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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Out of 60 CDs, 59 are in mint condition without any scratches. CD 4 of volume 6 has some scratches. Tested, played through without any problem. All 10 booklets for 10 volumes are in excellent condition. Each individual cardboard box are in excellent condition, but color faded on the side panels. The aditional thick booklet for the whole set is in mint condition. The outer big cardboard box is in over all very good condition without much shelf wear. However, some discoloring, and color fading throughout. CDs made in Germany from 1994.
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Bach: Sacred Cantatas Box set

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Audio CD, Box set, December 20, 1994
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$521.89 $190.00

Product Details

  • Performer: Lieuwe Visser, Hanns-Friedrich Kunz, Max van Egmond, Harry van der Kamp, Robert Holl
  • Orchestra: Concentus Musicus Wien, Leonhardt Consort
  • Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gustav Leonhardt
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (December 20, 1994)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 60
  • 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: Teldec
  • ASIN: B000000SKY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,289 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

There are certain musical monuments to Western civilization that no music lover should be without, at least in part. These include Haydn's symphonies and string quartets, Mozart's piano concertos, Handel's oratorios, Beethoven's string quartets and piano sonatas, Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas, and this, perhaps the biggest monument of all, the Bach sacred cantatas. About 200 of them survive and at least 100 are lost. All of them consist of a series of arias, choruses, and hymns based on sacred texts. Bach had to compose a new one every week for several years, and what makes the music so amazing is not only its quantity, but its sheer quality. There is literally no such thing as "bad" Bach, and this series of performances not only stands as one of the great achievements in the history of recording, it introduced many listeners to the fascinating sound of "authentic instruments." Is this set too much of a good thing? Nah! --David Hurwitz

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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For a long time I was in doubt I should buy this set of CDs.
Manfred Mornhinweg
Gustav Leonhardt was well aware (and hopeful) that subsequent generations would likely improve upon aspects of performance which still remained to be sorted out.
Peter G. Watchorn
A good boy soprano's voice is clear and pure, without the extreme tremolo found in "trained women sopranos."
Kindle Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Manfred Mornhinweg on December 19, 1999
For a long time I was in doubt I should buy this set of CDs. After all, you don't spend hundreds of dollars, for 60 CDs, just out of a moment's thought! But let me tell you: These CDs are worth every cent!
This recording features all known sacred cantatas by Bach (about 200) in the best possible approximation to how they were performed in Bach's time: Baroque instruments, boy/men choirs, and almost all soprano solos are sung by boys, while alto solos are sometimes sung by boys, sometimes by countertenors.
The recordings were made over a number of years. The earlier ones feature mostly the Vienna Boy's Choir, while the later ones mostly are done by the Tölzer Knabenchor and the Knabenchor Hannover. A good number of soloists appear (too many to list here), and they are all at least very good, some are stunningly good! You have to hear the treble Peter Jelosits or the boy alto Panito Iconomou! Or Sebastian Hennig, or Helmut Wittek, and so many more... Listening to these CDs is untroubled enjoyment!
In my collection there are about 20 other recordings of Bach cantatas. Comparing them to the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt set, in only ONE case did another recording win: a tenor cantata sung by Peter Schreier. In ALL OTHER cases the recording reviewed here was superior!
I thought that it would be monotonous to listen to 200 Bach cantatas... Wrong! The genius of Bach, combined with this incredible performance, made me devour the 60 CDs at a stretch, over a full week, without loosing attention!
This is first-class music, by one of the best composers of all time, marvelously performed and perfectly recorded. Buy it. Don't wait as long as I did!
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Peter G. Watchorn on April 13, 2003
Had this set not been made, then the history of performance practice in the last quarter of the 20th century and beyond would have proceeded very differently. Had this set not been made we would not have many of the current leading figures in the field of early music performance, nearly all of whom were in some way connected with the performance revolution which found its most profound expression in these recordings. For it was during the 14 or so years of this recording project (between 1971 and 1985) that three of the greatest musicians of our time, Gustav Leonhardt, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Frans Bruggen forever altered the public's perception of the surviving remnants of Bach's fabled, but rarely heard, "Jahrgaenge", or yearly cycles of church cantatas. For this reason alone, this recording is of profound importance.
Leonhardt, with his consort in Amsterdam, and Harnoncourt, with his Concentus Musicus of Vienna shared the task of recording, with an unmatched team of vocal and instrumental soloists, Bach's roughly 200 surviving "concerti sacri", perhaps a further hundred being lost to us. It was a repertoire more honoured in the history books than experienced in performance. This enterprise changed that state of affairs for ever.
The arguments which are now sometimes made (chiefly by those who are unaware of the extraordinary and revolutionary step which these performances represented), decrying the slightly "raw" (I prefer "vocal") sound of original instruments, or the occasional shakiness of a boy soprano soloist, miss the point of this enterprise, which was to present the music in a new way using Bach's own contemporary resources.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By N. Chevalier on April 11, 2001
This set of almost 200 cantatas is, without a doubt, a milestone in recording history, and that alone makes it valuable. There are now at least two other competing sets on the market (Helmuth Rilling's complete set--on modern instruments, alas!--and Ton Koopman's period performance set still in the works), but this one, warts and all, still captivates and draws the listener into the world of Bach's cantatas like no other.
I would argue that no one can really claim to know Bach without knowing both his organ works and his cantatas. After all, this is the music that occupied him for most of his professional life. Most of these cantatas were written as part of his duties at Leipzig, and while in the hands of any lesser composer that might have meant uninspired music cranked out week by week out of necessity, Bach rarely, if ever, had an off day. Each cantata is a little world unto itself, a place you can retreat to for 20 minutes and either reflect on their spiritual message (which, be warned, is sometimes grim indeed), or just lose yourself in the beauty and grace of the melodic lines.
Harnoncourt and Leonhardt choose to keep these performances intimate; this is not the Bach of the concert hall; these are direct, personal expressions that work well in the private space of one's living room. Some of the playing sounds a bit shaky by today's standards--apparently some of the soloists were still discovering how to play period instruments that had not been heard in centuries--and the boy soloists seem to strain at their parts sometimes, especially in the earlier recordings, but that only adds to the charm: I much prefer the uncertain readings to letter-perfect performances offered by others.
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