Ton Koopman’s Petition
Call for Petition
Warner Music’s Response
Call for PetitionAryeh Oron wrote (February 11, 2002):
Regarding Warner's decision to discontinue Koopman's cantata project, here are some facts.
(a) The original plan was to issue the complete cantata cycle on 22 volumes. 12 of which have already been released. Vol. 13, 14, and 15 are already recorded.
(b) Koopman records twice a year, and the next session which starts in a few weeks is Vol. 16. It is with soloists Johannette Zomer, Bogna Bartosz, Christoph Prégardien and Klaus Mertens. Koopman has also finished recording most of the important solo and dialogue cantatas last June, which was supposed to appear later in the series.
(c) It is very unlikely at this point, that Warner will change its decision. They know it is a successful series that sells - in a classical music sense - well. It seems to be a purely business decision, which must be taking over all the big record companies.
(d) However, Koopman seems to have decided to go ahead with the recordings anyway, and hopes to bring them to public in one way or another.
To sum up, Warner will stop, but Koopman has decided to continue.
The common denominator to all the members in the BCML (Bach Cantatas Mailing List) and many additional members in the BRML (Bach Recordings Mailing List) is their love for the Bach Cantatas. The three already complete cantata cycles (Rilling, Harnoncourt & Leonhardt, Leusink) are not to everybody's taste, and each one of them has its own deficiencies. There is a need for more complete cantata cycles, and Koopman has done enough to prove that his renditions can in many cases be counted among the best. There are about 220 members in the BCML and this means power to influence. If the members believe that it is a real shame that Warner stops this beautiful series and would like to make the effort to send Warner a petition, it is of course so much better than nothing, and I believe it would encourage Koopman and his group.
Following your feedback I opened a special e-mail address to which you are invited to send your requests regarding the continuation of this important project:
The e-mail address is: email@example.com
My intention is to compile all your messages and to send them both to Warner Group and Koopman Website. I hope that in that way we can be of some help in encouraging the continuation of this project.
Bach and Jazz Music Fan
WebMaster of Bach Cantatas Website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com
RingMaster of J.S. Bach Web Ring: http://b.webring.com/hub?ring=jsbachwebring
Anthony J. Olszowy [Barrister and Solicitor] wrote (February 11, 2002):
Please add my voice to any petition to Warner to re-instate the Koopman cantata cycle. Koopman's cycle is an important musicological landmark in Bach performance scholarship; even mega corporations have to admit that not all assets worth owning can be measured in dollars and cents. I may dislike some Koopman's interpretations, and may question the validity of others, but I still buy them. I also questioned Harnoncourt and Leonhardt in the seventies, as did many others--yet my guess is that this is the most popular full set on the market today.
Yours in the Arts,
Kirk McElhearn wrote (February 11, 2002):
Dear Warner Music,
As a fan of Bach, and especially his cantatas, I find it a great shame that you have decided to stop releasing Ton Koopman's recordings of this fine music. Since there are already 36 of 60 discs released, and several others recorded, it would make sense to carry this project through to completion. What a shame if this does not happen... Yet another great classical project that ends up half-finished.
Kathleen Bradley wrote (February 11, 2002):
It is unfortunate that you have cancelled the Koopman Bach cantata series. I have purchased two of the CD sets (Vols. 2 and 5) so far and have enjoyed them tremendously. I wish that the complete series of cantatas could be available from this artist and label.
Santu De Silva [Member of the Bach Cantata List] wrote (February 11, 2002):
The Complete Bach Cantatas directed by Ton Koopman and performed by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Chorus was for me, personally, a crucially important project. I can only give witness to what is personally important to me, and this series is the only one I intended to own a complete set of.
I am moderately knowledgeable about Bach and his music, and in my opinion the Koopman series stands with that of Harnoncourt as one of the most influential, and in my opinion, superior to those of Suzuki (BIS) and Rilling (Hänssler). His instrumentalists are excellent, his singers often inspired, but never less than competent, and his research certainly satisfactory to me personally, and generally above reproach.
It is difficult to believe that the label stands to lose money on this project. One can only assume that the profit margin is not as incredibly great as is that for popular music, modern music, or whatever other genres you intend to pursue. In fact, it makes absolutely no sense to terminate this project; at the very least it should be completed on an accelerated schedule, which may be far from ideal, but will be at least a reasonable compromise.
Once more allow me to entreat you to reconsider this decision. To end the Koopman Bach Cantata project would be to throw away one of the most carefully conceived, well-designed, beautifully executed plans to record the cantatas of J. S. Bach, and as such, a project that your label could have regarded with pride and satisfaction. Let it continue if it possibly can.
Kevin Faulkner [Mary Our Queen Church, Atlanta, GA] wrote (February 11, 2002):
I write this to encourage the reinstatement of the recordings of the Bach cantata cycle by Ton Koopman. It is a privilege to have these available not only as one of the "approaches" to Bach, but to also enjoy the talent and artistry generated by the Mr. Koopman and his group. This series deserves to be completed as a testament to Bach and to the living witness this music provides for all of us of his genius. It also stands as a testament to Mr. Koopman of his devotion to this music in times when he could choose to go in other more commercially appealing directions.
As one who owns a portion of this series, I respectfully encourage you to reconsider this decision.
Francine Renee Hall [M.A., U of IL, Member of the Bach Recordings List] wrote (February 11, 2002):
To: Warner Bros.:
The state of classical CD production is shaky because most of your commercial and marketing ploys are directed at 'pop' teen audiences. I know some of the profits from such media hype go towards classical music. The ratio of profit from pop and classical, I do not know but I would guess it to be about 90% to 10%, respectively. Movies are treated the same way. The majority of money and hype is geered toward the male teenager; the rest to the indies.
Everyone likes to have some money. But to have so much of it that it is simply down and out greed is outrageous. Do you want a world that is culturally dead? Do you want only mindless pop music to exist in the world? Do you want only mindless explosions and a few sexy babes in your action movies?
