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J. S. Bach: Easter Oratorio/Magnificat (Ton Koopman)

Johann Sebastian Bach , Ton Koopman , Lisa Larsson , Elisabeth von Magnus , Klaus Mertens , Gerd Türk , Bogna Bartosz , Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Ton Koopman, Lisa Larsson, Elisabeth von Magnus, Klaus Mertens, et al.
  • Audio CD (March 16, 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Erato
  • ASIN: B00000I8TC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,919 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Easter Oratorio BWV 249: Sinfonia
2. Easter Oratorio BWV 249: Adagio
3. Easter Oratorio BWV 249: Chorus: 'Kommt, eilet und laufet'
4. Easter Oratorio BWV 249: Recitativo: 'O kalter Manner Sinn!'
5. Easter Oratorio BWV 249: Aria: 'Seele, deine Spezereien'
6. Easter Oratorio BWV 249: Recitativo: 'Hier ist die Gruft'
7. Easter Oratorio BWV 249: Aria: 'Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer'
8. Easter Oratorio BWV 249: Recitativo: 'Indessen seufzen wir'
9. Easter Oratorio BWV 249: Aria: 'Saget, saget mir geschwinde'
10. Easter Oratorio BWV 249: Recitativo: 'Wir sind erfreut'
11. Easter Oratorio BWV 249: Chorus: 'Preis und Dank'
12. Magnificat BWV 243: Chorus: 'Magnificat anima mea Dominum'
13. Magnificat BWV 243: Aria: 'Et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo'
14. Magnificat BWV 243: Aria: 'Quia respexit humilitatem'
15. Magnificat BWV 243: Chorus: 'Omnes generationes'
16. Magnificat BWV 243: Aria: Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est'
17. Magnificat BWV 243: Aria: 'Et misericordia'
18. Magnificat BWV 243: Chorus: 'Fecit potentiam in brachio suo'
19. Magnificat BWV 243: Aria: 'Deposuit potentes de sede'
20. Magnificat BWV 243: Aria: 'Esurientes implevit bonis'
See all 23 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Bach's celebration of Easter is a mostly joyous one, opening with a three-movement sinfonia, richly orchestrated, and complete with trumpets and drums: the third movement includes the chorus inviting listeners to rejoice and hasten to the tomb of Jesus, "For our Savior has awakened." There follow recitatives and arias for Mary Magdalen, Mary, the mother of James, Peter, and John. Each character goes through grief to love and gratefulness, and Bach's endlessly inventive scoring, melodic lines, and changing orchestral textures take us on a rich, 40-minute musical journey to peace. Only a too-long soprano aria tends to wear. The Oratorio is coupled on this CD with Bach's justly famous 12-movement setting (in 25 minutes) of the Magnificat text from Luke. Also elaborately scored, with the vocal choices, tempos, and mood changing every couple of minutes, this is one of the great works of Western liturgical music (Gardiner's masterly reading of this work is a must-have). The performances, on Baroque instruments and with crisp, clean, unsentimental Baroque style, are exemplary. Rejoice! --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fun performance and glorious sound! July 7, 2002
Format:Audio CD
This recording is full of energy and joy. The period instruments sound so wonderful and lush. It was recorded in just the right environment and sounds superb.
The approach to both pieces is spot on and you will want to listen to this recording many times just for the sheer fun of it.
The provided booklet provides some helpful notes on the background of the pieces - when and why Bach wrote them. And also the libretto (which is ALWAYS nice to have). I like to have all that information available and knowing when and why can deepen our appreciation of the music. However, the first and most important thing is to hear the music.
This recording is among the best of these works. So, you would do well to begin here!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Kantor's Easter & Magnificat Efforts May 8, 2002
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
1723-25 were powerful, productive years for Bach in Leipzig as Kantor. In 1723-24 Christmas, comes this Magnificat. Especially attractive to me is track 14, "Aria" "Quia respexit humilitatem" which is a powerful soprano and oboe movement aided by the full chorus piping in "To all Generations!"
The Easter Oratorio was a gift for an honorarium by Duke Christian composed around four aria recitatives for Mary Magdelene, Mary, John and Peter. The opening Sinfonia is breathtaking with its gracious oboe work by Marcel Ponseele.
Building to the heights of the finale, "Praise and Thanks" ends in triumphant declaration by full choir "The Lion of Judah approaches in triumph!"
Strong vocalist performances by soprano Lisa Larsson and bass Klaus Mertens. Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Chorus directed by Ton Koopman is well done with passion and pace.
With translation in French, German and English, this is excellent performance of important Sacred Large-Scale Composition for soloists, choir and orchestra.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Treatise on Baroque Musicianship February 6, 2008
Format:Audio CD
A Treatise on Baroque Musicianship

Not only do I love this recording with all of its spontaneity and "accidents" (sometimes sublime and sometimes surprising), I even use this recording as a sort of primer for my organ students for Baroque technique. The best way to understand Baroque music is to start with the truly great compositions. Bach's Easter Oratorio is one of those pieces of mature Baroque music in which the drama of the Italian Opera, the refined subtleties of French instrumental music, and the passionate conviction of the Reformation have all come together in the form of some of the most creative vocal and instrumental lines ever written. Completed in its current form in 1738, it represents Bach at the prime of his career.

What is really important about this performance, however, is that the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir under the direction of Ton Koopman has succeeded in finally surpassing the old dry, academic playing of most "historical" performances and are bringing musicality back into Baroque music. They are certainly not the first to do this, but this balance of historically informed playing and the crafting of beautiful musical lines is rarely achieved at this level. The fabulous flute solo in the soprano aria "Seele, deine Spezereien" is full of beautifully shaped lines (which often cross the bar lines) and is a showcase of natural, unaffected playing that is so rare. (Baroque keyboard players take note!) As to the criticism from some who claim that the performance is "mushy" or "non-distinct" (I believe those were the words) one only needs to listen to the beatiful aria "Saget, saget" from the Oratorio, or the "Et Exultavit" from the Magnificat to hear the perfect precision of this band.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an up! April 12, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Ok, I don't speak German. It doesn't matter.The opening bars of this CD are so pleasing, excited, joyous, thrilled they break the language barrier. You know easter is here. Then they turn to the Magnificat. A wonderful rendition.This is the version that will be my standard.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A mush of sound from Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque September 25, 2007
Format:Audio CD
This Erato recording is one of the mushiest and least distinct recordings of Bach's Easter Oratorio and Magnificat I have ever heard.The tone has been pitched to the half-step lower Baroque pitching which has been done before. That is not the problem.What is the problem is an Orchestra and Choir that fight itself in tempi,where bowing and enunciation is lost in a cacaphony of muck and mire.The Oratorio fares better than the Magnificat which this listener would never recommend to any serious listener.Stick with the Lausonne version.It is clear and crisp and not so frenetic.Not at all recommended.
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