John Eliot Gardiner & Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque SoloistsBach Cantata Pilgrimage DVD
Cantatas BWV 179, BWV 199 & BWV 113
Bach Cantata Pilgrimage
Cantata No. 179, "Siehe zu, dass deine Gottesfurcht," BWV 179
Cantata No. 199, "Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut," BWV 199
Cantata No. 113, "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut," BWV 113
John Eliot Gardiner
Monteverdi Choir / English Baroque Soloists
Soprano: Magdalena Kožená; Counter-tenor: William Towers; Tenor: Mark Padmore; Bass: Stephan Loges
BBC Opus Arte
DVD / TT: ~2:07:00
Filmed at St Davids Cathedral, Dyfed, UK.
Buy this album at: Amazon.com
Review: Bach Cantata Pilgrimage DVDKirk McElhearn wrote (January 20, 2002):
In the year 2000, John Eliot Gardiner set out on his Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, with the goal of performing all of Bachıs sacred cantatas in churches around Europe and in New York. Over a 52-week period, his orchestra, choir and soloists achieved this unique goal, with a fervour that was almost religious. This DVD presents one concert, recorded in Wales, and a documentary of the entire tour.
First of all, one must laud John Eliot Gardiner for his persistence and belief in such a wild, crazy project. Not only was it logistically difficult - rather than taking the easy way out, and performing all the cantatas in one city, or even one country, he wanted to travel to different cities every week - but it was a gruelling experience for the musicians, who had to learn three or four cantatas a week, as well as travel to a new venue and perform them. If this DVD is any example, this tour bordered on the miraculous. The three cantatas performed here are excellent, with musicians, choir and soloists alike giving emotional and profound performances.
The high point of the recording is the cantata BWV 199, for solo soprano and orchestra. Magdalena Kozená is one of, and perhaps the finest soprano I have ever heard sing Bachıs sacred music. Her heart-rending performance of this cantata is unforgettable. Not only is her voice magnificent, but she puts incredible emotion into her singing, using her entire body to express her feelings. The moving aria Stumme Seufzer, stille Klagen, with obbligato oboe (played by the excellent Marcel Ponceele), is one of the most memorable arias I have ever heard. If only for this cantata, this DVD is worth buying.
The hour-long documentary on the Pilgrimage is excellent, and shows how Gardiner developed such a mad project, but also shows how invested the musicians were in this tour. As the tour goes on - the documentary shows the musicians in twelve cities along their route - one can see the musicians become more intense, more deeply committed to the project. While features are drawn in the final concert in New York - and Gardiner seems to have put on a few pounds - one can imagine the sadness of these musicians who perform their final concert together as part of this project.
Unfortunately, Gardinerıs original plan to release CDs of all of these performances was axed by Deutsche Grammofon. They were all recorded, however, and, perhaps, one day they will be released. They constitute an extraordinary testament to some of the finest music ever written and a true belief in the power of that music. In any case, this DVD is as good as it gets. Hearing and seeing Magdalena Kozená is a great pleasure, and the rest of the music is extraordinary as well.
Thomas Braatz wrote (January 20, 2002):
[To Kirk McElhearn] Have you read my critique of Magdalena Kozená's singing in another cantata recorded while on this pilgrimage? I am enthusiastic about her voice with some serious qualifications regarding her ability to sing Bach cantata arias well. I own a number of her recordings, but not the one you are looking for. You can read about this on Aryeh's site: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV74-D.htm
Kirk McElhearn wrote (January 20, 2002):
[To Thomas Braatz] Interesting comments. I will listen again more closely.
In any case, I found her singing to be excellent on the emotional level. I just ordered her disc of Bach arias...
Peter Bright wrote (January 20, 2002):
[To Kirk McElhearn] You will not be disappointed - it is a really great disc.
Kirk McElhearn wrote (January 20, 2002):
[To Peter Bright] Yes, I have that feeling. I listened to some real audio excerpts off the Amazon site. It sounds quite good. This is truly a voice to be reckoned with, I think.