Is money so important that you would cut a Bach cantata cycle short, in this case, Koopman's? And perhaps Gardiner's? We have so few complete cantata cycles as it is. Sure, cantatas are more expensive because they involve more musical forces and careful production. But it seems you do not really care.
If the Warner executives can sleep well every night knowing that what they are doing is destroying every ounce of beauty and awe that sustains the fine arts, well then I say such executives have no morals and are a sorryexcuse of what constitutes a human being.
Thomas Braatz wrote (February 12, 2002):
To whom it may concern:
It is with very deep dismay that I have become cognisant of the abandonment in midstream of a worthy recording project that has until now been produced under the Erato label: the Complete Cantatas of J.S. Bach with Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir. This abrupt termination comes at a time when more and more people are becoming aware of the great musical heritage contained in these cantatas. I, for one, would like to continue purchasing the volumes in the Koopman series as they provide yet another perspective into understanding and enjoying this great music. It is easy for me to imagine that there are many other listeners who find themselves in a similar situation of looking forward to those cantatas that have not as yet been recorded and released. Do reconsider your decision to stop producing the volumes still to be heard and enjoyed by many potential listeners.
Dave Harman [El Paso, TX] wrote (February 12, 2002):
I have collected Volumes 1 through 11 of Koopman's cycle of Bach Cantatas. Each year I have looked forward to another instalment of this fine series. Whenever I go to a music store, I always check if there is a new addition to this series. I also visit the Internet music sites hoping to see another volume of Koopman's Bach Cantata Series.
But your announcement that the series will not continue really hurts. After years of waiting, then finding and buying another volume, your decision not to continue leaves me angry and unfulfilled.
Do I have to give up on this series because you decide it's not 'good business’? Obviously, your decision is based on your needs - not giving the customer what they want.
And let me tell you how your 'business decision' will hurt you. In the future, I won't buy any more of your CD's because I can't see rewarding you for making a stupid decision.
Dick Wursten [Antwerpen / Belgium] wrote (February 12, 2002):
Dear Warner Bros.,
As I child I learned you always had to finish what you started, even when things did not turn out to be exactly what you expected them to become. Loyalty, high fidelity. Against all odds I still hold the view that this attitude in the long run also is the most profitable.
Although I don't know why you ended the agreement with Ton Koopman to record the complete Bach-cantatas, I find this musically regrettable, ethically unacceptable and commercially stupid.
So perhaps you could reconsider this decision...?
Laszlo Zsidai wrote (February 12, 2002):
Robert Jorgensen [Nicosia, Cyprus] wrote (February 12, 2002):
Whilst I admit the performances are not wholly to my taste, I have bought them all so far and will continue to do so, if they appear. To help guarantee further production, perhaps we should all offer to pay up front for the remaining volumes. I would certainly be willing.
Harry J. Steinman wrote (February 12, 2002):
Dear Warner Music,
For the past few years, I have enjoyed your recordings of Bach cantatas, those produced by Ton Koopman, and have collected all 11 releases. I estimate that I have spent over $600 on these recordings, and I have not regretted one penny's purchase.
You have chosen to discontinue this series, a decision that is disheartening for me. It is also costly for you: I know of many fans of Bach who collect this series.
I don't completely understand the economics of music production but I do understand the economics of my own collecting. I am very happy to continue purchasing Warner releases if you will continue this fine series. In a world in which so many artists and so many labels release recordings of the music of J. S. Bach, I would like to be able to continue my loyalty to your label's recordings.
I will be watching carefully your further decisions on this series. Please alert me at: firstname.lastname@example.org as to your final decision on this matter.
Karel Van den Abbeele wrote (February 12, 2002):
I hope that Mr Koopman will release the remaining recordings for another label and that Warner only will be ashamed for the rest of his days. Koopman's is a very important cycle as are Harnoncourt's / Leonhardt's, Suzuki's, Leusink's. All these cycles give us a personal sound and they complete each other, as will new cycles.
What is happening: Hogwood and Haydn? Gardiner and Bach? Now Koopman and Bach? Nobody should ever buy a CD from Erato...
Val M. Cox [Pittsburgh PA, USA] wrote (February 12, 2002):
As a collector of Koopman's Bach cantata series I am distressed by news that Warner Bros. has announced discontinuation of the project.
I have waited decades to acquire the complete cycle of Bach cantatas, having felt none of the previously available recordings warranted the investment. That is, until the Koopman series. With the first Koopman volume I decided it was the version for me and I committed to it as the one series I would acquire in its entirety.
I would urge Warner Bros. to support Mr Koopman's outstanding efforts by completing the release of the full cantata cycle.
Tristan Marcot [France] wrote (February 12, 2002):
Please, don't stop the Koopman project. I have bought all the volumes of the cantatas. I love this music and the interpretation of Koopman. You can't stop it now!
Jill Gunsell wrote (February 13, 2002):
Dear Warner Corporation,
Please re-instate Ton Koopman's Bach cantatas cycle in your programme. This is an important work, which should be completed and deserves your continued support. A powerful and successful commercial organisation has responsibilities, which extend beyond simple return to shareholders. Noblesse oblige.
Your profits arise directly from the dedicated work and great talents of creative artists, including Mr Koopman, and these people are more than commodities. They are a blessing to the world and the foundation of the wealth of your shareholders, which wealth comes from the pockets of the very people whom you now deprive of the conclusion of Mr Koopman's great work, for which they have waited. Your customers are disappointed in your decision; for high and low reasons, it is in your strategic interest to listen to them.
Pablo Fagoaga wrote (February 13, 2002):
I hereby request Warner Music executives to reconsider their decision to cancel the release of further volumes of the so called "Koopman's Complete Cantatas".
Marten Breuer [Germany] wrote (February 13, 2002):
Dear Sir or Madam!
