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Actus Tragicus Import

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, March 14, 2000
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$17.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Editorial Reviews

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When Joshua Rifkin introduced his thesis that Bach composed most of his choral works for only one singer per part, he used the Mass in B Minor as his demonstration piece--in part, no doubt, for maximum shock effect. Since then, Rifkin's theory has made the greatest headway with performances of Bach's early cantatas--those he wrote before arriving in Leipzig in 1723. Even Christ lag in Todesbanden and the Actus tragicus, both considered canonic works of the choral literature, have benefited from fine single-voice recordings by groups such as the Taverner Consort and the American Bach Soloists. Now along comes Cantus Cölln and outdoes them all. Konrad Junghänel's soloists make Bach's music speak as well as sing: they don't avoid all those German consonants (even if it means cutting off notes early), so the rhetorical aspect of these cantatas really comes through. It's hard to single out any one singer when all four are so good, but first among equals is Johanna Koslowsky, who can float an ethereal chorale melody and toss off virtuoso runs with equal skill, all in a tone so pure she could almost pass for a boy soprano. The musicians do just as well by the two less-famous cantatas included here: Weinen, Klagen, whose title chorus became the Crucifixus of the B Minor Mass, and the winsome little wedding cantata Der Herr denket an uns. Harmonia Mundi already has one revered specialist in Bach's vocal music on its roster (Philippe Herreweghe), but one would hope they'll allow Cantus Cölln to record more Bach cantatas. Junghänel and his musicians are really good at this. --Matthew Westphal
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Product Details

  • Performer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Konrad Junghanel
  • Audio CD (March 14, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B00004R7PX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,726 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By N. Haggin on April 12, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In the one-singer-per-part wrangle I am currently neutral (you'll have to pry the Richter St. John Passion from my cold, dead fingers), but I appreciate the clarity of texture offered by the approach, and Cantus Coelln is nothing if not clear in these performances. The singers are top-notch and blend perfectly in ensemble; the instrumentalists are likewise excellent. Like Matthew Westphal, I must also single out Johanna Koslowsky; she is absolutely heart-rending in the cadenza at the end of "Es ist der alte Bund" in BWV 106.
My reservations are principally with the performance of BWV 4, and are twofold. First is the hypothetical "reconstruction" of the last movement; while, as the liner notes suggest, the chorale in the Leipzig revision is of a later style than the rest of the cantata, the music of the first movement doesn't fit the words of the final stanza of the chorale so well. The second is the tempo of both the first and last movements; while the ensemble can sustain it, the music is sufficiently intricate that I'd like to hear it more slowly.
Still, the beauty of Cantus Coelln's sound and their consummate skill make this a wonderful recording; I'd give it 4 1/2 stars if that were an option in the review form.
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Format: Audio CD
I must have fifty CDs of Bach's Canatas including all the great conductors and bands and this is my very very favourite. Try their Telemann Trauer-Actus too: this is just as sublime.
Geoff Petty
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I've not heard these cantatas performed by others. I will say, however, that this recording stands up to many listenings. Track 9, "Sonatina," features two recorders in unison with one variously dipping down a half step then returning to the unison--creating a unique and wrenching sonority.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
J.S. Bach learning how to be J.S. Bach. Superb music, beautiful choral singing, especially the haunting soprano. I have not heard other version of Actus Tragicus, but this is wonderful music beautifully executed.
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Format: Audio CD
I really love Cantus Colln and their work, especially there second Rosenmuller cd. In my book, there is one black mark against this album, and that is the tempo. I just feel all of it is so rushed and inarticulate. It just sounded sloppy after listening to Herreweghe's version of Weinen, Klangen... and Morimer(Hilliard Ensemble). I must say that I universally prefer Cantus Colln's vocal qualities to almost any of Herreweghe's troop. Though I was disappointed at the lack of polish, most people can find something they like on this cd.
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