Johann Sebastian Bach, Ricercar Consort, Philippe Pierlot - In Tempore Nativitatis

Published Sunday 8th December 2013
Johann Sebastian Bach, Ricercar Consort, Philippe Pierlot - In Tempore Nativitatis
Johann Sebastian Bach, Ricercar Consort, Philippe Pierlot - In Tempore Nativitatis

STYLE: Classical
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Mirare MIR243

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

The Ricercar Consort was founded in 1980 by harpsichordist and now director Philippe Pierlot. On this seasonal new release we are presented with three festive works by J S Bach (1650-1715), where an exuberant ensemble, with flutes, oboes, trumpets, timpani and voices, express the comfort and joy inspired by the Nativity. The cantatas in question are "Unser Mund Sei Voll Lachens" (BWV110), "Süsser Trost Mein Jesu Kommt"( BWV151) and "Christen, Atzet Diesen Tag" (BWV63). There are many different recordings of the Christmas Cantatas available and while I enjoyed this new one from France I am not convinced it is the definitive version although it is certainly most listenable. Bach's innate joie de vivre is never more clear than in his celebration of the Nativity. The melodies keep pouring from him and the instrumental accompaniment dances around the vocal lines like peasants dancing around a Christmas tree: joyfully unrestrained and unselfconscious. The four vocal soloists Maria Keohane (soprano), Carlos Mena (alto), Julian Prégardien (tenor) and Stéphan MacLeod (bass) all give a good account of themselves with the duets being particularly noteworthy. If this was the only recording of the Christmas Cantatas I would not hesitate to award it 10 squares but there are other recordings available and if you can find either John Eliot Gardiner or Tom Koopman's takes at a fair price we would choose them first.

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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