Let me express my deep disappointment that Warner Brothers has decided, according to recent press releases, to cut off the Bach Cantata cycle by Ton Koopman. Although I clearly acknowledge that a company like yours has to be aware of the financial implications and consequences of all its projects, I am convinced that at the same time, it is a cultural and moral obligation to produce a Cantata cycle that has earned so much respect and appraisal all over the world. Maybe your company has not taken into consideration to a sufficient degree the cultural value of this project? Maybe it has not been sufficiently aware of the negative impact that the decision to discontinue this prestigious and prominent project is going to have on the company’s overall reputation? I strongly recommend and ask you to reconsider your decision. I am sure there will be a way to overcome the financial difficulties, provided that you are willing to attach to the Cantata project the importance it deserves.
Francis Browne wrote (February 13, 2002):
Dear Warner Music
I am writing to express my dismay at the decision not to complete Ton Koopman's Complete Bach Cantata Project. Mr Koopman is one of the world's most outstanding interpreters of Bach and his recordings of the cantatas are an achievement with which your company ought to be proud to be associated.
This decision to cancel the project therefore struck me as inexplicable, a wanton act of barbarism. My bafflement increased when I visited your corporate Website and found that you publicly proclaimed
AOL Time Warner is founded on a shared senof responsibility to the common good.
We thrive on innovation and originality-encouraging risk-taking and divergent voices.
We value our customers-putting their needs and interests at the center of everything we do.
We attract and develop the world's best talent-seeking to include the broadest range of people and perspectives.
AOL Time Warner is committed to serving the public interest by using our unique talents and resources to enrich people's lives and strengthen communities around the world.
For us, the measure of achievement goes beyond the bottom line. To succeed, we must provide the highest quality products and services, act with integrity and contribute to the common good. These responsibilities are the essence of corporate citizenship in the 21st Century-and our resolve to meet them will shape everything we do.
If these admirable sentiments are your company's policy, it is difficult to see how the cancellation can be justified. The Complete Cantata Project is a great contribution to the common good. It is a risk worth taking even in commercial terms -even if it does not have the spectacular sales figures of popular music Bach has and will always have a committed audience. Surely the customers who have faithfully followed the project so far deserve better than to be abandoned before the project can be completed. The project certainly involves some of the world's best talent and - I speak from experience- Bach's music is a wonderful enrichment of people's lives. If 'the measure of achievement goes beyond the bottom line' what can be the grounds for cancellation?
As a company you should be aware that if a public perception grows that your vast company is devoted solely to profits and 'dumming down' for this purpose you will have the opposition of an articulate and determined minority and that a much wider circle of customers may begin to hesitate to use your products.
I urge you strongly to live up to your own statements and to reinstate the project.
Riccardo Domenichini [Istituto Universitario di Architettura, Venezia, Italy] wrote (February 13, 2002):
Your decision to stop the recording of the Koopman's Bach cantatas cycle is really bad. This is one of the most important and culturally significant musical enterprises of the last years and it is very sad that poor business considerations can bring it to death when it is already 75% completed. I really hope you can change your mind.
Krzysztof Filus - Komorowski [Krakow, Poland] wrote (February 14, 2002):
I am a young physician form Poland (living in Cracow, city known in Europe for its long history, specific climate of culture, people, something magic like, for example, in Prague). I adore classical music, first of all J.S. Bach, and one of my dreams was to collect the complete cantatas, as I found that each cantata is important. Someone who declares himself lover of Bach, should - well, it may happen by the end of his life - know each cantata.
My dream became a reality, when first volumes of Koopman release appeared. Of course, there is Harnoncourt (especially in edition Bach 2000, quite cheap comparing to Erato CDs), and for some reasons his "simplicity" yet "being HIP" is ideal, but some features of this recording (e.g. choir) are not re ally acceptable nowadays. Of course, Koopman is far from being optimal. But - WE STARTED COLLECTIONING this release, so we have something we could call a deal with Erato! Well, it's a business, you have a right to sell or not to sell whatever you want, but look, we are talking about things concerning beauties, spirit, things that give sense to the live (and sense to make money, too!).
I know Koopman was not selling so badly. We are waiting for your (good) decision.
Riccardo Nughes [Milan, Italy] wrote (February 14, 2002):
I'm very disappointed for your decision to discontinue Ton Koopman's complete Bach Cantatas recordings. You've also closed Erato and Teldec, two labels very important in the history of classical music recordings. The Bach Cantatas are a monument for the Western Culture: your decision reminds me some crazy guys destroying paintings and statues.
I hope you will reconsider your decision or, at least, please publish the recorded cantatas and keep free Ton Koopman to continue his projects. Obviously your decision will influence my choices as a customer.
Giuseppa Gasparoli [Milan, Italy] wrote (February 14, 2002):
I can't really understand your decision. I've bought all the 12 volumes of Ton Koopman's Bach Cantatas, they're so fine. Why do you want to stop this great series?
Please, keep on!
D. W. Marsh [South Holladay, UT] wrote (February 14, 2002):
Do please add my name to the list of those who would like to see Warner continue the Koopman recording of the complete Bach Cantatas. Is there a chance that another label would pick up the effort if Warner remains determined?
Francesco Minosso wrote (February 14, 2002):
Desidero esprimere il mio rammarico per la decisione di sospendere la pubblicazione dell'integrale delle Cantate di Bach. Spero che possiate recedere da questa decisione.
Gian Luca Marcialis [Cagliati, Italy] wrote (February 14, 2002):
My name is Gian Luca Marcialis. I'm a Bach's music lover. In particular, I bought the first seven volumes of the "Complete Bach Cantatas" series by Ton Koopman. I think it is an excellent recording. I'd like that all recordings were done; hence, I subscribe your request about Bach cantatas recordings by Ton Koopman.
Grzegorz £odyga wrote (Fenbruary 14, 2002):
I have some trouble with my English skills, so I must say it in my own language
Bardzo chcia³bym mieæ mo¿liwo¶æ przes³uchiwania kantat Johanna Sebastiana Bacha tak¿e w wykonaniu Tona Koopmana. Ceniê sobie p³yty tego artysty i je¶li to mo¿liwe, to chcia³bym doczekaæ kompletu Kantat w jego wykonaniu, je¶li nie w tym to w innym wydawnictwie.
Koopman robi kawa³ niez³ej roboty.
