J S Bach, Wolfgang Helbich - Apocryphal Bach Masses

Tuesday 4th November 2003
J S Bach, Wolfgang Helbich - Apocryphal Bach Masses
J S Bach, Wolfgang Helbich - Apocryphal Bach Masses

STYLE: Choral
RATING 5 5 5 5 5
LABEL: CPO 999 834-2

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

This collection includes two Masses and a Magnificat, all copied out and, presumably, used by Johann Sebastian Bach in the middle years of the 18th century. Once they were thought to have been composed by Bach himself although scholarly opinion is now against this. Without claiming to be an expert in Bach your reviewer would agree with this assessment, which leaves him wondering what more to say. Perhaps paraphrasing Dr Johnson is the best I can do: this recording is worth hearing but not worth buying. Wolfgang Helbich and the Alsfelder Vokalensemble do full justice to music that, in all honesty, does not deserve the attention that has been given it. Bach scholars should appreciate the opportunity of hearing these pieces and deciding for themselves whether they are authentic or apocryphal and those who cannot hear enough Bach may like to take a peek into the great man's library. Those of us who enjoy Bach will want to listen to the man himself.

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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