The Essential Bach
DVD | Box Set
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(Jan 01, 2009)
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This 5 DVD set includes works by Bach performed by Freiburger Barockorchester conducted by Gottfried von der Goltz, Thomanerchor Leipzig & Gewandhausorchester Leipzig conducted by Georg Christoph Biller, Andrei Gavrilov, Joanna McGregor, Ton Koopman, Klau
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The packaging is interesting in that the five DVDs are arranged as five pages in a 'book', which is a clever idea. There is a booklet that simply lists the contents of each DVD, but no notes per se.
The DVDs are:
1) Brandenburg Concertos played by the Freiburger Barockorchester. There is also a bonus of some music by Gottfried von der Goltz. Brandenburg Concertos/Freiburger Barockorchester Superb performances on original instruments filmed in a lovely setting, the Hall of Mirrors in Cöthen.
2. Mass in B Minor with Georg Christoph Biller leading Leipzig's Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Thomaskirche Choir.
Bach - Mass in B Minor / Ruth Holton, Matthias Rexroth, Christoph Genz, Klaus Mertens, Georg Christoph Biller (Not reviewed at the link site.) Filmed in Bach's own church, with a great Gewandhaus Orchestra, this performance is not the equal, I fear, of the other DVD from Leipzig led by Herbert Blomstedt. But it is certainly acceptable.
3. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 with the first half played by Andrei Gavrilov, the second half by Joanna MacGregor. I must point out that this is only half of the WTC as presented on
Bach - The Well Tempered Clavier 48 Preludes and Fugues / Hewitt, MacGregor, Demidenko, Gavrilow
that features two other pianists in Book II. Viedography (and costuming!) is artsy fartsy in the Gavrilov segment and his playing is mannered. MacGregor, though, is magnificent. There are thirteen reviews at the linked site.
4. Great Organ Works played by Klaus Mertens on two different organs of the period.
Ton Koopman Plays Bach Also includes Klaus Mertens, bass, in some songs. Koopman is one of the great organists of today and he doesn't let us down.
5. German Brass play Bach -- The German Brass is a magnificent ensemble who play arrangements of various Bach works. Although this is not Bach as Bach wrote it, it is nonetheless a fabulous set of performances. The DVD is listed on the box as 'special' and I wasn't able to find it listed separately at any common Internet site for DVDs, so it may be unique to this package. Almost worth the full price of all five DVDs in my opinion.
Picture format: NTSC - 16:9; Sound: PCM stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1, Subtitles: English, German, French; Region: 0 (worldwide); Disc format: DVD 9; Running time: 8hrs,3mins
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