Richard Grant wrote (February 15, 2002):
I was alarmed and distressed to learn of Warner/Sony's plans to cancel the Bach/Koopman Cantata series in mid-project. It seems a great shame that an effort so boldly and brilliantly executed and so successfully received should end before the full impact of its achievement can be appreciated. In addition to depriving current Warner/Sony customers of a series they have come to admire and anticipate stopping now would have the far more deleterious effect of depriving the history of these recordings on disc of a worthy and unique contribution. I do hope they will reconsider.
Michael Grover [Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA] wrote (February 15, 2002):
AOL Time Warner:
I am dismayed by your recent decision to suspend release of the complete Bach Cantatas project, which is being admirably brought to the public by Ton Koopman on the Erato label. This is a series of recordings, which has brought much pleasure to myself and to many members of the Bach Cantatas Mailing List and the Bach Recordings Mailing List. More than half of the planned recordings have already been released, and it would be a genuine shame if this project was not seen through to completion. I urge you to reconsider your decision.
In any case, if you do not reconsider, I compliment Mr Koopman on the tremendous Cantata recordings released thus far, and I urge him to do whatever is necessary to secure a new contract with a more visionary record label than the conglomerate that Warner is now an unfortunate part of. I do hope I will see the remainder of the Cantatas released.
Marijke Halberstadt [Overveen, the Netherlands] wrote (February 15, 2002):
I was really shocked when last weekend was announced that Warner Classics had decided to stop their part in Ton Koopman's Bach Cantatas project due to "scale and expense" as it was stated in a press report. There is so much easy and cheap music which is bought by millions of people. And than this and a few other unique projects (other people have indicated: Gardiner, Hogwood - another disgraceful example is the Ring des Nibelungen by Von Dowhich was stopped by Decca after 2 parts) cannot be completed!
We in the Netherlands are lucky that we not only have the CD's but the radio-recordings too of all the cantatas which are broadcasted until now: they have all been performed live in Dutch concert halls just before or after their recording.
I really hope Ton Koopman will find a way to finish this special project. I understood that he is already trying to do so.
Rutger Hofman [Amsterdam, The Netherlands] wrote (February 15, 2002):
I intend to buy all volumes to be issued in Koopman's Bach Cantata cycle.
It is a great pity when the series would be discontinued, especially as the soloists currently have become very good.
Flavio Lorenzelli [Los Angeles, CA, USA] wrote (February 15, 2002):
I was shocked when I first heard the news that Koopman's cantata project had been cancelled by Warner. I have eagerly waited for every new box set and purchased every single one, and would have continued to do so until completion of the project. In my opinion, Koopman's renditions are instant classics and will rank among the best performances of the Bach cantatas for many years to come.
It is for this reason that I want to add my voice to the petition to resume the cantata project. I hope that Warner or another label will provide the means for this commendable undertaking to continue.
Ulvi Yurtsever wrote (February 15, 2002):
I am profoundly disappointed in your decision to cancel Ton Koopman's series of Bach cantatas. I have purchased all of the recordings released so far and I like them better than any available complete set. I urge you to make sure that Koopman's series is carried to completion and is made available to record collectors in one way or another.
Maurizio Frigeni [Roma, Italy] wrote (February 16, 2002):
I have already purchased the first ten volumes of the "Complete Bach Cantatas" series issued by Erato and conducted by Ton Koopman; I think that these performances are of the highest musical quality and the whole series will easily surpass, for its excellence, any similar recording project already on the market.
I was just about to get volumes 11 and 12 when I heard of your decision to stop this series; that sounds like nonsense to me, unless you are willing to make a favour to some rival recording company. I hope you will reconsider your decision and will go on publishing the remaining volumes.
Dominique Couëffé wrote (February 16, 2002);
Veuillez rajouter mon nom à la liste des signataires. Je suis indigné par l'attidude des "décideurs " de la Warner et souhaitent qu'ils aient l'intélligence de revenir sur leur décision. Pour la musique,pour les mélomanes et pour l'image même de leur compagnie.
Bien à vous.
Hans Valeton [Utrecht, The Netherlands] wrote (February 16, 2002):
Dear Warner Bros.,
It would be a real shame to discontinue the Bach Cantata Cycle on record under the inspiring direction of Ton Koopman. Please, please also release the rest of the cantatas as planned!
I am a loyal collector of the series and own a subscription to the series of live performances in four major cities in Holland as well.
Also, I do fervently disagree with other contributors to this petition and am of the opinion that Koopman’s is the only viable recorded series of the complete Bach Cantatas. It may not be perfect but it is still a far cry from the blandness of Suzuki, the vocal inadequacies of the Leusink’s and the abominably shrill and spiritually uninvolved contribution of the boy singers to the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt cycle. The only other (very serious!) contestant would be Herreweghe but he has chosen a selective approach and will never attempt completeness if his words to this effect in his interviews are to be believed.
Since it is abundantly clear that with the current state of affairs in the recording industry it is very unlikely that another serious attempt at a complete Bach Cantata cycle will be attempted, I do hereby passionately urge you, Warner, to carry on with this important task. Bailing out now would be like returning cowardly from a pilgrimage without having reached the Holy Grail.
Ronald van Houdt wrote (February 16, 2002):
Unfortunately I do not have any illusions that supporting this initiative will change anything at Warner's office. But it is nevertheless worth mentioning that after collecting 12 out of 12 issues the news of Warner’s decision to discontinue the Koopman-project took away something, which is very dear to me. Particularly the second half of what is released up till now is balanced, beautiful and very close to perfection. Koopman's outstanding interpretation of absolutely great music gives joy for a lifetime! The series must be continued one way or the other. And if so, I’ll be there!
Peter Jönsson [Lund, Sweden] wrote (February 17, 2002):
I was very upset when I read about Warner’s decision to close Koopman’s cantata project. I have all the volumes up to no.12 and I find them a source of endless fascination. Since Koopman has recorded up to volume 16 and is prepared to go on recording there has to be a solution of some kind. Maybe some kind of subscription.
