THOMAS HENGELBROCK: "ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING ARTIST PERSONALITIES OF OUR TIME!"
Johann Sebastian Bach took a more dispassionate view of himself than others of his time accepted, including his own family all of whom held to the myth that he was a genius who developed independently during his lifetime. Bach was convinced that his ability was primarily due to thorough study and untiring diligence. It was known that he collected a goodly number of select church compositions from far and wide, and at no small cost, for the purpose of satisfying his ideas of well-ordered church music. Unfortunately, despite Bach's earlier reference to his private collection, not a single copy of sacred vocal music in his possession has survived from the period before he moved to Weimar. But in view of the remarkable parallels between the two cantatas 'Christ lag in Todesbanden', the question arises whether the work of the same name by Johannes Pachelbel, one generation earlier, could not have been found in Bach's library. The fact that Bach rarely wrote the names of composers on the works he copied, and often made changes to them, shows that this was indeed a repertoire intended for practical use, not primarily for study but for performance at church services.
Therefore, this recording is a unique group of compositions that 'may' have been in the music library of J.S Bach, but cannot be proven as such. However, some learned guesswork has placed certain pieces by composers that Bach no doubt admired and/or whose works he copied or otherwise was known to have possessed, on this recording.
Johann Pachelbel's (1653-1706) Cantata for Easter Sunday(11:42) with 7 movements is shorter than Bach's Cantata for Easter Sunday(16:42) with eight movements. The Cantata BWV4, is the strictest chorale cantata Bach ever wrote: every one of the stanzas of Luther's powerful Easter hymn (based on a 12th century melody) is set, and each setting is a variation upon its tune 1524. It is not just the absence of recitative and da capo arias which mark this as an 'early' work: the symmetrical structure of the work, the display of contrapuntal virtuosity, and the extreme emotional intensity place it around 1708.
Hengelbrock with Bach's BWV 4 again does his own thing, especially in the pace of the delivery. Comparing tempos to Gardiner's 1980 recording with a total time of 21:06 minutes; Purcell Quartet's 2004 recording 20:49 minutes to Hengelbrock's with a time of 16:40 minutes we see a really wide differential. I found it most interesting that Gardiner, who has a reputation for 'speed', was the slowest, but to me it is refreshing to hear these varied conceptions of a major work. I don't think Bach would have minded at all!
Johann Kaspar Kerll (1627-1693), was a German composer and organist and was one of the most acclaimed composers of his time, known to be an outstanding teacher. His influence can be seen in the works of Handel and J.S. Bach. These two most important German composers of the late Baroque era, both studied Kerll's work. Bach arranged the Sanctus part of Kerll's 'Missa Superba' in HIS Sanctus in D Major(BWV 241). Handel frequently borrowed themes, and sometimes whole pieces, from Kerll's canzonas ( the theme from Canzona #6 is taken by Handel for his 'Let All the Angels of God' from Messiah; 'Egypt was Glad' from 'Israel in Egypt' is also similar to Canzona #6. Unfortunately many of Kerll's works are currently lost, particularly so in vocal music, with all eleven known operas and twenty-four offertories. The surviving oeuvre shows Kerll's mastery of the Italian concerted style, employed in all his Masses, and his highly developed contrapuntal technique.
Hengelbrock's forces consist of 20 singers of note and an instrumental ensemble: 8 violins, 3 violas, 2 violoncello, 1 contrabasso, one organo, one cornetto,and four trombones, fine musicians all! The Balthasar-Neumann Choir and Ensemble have long been on of my favorites BECAUSE they sing with buoyancy, clarity, enthusiasm, good diction and fulfill one of my personal requirement: A BALANCE OF VOICE PARTS. (Information in German and English; text translated from German to English, Latin to English).
- Audio CD (August 1, 2004)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Haenssler Classics
- ASIN: B0009I7NWQ
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,250,385 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)