La Petit Band / Sigiswald Kuijken - Motetten By JS Bach

Thursday 1st April 1993
La Petit Band / Sigiswald Kuijken - Motetten By JS Bach

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Gamut
FORMAT: Cassette Album

Reviewed by Dave Massey

I love the first piece on this album, the motet "Komm, Jesu, Komm", which was most likely written in the first instance for a funeral. Unlike us, the people of the Baroque era saw death first hand every day of their lives, and as a result such works (and there are several on this disk) are not full of morbid, heavy emotions but hope generated by the conviction that death was not an end, it was a beginning. Much of the language of the Lutheran funeral service is given over to hope and reflected in Bach's inexorable 16th note phrasing that keeps the motets driving towards that expected future. The choir and orchestra La Petit Bande deliver a tight and authentic (I guess!) flavour to these motets and they are most convincing in the fourth track, "Der Geist Hilft Unsrer Schwachheit Leid" with its fiendishly difficult counterpoint in which the two choirs machine-gun their Ts and Ss at one another as if the third world war had broken out! Much of this music, although it was written for very sombre occasions, is music to lift the spirit and is a great testament to Bach's mastery not only of the technicalities of counterpoint and canon but also of his spiritual maturity.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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