I know that Warner is a commercial enterprise and have a responsibility towards their shareholders, but they also have a responsibility towards their customers, who do not only buy Bach cantatas.
Marie-Françoise Bourgoin [translator, Secretary of the Pacific Community, Nouméa, New-Caledonia] wrote (February 17, 2002):
I herewith beseech Warner to let Koopman continue his wonderful project, which holds its place among other great recordings of Bach's cantatas. Stopping such an enterprise at mid-term would be a dishonour for Warner.
With kind regards
Yann Morin [Noisy le Grand, France] wrote (February 18, 2002):
The Koopman's project shouldn't be stopped! Your decision is a stupidity! Let Ton Koopman carry his project through to completion!
Uri Karshon wrote (February 19, 2002):
I strongly support the continuation of this project. I think that Ton Koopman is one of the most outstanding Baroque leaders in the world. His Baroque interpretation is very convincing and he should be encouraged to finish his heroic project of recording all Bach Cantatas.
Congratulations for your initiative.
Norbert Splint [freelance journalist and writer] wrote (February 19, 2002):
Does anyone know that Ton Koopman uses the autographs on microfilm during the rehearsals and recordings, and is for that reason on of the few really 'historical' conductors? Just one reason to let the Cantata-project go on.
Fidelis Zelechowski [President du Festival Baroque d'Auvergne] wrote (February 20, 2002):
I write in French because my English is really not fantastic.
Je suis scandalisé par cette décision qui est un manque evident de respect non seulement pour le travail de M. Koopman mais aussi pour son equipe Les melomanes sont decus de ne pas avoir de version revisitee au jour de nos connaissances et du point de vue eminament clairvoyant de M. Ton Koopman qu'ils considèrent comme une des figures les plus marquantes des dernieres decennies, il ne faut pas que la culture du baroque soit mise systematiquement sur la liste des mauvais eleves du plaire a tout prix Nous rentrons dans l'annee du 400 aire de l'ecole Francaise du Clavecin, c'est aussi le 400 aire de la naissance de l'opera Messieurs les Presidents de Warner en prolongeant l'edition des Cantates de Bach par M. Koopman vous travaillez pour vos enfants qui ne vous respecterons pas si vous ne terminez pas ce travail. La Musique Baroque a besoin de reperes et M. Koopman est un repere pour nous Musiciens , il represente ce qu'il y a demieux dans notre musique actuelle
Salutations in Musica
Giuseppe Russo [Napoli, Italy] wrote (February 20, 2002):
Egregi Signori Warner,
il vostro indiscusso prestigio rende fatalmente ogni ciclo editoriale una sorta di "patto tra gentiluomini". Con tale spontanea fiducia ho acquistato gli ottimi volumi sinora pubblicati delle cantate di Bach eseguite da Koopman. Sento dire ora che non intenderecompletare il ciclo. Mi auguro che ciò non corrisponda al vero, ma nel caso lo fosse lo considererei un atto di scarso riguardo, se non addirittura di disprezzo, nei confronti dei vostri clienti. Legalmente sareste anche nel giusto, ma come credete possa uscirne la vostra credibilità commerciale?
Come credete mi comporterò nei riguardi delle vostre future pubblicazioni?
Mi fermo qui, augurandomi un lieto fine.
Lex Gunnink [Musicologist, Zwolle, The Netherlands] wrote (February 20, 2002):
When I heard about Warner’s decision to cancel future volumes of the Bach Cantata Cycle, my first reaction was one of profound disbelief.
Koopman's cantata cycle belongs to the very, very best from the artistic point of view to have been released ever by Warner. How on earth is it possible that Warner is simply canceling such a project, bringing us the best music composed ever performed by one of the best Warner-artists ever? I urge Warner to reconsider this decision, which would be a profound shame for Warner Classical. A well-known Dutch phrase says, "Alles van waarde is weerloos" (i.e. "Everything precious is defenseless"). Please save the Bach-Cantata project!
Rudy van Doorn [D&D Office Support] wrote (February 21, 2002):
The Cantata-project of Ton Koopman must go on! You can't stop a project that is as successful as this one.
Robert Wilson wrote (February 21, 2002):
I of course fully understand Warner's decision to discontinue Koopman's Bach Cantata series on financial grounds.
I assume, that applying the same criteria, Warner will be refunding all of us who have invested our hard earned crusts in the "Complete Cantatas" (that's what it says on the box).
I look forward to receiving my cheque in order that I may buy elsewhere what Warner said they were selling me - Bach's Complete Cantatas.
Gideon Haran [Tel Aviv, Israel] wrote (February 21, 2002):
I would like to ask Warner to reconsider their decision about the Koopman cycle. The scope of this project should be considered beyond the scope of normal CFO decisions because of the following:
1. Probably the greatest contribution of our time to the music history is the recorded music - just think how valuable would be to here Bach or Paganini play.
2. The challenge to record such a cycle takes almost a lifetime dedication of a conductor and soloist - it’s easy to start but it takes so many years to accomplish. Who knows if and when such a cycle will be re-recorded completely?
1+2 If it were just a single CD I wouldn’t mind but generations to come may regret that they had only few examples of how we - the 20\21 century had perceptions about Bach.
Personally I think the cycle is good (not excellent) but having one more full cycle really makes a difference.
Hope you will change your minds, If you do you can use this email as PR.
Mark J. St. Hilaire wrote (February 21, 2002):
Back in 1996, after purchasing the Helmut Rilling Bach Cantata Series on Hänssler CDs, I was content with already owning two complete sets of the Bach Cantatas--the other being Harnoncourt on Teldec. Then I purchased Koopman's Volume 1 on Erato!!--I decided right then that this is the set I want to own! From that time on, I've purchased the next installment each time a new volume has become available. These are by far the best performances of these extraordinary works I've come across, and I can say this because I've listened to the other complete sets, which are major accomplishments in their own right. The enclosed booklets are also beautifully laid-out, with excellent liner notes by Christoph Wolff, whose Bach books I happily own! This whole project is the best thing any major record company has ever embarked on! Please continue with this noble project, and please do not withdraw--it would be a great loss for all of us who love great representations of the greatest music!