Aryeh Oron wrote (January 22, 2002):
[To Kirk McElhearn] This CD is available from amazon.de: http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000026CKG/
Richard Grant wrote (January 22, 2002):
Does anyone know where I might purchase her recital of Bach arias in New York? I have tried my usual (and some unusual ) sources to no avail, though I think I might have had an easier time if I had had the record company's name and the catalogue number. Perhaps someone could give me these. Thanks
Thomas Braatz wrote (January 22, 2002):
[To Richard Grant] The recording that you are looking for consists of a collection of soprano arias from the cantatas, Magnificat, SJP, and Mass in B minor. The title states simply:
J.S.Bach:Arias Magdalena Kozena on the PolyGram Label 1997, Prague (Archiv Produktion) 457-367 There is also a PY 925 listed, whatever that means. The group accompanying her is "Musica Florea" conducted by Marik Stryncl.
Hope this helps! I got my copy from Amazon.de as Aryeh has already suggested.
Richard Grant wrote (January 22, 2002):
[To Thomas Braatz] Thanks, at least I will now be better equipped in my search.
Roy Reed wrote (April 20, 2002):
On the basis of Kirk McElhearn's review (several days ago) I got Amazon to send me the DVD of Gardners' performance of BWV 179, BWV 199 and BWV 113. Got a used one actually...good deal. Really quite wonderful. I have the CD of same, but what a treat it is to see the performers. Greatly heightens the experience. Do get it, or get a friend to get it, or a local library. The setting of St. David's is a special added treat.
Sorry not be be a contributor lately. One of the joys of retirement is getting to explore territories beyond the haunts of one's "fach." In my case including much travel and much family. Next year getting into an ecumenical adventure leading a tour billed as a "Muslim/Christian Encounter" in Turkey. If this goes well will explore inclusion of Judaism. Hope to get the whole idea to branch out and include several venues.
I quite agree with Kirk that the performance of Magdalena Kozena (Sorry, don't have the little slash.) Is quite extraordinary and very movinging. Still, if I were limited to one CD, it would be Emma Kirkby with the Freiburger Barockorchester. But back to Gardner. All in all I have never been a fan of his Bach. Here he is quite excellent. As usual his forces are superb and he somehow forgets to push the tempo to stage unfortunate. Great performances in a lovely place, and beautifully photographed.
Bernard Nys wrote (April 22, 2002):
Last week, I bought both Passions by Stephen Cleobury on DVD (Brilliant Classics). I know that Kirk was not positive about those DVD's but who are we to say that people like Emma Kirkby, Michael Chance & Co are not singing well ? I think this is a good recording, the location (King's College Chapel) is magnificent, Cleobury & his King's College Choir, Cambridge are specia. Unfortunately, this DVD does not offer subtitles, but for 5 $ - 6 euro, it's a bargain.
The Bach Cantatas DVD by Gardiner is perfect. I appreciate very much the documentary about the famous world tour Pilgrimage, where Prince Charles and Gardiner confirm what I have been telling you for a few weeks : the "sacred" is very important in these works and Gardiner tells us that he has been transformed by playing all cantatas in one year (he speaks about "grace"). I don't know why the producers have chosen 3 relatively unknown and not spectacular cantatas. This is really not commercial as an introduction. I hope, with Kirk, that other releases will follow soon !
John Eliot Gardiner: Short
Biography | Monteverdi
Choir | English
Recordings: Part 1
| Part 2
| Part 3
| Part 4
| Part 5
General Discussions: Part
1 | Part
2 | Part
3 | Part
4 | Part
5 | Part
6 | Part
7 | Part
8 | Part
9 | Part
10 | Part
11 | Part
12 | Newsletters
Cantatas: Cantatas BWV
106, 118b, 198 | Cantatas
BWV 140, 147 | Cantatas
BWV 11, 37, 43, 128 | Cantatas
BWV 6, 66 | Cantatas
BWV 72, 73, 111, 156 | Cantatas
BWV 82, 83, 125, 200
Bach Cantata Pilgrimage: BCP
- Vols 1&8 | BCP
- Vol. 14 | BCP
- Vol. 15 | BCP
- Vol. 21 | BCP
- Vol. 22 | BCP
- Vol. 23 | BCP
- Vol. 24 | BCP
- Vol. 26 | Bach
Cantata Pilgrimage DVD | DVD
John Eliot Gardiner in Rehearsal
Other Vocal Works: BWV
232 - Gardiner | BWV
244 - Gardiner | BWV
245 - Gardiner | BWV
248 - Gardiner | BWV
1127 - Gardiner
Table of recordings
by BWV Number