J S Bach - Magnificat Cantata: Le Petite

Tuesday 1st May 1990
J S Bach - Magnificat Cantata: Le Petite

STYLE: Classical
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
LABEL: Bande Virgin Classics VC7907794

Reviewed by Dave Massey

Short of sticking your thumb out and hitching a ride on the Tardis, this is the only way to listen to Bach.  Le Petite Bande were specifically formed to play Baroque music on period instruments under the direction of Sigiswald Kuijken who made a special study of authentic ways of playing early instruments. What you get for your money is a sound not too far removed from what Bach himself would have heard - and what a sound! The strings and oboes sparkle whilst at the other end of the tonal spectrum the recorders provide a much rounder sound than their modern counterpart the flute. The highlight of the 'Magnificat' for me has to be the aria "Esurientes Implevit" sung by Rene Jacobs (alt.). The combination of recorders and voice in canon with baroque organ and figured bass make this an aria that sticks in the memory for a long time. The soloists, Greta de Reyghere (sop), Rene Jacobs (alt.), Christoph Pregardien (ten.) and Peter Lika (bass) are accurate and polished but are unable to turn a very good recording into an excellent one. The cantata "Ich Hatte Viel Bekummernis" (I Have Great Tribulation) is the Gospel proclaimed in music, portraying the abandoned soul -open to attacks from Hell, the admonition to trust in God and a dialogue with Christ. The distressed soul is suggested by the dissonances (clashes) in the opening Sinfonia, Coro and Aria.  In the aria "Seufzer, Tranen, Kummer, Not" (Sighs, Tears, Grief, and Need) listen out for that wonderful dissonance on "Tranen" - Tears.  If Bach had had a hi-fi system I think he'd have bought this album.  It has to be one of the best recordings I've heard of either the "Magnificat In D" or the "Cantata".

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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