Peter Gidl wrote (February 21, 2002):
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,
Welch eine Tragödie, dieses epochemachende Projekt in diesem Stadium zu stoppen. Ich besitze alle bisher erschienenen Volumes. Es gibt bislang noch keine "moderne", wissenschaftlichen Ansprüchen genügende Einspielung auf historischem Instrumentarium. Die Aufnahme mit Harnoncourt/Leonhardt ist keineswegs ein Ersatz, da sich die Spielweise auf historischen Instrumenten stark verbessert hat. Auch die Aufnahmetechnik ist eine andere. Die Qualität der Gesamteinspielung ist auf einem derart hohen Level, daß zu fragen ist, warum nicht andere Projekte, die weit weniger anspruchsvoll sind, gestrichen werden.
Für mich aber am meisten unverständlich ist, daß die Musik eines der - nach Ansicht von Wissenschaftern und Laien zugleich - unumstritten größten Genies zu wenig Ansporn für eine Fortführung und einen Abschluß darstellt.
Es zeugt von betrieblicher, kalkulatorischer und charakterlicher Schwäche ein Projekt, das "Complete Cantatas" heißt, nach mehr als der Hälfte einfach abzubrechen und unfertig dem Publikum zu überlassen.
Willem Brouwer wrote (February 22, 2002):
I would love to see the project continue. Bought Volume 1 to 12 and would surely buy 13 to 22.
Mark Baker [Weeley, Essex, UK] wrote (February 22, 2002):
I sincerely hope that this cycle continues to completion. I have been delighted with the recordings thus far and aim to collect the whole series.
C.A. Peck wrote (February 23, 2002):
Warner's decision is illustrative of globalization as an enemy of culture. I suggest we organize a boycott of all Warner products and a maximum smear of the Warner name. Only by trying to hurt Warner financially and commercially can we obtain any result.
Talk around you, give maximum publicity to this decision of a moronic, materialistic arsehole.
Marcel Keukens [Holland] wrote (February 24, 2002):
It was quite of a shock to hear the bad news about the discontinuation of the Cantatas / Koopman project. It's been only recently that I've been getting aquainted with Bach's Cantatas through these wonderfully Koopman recordings; it's been a fantastic journey for me (and I think I can speak for many others) which perhaps may come to an abrupt halt. Ton Koopman is one of the world's leading figures when it gets to performing Bach's music, especially the Cantatas. Do we all really have to BEG Warner for the continuation of this project? I guess so. It's a shame...
Hans Tijssen [Conductor, Huygens Music VOF, Hattem, The Netherlands] wrote (February 24, 2002):
Dear Warner Music,
As a fan of Bach, and especially his cantatas, I find it a great shame that you have decided to stop releasing Ton Koopman's recordings of this fine music. Please carry this project through to completion. What a shame if this does not happen... another great classical project that ends up half-finished.
Marion van Sinttruije/Jan Willem Steffelaar wrote (February 24, 2002):
Is't a crying shame that a project like this should be stopped. What if Shakespeare's collected works were taken off the shelves? Bach's cantates have not even been on the shelves apart from old and partly bad recordings from the sixties and seventies!!! This is the only quality performance which is also complete. The only three of comparable standard are Herreweghe, Suzuki and they are far from complete. Only dozens, out of over 200. Gardiner is a second best, but not in the premier league.
Please finish this project!
Alex McGehee wrote (February 24, 2002):
Warner's decision (financial though it may be) is unconscionable. AOL-Warner has a responsibility to the cultural heritage of the world to follow through on its commitment to the Koopman Bach Cantata Series. A promise is a promise. Is there any integrity left in corporate America? Perhaps we should begin petitioning our lawmakers to remove the many tax advantages AOL-Warner enjoys. Why should the benefit of any taxpayer largesse continue while Warner breaks its word and floods the world with meaningless drivel. Many of us knew that these corporate giants would produce a rotten cultural fruit. I will boycott all Warner products, movies, magazines, AOL, books, and recordings until this decision is reversed. I suggest you do the same!
BRING BACK THE BACH CANTATAS
Peter Bloemendaal [Singer of Holland Boys Choir] wrote (February 24, 2002):
My first reaction on reading your decision to discontinue the release of the Koopman cantatas cycle was one of disbelief and indignation. You owe it to Koopman and his musicians and moreover to all those music lovers who have already bought several if not all volumes released so far to finish this important project.
However, if all the albums already completed can be reissued under a new label at a lower price, they will be even more accessible to a much larger public worldwide, so that in the end we might actually say: Thank you Warner for granting the honours to others!
Nelly de Hoog [Apeldoorn, Netherlands] wrote (February 24, 2002):
Please: continue the Bach-cantates!
I will buy them all!
Reinder van Mastrigt [Netherlands] wrote (February 24, 2002):
In my opinion Warner's decision to stop the Cantata project is very unlucky for all of us who have purchased the earlier volumes and expected to finally get an integral collection of all Bach cantatas by first class performers. So far I have bought every volume.
I therefore would appreciate the completion of the project, as it was presented to the public some 8 years ago. I think Warner owes that to us.
Jean Louis Vigneresse [Universite H Poincare, Vandoeuvre/Nancy, France] wrote (February 25, 2002):
I do not appreciate at all your suggestion of cancelling the issuing of complete Bach's cantatas, conducted by Tom Koopman.
When you started issuing the series, your ad was mentioning a full recording, which, at that time was the unique issue, with the Altwerk case of 40 CD by G. Leonhardt and L. Harnoncourt. The only competing series is the one conducted by M Susuki, edited by Bis. However those have only issued 15 single records, which is quite half the Erato's series.
The first issues of the Tom Koopman cantatas revealed a success, since they were quasi systematically indexed by most of professional journals (Le Monde de la Musique, Diapason, Gramophone, Goldberg).
I have to say that, compared to the Harnoncourt's edition, the recording by Tom Koopman includes the most recent thinkings about putting emotion into Bach's music. In consequence the two series cannot be listened with the same reference level. This could be compared to the fact that Deutsche Gramophone would like to re-issue the Richter 's or the Karjan's performances of Bach's work. It would failed (and it failed).
