violin.
The Six Sonatas and Partitas have long been a favorite of mine. Vocalists hold the vocal line of several familiar Chorales against the solo violin part, and demonstrate that Bach used the Chorales as an unheard cantus firmus for the solo violin part.
I enjoy this recording not only for the musicological exercise but because the end result is richly satisfying simply to the casual listener. It brings a whole new dimension to the Partita.
Often music theorists expound ideas which are visible only on the printed page, not audible to listeners, or at least not audible to other than highly specialized listeners. In this album, for once we get a chance to actually hear the results.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By kelsie VINE VOICE on September 12, 2004
Format: Audio CD
"Morimur," as you can read (ad nauseum) on the rest of the page, is the product of an astonishing amount of Bach scholarship on the part of Professor Helga Thoene, a noted Bach scholar. It is important to note two things: 1) Thoene's research applies ONLY to the Partita II D Minor, not to the Six Solos from which it comes as a whole, and 2) The CD contains ONLY the Partita and associated chorales, NOT any of the other Six Solos. Morimur is a truly intriguing experience, quite unlike anything else in all of Bach's music. Thoene has reconstructed a number of "chorale fragments" within the monumental "Ciaccona" movement of the Partita, making the claim that the presence of these fragments in the music validates the belief that the Ciaccona was originally meant as a musical epitaph for Bach's first wife, Maria Barbara, who died suddenly and was buried while Bach was away. Thoene provides a number of musical examples from the score to the Ciaccona that demonstrate her theory in action, and these examples are critical for a layperson (such as myself) to come to an understanding of her theory (which can only be proven by studying the WRITTEN music, not listening to the Ciaccona itself). The disc contains the entire D Minor Partita, played wonderfully by Baroque violinist Christoph Poppen, as well as the associated chorales whose fragments appear in the Ciaccona, sung by the Hilliard Ensemble. The disc concludes with a magical second performance of the Ciaccona by Poppen (a completely different performance, not just a simple copy of his earlier, unaccompanied performance on the disc). As he plays this most difficult and monumental of string works, the Hilliards sing the chorale fragments atop his melody, putting Helga Thoene's research into practical use.Read more ›
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 2002
Format: Audio CD
this is about as good as it gets and those who have criticized the violin playing ("shallow tone" etc.) probably just don't happen to like the sound of the baroque violin and the style in which it invites one to play it. the instruments played by your veghs, menuhins, heifetzes etc. have without exception been extensively tampered with since they left their makers' workbenches in order to produce the bigger but blander sound more suited to more recent music and preferred by many modern ears. a modern g, and i think, d string notwithstanding (see telltale photo), poppen is playing an instrument that more closely resembles what bach and near contemporaries such as antonio stradivari and guarneri del gesu would have recognised as a violin. a correspondingly "modern" approach to the singing would probably have disfigured bach's harmonies (exquisitely tuned by the hilliards) with pitch-altering vibrato - ugh!
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By nathaniel cabot on January 10, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The Austrian Monastary where this recording was made must have inspired the artists to achieve the results that are evident on this album. Pitch perfect four part vocals combine with Baroque violin to transport the listener to a spiritual place Bach surely intended. And I am not even particularly religious. Let it suffice to say, for anyone with a modicum of appreciation for harmony and melody, this music will provide much enjoyment.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Ingalls on December 4, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Being a classical novice (but I'm getting there), I have to say that the concept behind this recording is a bit over my head, but it sounds simply amazing. Combine a Bach violin partita with the "hidden" choral melodies that theoretically lie beneath it, and you have one of my favorite albums of 2001 (even though I didn't hear it until the following year).
Christopher Poppen's violin playing is indeed exquisite, but it isn't just the playing that moves me. The sound quality is unique and haunting -- it reverberates as if it were played in a large abandoned cathedral. It doesn't sound at all like a studio recording, giving it an eerie, "old world" authenticity. That may be an odd description, but it's the best I can come up with.
And the Hilliard Ensemble...wow. Once again, they sound flawless. The combination of their voices and Poppen's violin playing make for a winning combination. I love this disc!
Last but not least, praise must go out to ECM Records. Time after time they come out with beautifully packaged and beautiful sounding releases. They are one of the finest independent labels ever and are a significant factor in my somewhat recent increase in classical music purchases.
A lot of wonderful things have been written about "Morimur" and there's a reason for it. It's outstanding.
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