JS Bach, CPE Bach, Sigiswald Kuijken - Ascension Oratorios

Published Wednesday 16th March 2005
JS Bach, CPE Bach, Sigiswald Kuijken - Ascension Oratorios
JS Bach, CPE Bach, Sigiswald Kuijken - Ascension Oratorios

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: EuroArts
FORMAT: DVD Music video

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

This is an interesting exercise in "compare and contrast". Johann Sebastian wrote his "Ascension Oratorio" (BV 11) in 1735. It is short, lasting about half an hour, and appropriately uplifting. It has been well said that almost everything JS wrote sounds like a dance. By the time his son Carl Philipp Emanuel wrote "The Resurrection And Ascension Of Jesus" (Wq 240) in 1774 the musical world had turned. Handel's great religious oratorios had set new standards in entertainment that the Lutheran clergy felt were inappropriate for worship. Thus CPE was writing with, so to speak, at least one hand tied. The younger Bach's share of the proceedings runs to 75 minutes so it is predominantly CPE that we hear and, between the two, we get a generous 110 minutes of music played very well by La Petite Bande, a specialist period ensemble, with excellent singing from Ex Tempore and four soloists. This was recorded live at the Church of St Nikolai during the Bachfest Leipzig 2004. Visually we get a better view than we would have done had we been in the audience and we can switch on the subtitles if we wish. However it is the music to which we will return.

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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