Now you have issued 12 boxes (about 36-40 CD) of the whole set. You are at the 2/3 of the job (and the remaining issues deal with the Leipzing years, the most interesting ones).
In consequence I would appreciate
- you complete the series, because it offers an opportunity to discover new interpretation
- this could be done without too much effort, compared to re-issuing for the x time some Vivaldi concerti or the Four Seasons)
- you still stay on your promises to those people who make the effort of buying interesting music
Jim Groeneveld [Netherlands] wrote (February 25, 2002):
I regret very much the consequences of the taking over of Erato (and others) by Warner, the consequences of taking over companies in general: limiting the power to a more and more limited number of more and more mighty people, the forced dismissal of employees and the changing views and decisions on limiting or eliminating existing activities, all very likely motivated by the power of money, as often. Don't let the power of money dominate, but let the power of beauty and enjoyment have its chance.
Dr. Franz Finsterwalder wrote (February 25, 2002):
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
It is very disappointing to hear about your plans of giving up Koopman`s Bach-Cantatas cycle. Please, please stop this stupid plan look foward to a with ethusiasm waiting auditorium of Bach-and Koopman fans!!!!
With best regards,
W.L. (Bart) Hengeveld wrote (February 25, 2002):
This indeed is a very unlucky decision to discontinue the production of the complete J.S. Bach cantata series by Ton Koopman and his Orchestra and Choir. Indeed I find that you are showing great disrespect, not only for Koopman and his fellow performers, but also for us, your customers as well. I have been buying every single CD issued from this series, and I have always very glad with the project.
I hope that you will consider to reverse your decision, or to take appropriate steps to guarantee the continuation of the project through other means, eg. by engaging another company to take over. I suggest Naxos as a possibility.
Brian Barfield [Londn, England] wrote (February 25, 2002):
I was stunned by your decision not to proceed with the Koopman complete Bach cantatas project and would ask you to reconsider. The reputation and profile of your group with serious collectors throughout the world will be irreparably damaged by this short sighted action. You should look at the long term profits you will undoubtedly loose by abandoning this scholarly and intensely musical undertaking at this stage.
Frank Jacobs [Capelle aan den IJssel] wrote (February 25, 2002):
Tonight I will once again visit one of Koopman's Cantata performances in De Doelen in Rotterdam. After this it always a great joy when the discs are in the store, so I can re-enjoy this evening. I still remember Ton Koopman's enthousiasm when he told about this project at the eve of it. So please continue, Bach deserves it, Ton Koopman deserves it and we deserve it.
Gabriel Chacón [Barcelona, Spain] wrote (February 25, 2002):
To whom it may concern in Warner,
I am deeply struck by the fact that Koopman's Bach Cantatas project is about to stop before its completion. I want to think that there are strong business reasons to make such a decision, but yet I find very difficult to prove that these arguments are other than of a business nature. Instead, there are many good reasons to go on with the project --artistically, musically, culturally speaking. I just hope that you realize that completing the cycle is a very wise decision in the long run.
Please, carry on! Do not let down so many Bach lovers and Koopman's fans throughout the world.
Larry C. Shackley wrote (February 26, 2002):
I have loved the music of Bach all my life, but had never truly begun to appreciate the depth and scope of Bach's cantatas until Ton Koopman began his integral recording on Erato. I have purchased every volume in the series and had looked forward to completing my set. This music is a landmark in Western culture, a high point of human achievement that has stood the test of 250 years of history, yet Warner is willing to throw it away in deference to music which is designed to wear out in 30 days or less. It's a shame that this greedy conglomerate has bought up and destroyed several worthy classical labels, putting an end to beautiful, meaningful projects like Koopman's Bach series.
H. Olofsen [Netherlands] wrote (February 26, 2002):
Only last night I was at a concert of Ton Koopman and his orchestra in Rotterdam. They performed several Bach-cantatas. I have been going to these concerts for nearly eight years now and I have bought all the subsequent issues of the Bach-cantatas recordings. This is a wonderfull and unique project that should not be discontinued. A record company that starts such a large scale project should see it through to the end. Stopping now is disgrace and doesn't look on Warner at all. What are they any way, Philistines?
Haim Weintraub [Israel] wrote (February 26, 2002):
…It is a real shame that a project like bach's cantata's falls in face of non artistic considerations. I hope the decision is reversable and that the project would be fulfiled with great success and beauty.
Dr. Richard Plantinga [Department of Religion and Theology, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, USA] wrote (February 26, 2002):
To whom it may concern:
I am most disconcerted about Warner's decision to suspend Ton Koopman's Bach cantata series. Some years ago, I made a careful decision to make Koopman's cycle my complete setof the Bach cantatas. Accordingly, I have purchased each new volume as it was released. To get three quarters of the way through the project and then suspend it -- especially in light of less than ample and outstanding competition -- does not show Warner's faithful customers much respect, let alone Koopman and his band of artists. I urge Warner to rethink its decision.
Gerrit Ravesloot [Netherlands] wrote (February 26, 2002):
Shame on you!!!!
Geert Hein [Moordrecht, Holland] wrote (February 26, 2002):
I was really shocked when was announced that Warner Classics had decided to stop their part in Ton Koopman’s Bach Cantatas project.
Please, don't stop this project. I have bought all the volumes of the cantatas. You can't stop it now. Please: continue the Bach cantatas project.
Dr. Moira Laidlaw [UK] wrote (February 27, 2002):
I hope this e-mail will touch your heart, because I think it is only heart that may communicate to you. Although you might wonder at the style of this, I can assure you I am sincere.
This evening, listening to Volume 11 of Ton Koopman's rendition of Bach's miraculous cantatas, especially BWV 127 which I didn't know before buying this volume, I happened upon the Bach cantata website. Talk about chance! I had no idea that the wonderful Ton Koopman intepretations were to be discontinued. I wonder what justifies this. I have never collected volumes of work before until I heard Koopman's 'Actus Tragicus', and was captivated straightaway. I have recently on a trip to England bought volumes 11 and 12.
All my life, since I was seven years old, I have loved Bach's music. It is a pathway to God and I am not even a Christian! Through Bach, I understand something of the beauty and complexity of the universe. Through Koopman and his musicians, I have found even greater depths, a beauty of interpretation that complements the genius of one of the greatest composers. The thought that this unique collection will not be finished is hardly bearable. I am doing voluntary service in one of the poorest areas in China, and these works enable me to keep a sense of balance and proportion. Quite simply, this music, interpreted through Koopman's exceptional flair, is definitive, more than simply important, a version that will, I believe, be honoured for years to come, because it touches the essence of Bach's intentions - to glorify the numinous in our existence. When we no longer revere that, then what, may I ask, is left?
I understand there may be financial considerations, but it is a sad and lost society when such cases are not made exceptions. You have the power to make a really significant decision.
Simon Harinck [Organ player and Bach-lover, Netherlands] wrote (February 27, 2002):
I purchased already volume 1 to 9 of this extremely fine performance of the Bach cantatas. I believe this cantata cycle can be mentioned as the best of the world today. I would like it very much if it will be completed. Please, go on.
HPA Meulendijks wrote (February 27, 2002):
Please, don't stop the Koopman project. I have bought all the volumes of the cantatas. I love this music and the interpretation of Koopman. You can't stop it now!
With best Regards
Cor Knops [Webmaster Ton Koopman Website] wrote (February 28, 2002):
I just completed a page on the Koopman-site which deals with the Warner-issue. On it is a statement by Ton Koopman and a link to the petition page. Onfortunately it is only in dutch for this moment. We're waiting for the english translation.... (Kirk: you don't do dutch-english translations do you ??? ;-) ).
You can find the page at http://www.tonkoopman.nl and then click the dutch version of the site.
I'll let you know as soon as the English version is available.
Ing. Enrico Bortolazzi [Verona, Italy] wrote (February 28, 2002):
I add myself to the list of partecipants in the petition. And to point out that we are from various countries (globalization!) I write my message in Italian.
Egregi signori della Warner,
Egregio signor Koopman ritengo molto preoccupante il fatto che un progetto che ha raggiunto giá metá del suo corso venga interrotto. I risultati artistici ottenuti fin qui dimostrano che il progetto, la sua idea era valida. Non giudico gli aspetti economici nè i motivi della fermata, non dubito siano validi. Peró mi preoccupa molto che si decida di interrompere a questo punto, da parte di una casa musicale che ho sempre apprezzato per le sue scelte. Forse lo spirito di anni fa non esiste piú.
Ringrazio il signor Koopman per quello fatto finora e gli auguro di poter terminare il suo lavoro nel migliore dei modi.
Yascha van den Berg [Student Assessor LUMC, CB Leiden, Netherlands] wrote (February 28, 2002):
To whom this may concern,
I would like to support the Petition. I'm a student of medicine in the Netherlands and most students are not too rich. Therefore I can call myself a Bach-addict and especially a Cantata-addict, when I consider I already collected 12 volumes of this magnificent project.
I'm not a culture-pessimist, but considering enormous ammounts of money are spent for sport-events, mindless pop-music, Harry Potter, bad films, bad television-programmes... in stead for conserving the monuments of civilisation, makes me feel really sad.
I wish the Ton Koopman and the ABO all the best. The Time Warner board of directors should read some good books, listen to some good music and reconsider their strange decision.
Kees Nottrot [Organist of the Albertus Antoni Hinsz-organ (1781) in Bolsward, The Netherlands] wrote (February 28, 2002):
Please add my voice to any petition to Warner to re-instate the Koopman cantata cycle:
As a admirer of Bach, like all musicians, I'm very disappointed for your decision to discontinue Ton Koopman's superb recordings of this unique music. Since there are already 36 of 66 discs released, and several others recorded, it would make sense to carry this project through to completion. What a shame if this does not happen. It could be an great monument in recording history...
Ehud Shiloni [Tel Aviv, Israel] wrote (February 28, 2002):
Please reconsider! You may have underestimated both your potential loss of reputation and the future "library" value of the complete cycle.
When you renege on your implied promise to carry the Cantatas project to its finish line you invoke strong negative emotions. I have personally purchased - at full price, as have many others - all the 12 sets issued so far, and it was my intention to follow such practice to the end, but now I am faced with anger, frustration and a slight sense of having been treated with contempt. Such feelings, multiplied by many, are bound to dent your reputation.
The Bach Cantatas contain some of the most inspired music ever created, and Koopman gives this superb music a top quality delivery. There may be different opinions and tastes as far as the finer details and manners of interpretation of one piece or another, but there is universal agreement that the entire project is rendered to the highest professional and artistic standards, and that the assembled performing musicians and their output are first rate. In terms of execution, the results are worthy of your ambitious undertaking to produce the complete cycle, and to terminate the series now will send an unfavorable message to creators of art about Warner as a place to go to when they want their creative output brought to the consumer of art.
Regarding the long-term "library" value of the Series, please remember that the music of Bach's Cantatas has not been universally well known and it is not very frequently performed. Strangely, though, much of this music ignite intense emotions with almost anyone who takes the time to get to know it. Hence, it is safe to assume that its future holds much greater acceptance with the general public. As delivery methods improve, it will emerge that many dozens of arias and other gems out of the many hundreds of individual movements included in the Bach Cantawill have found their way into routine "consumption" by music lovers. The value of the right "content" ownership will grow exponentially [Suffice to realize that out of some fifty different ring-tones offered by my cell-phone operator nearly ten are tunes by J.S. Bach! Not bad for a dead white guy!].
Please try to fully explore innovative ideas for the financing of the remaining balance of the series - many investment bankers who are music fans will agree to assist.
Roland Leppin [Köln, Germany] wrote (February 28, 2002):
Please, don't stop the Koopman project. I have bought all the volumes of the cantatas. I love this music and the interpretation of Koopman. You can't stop it now!
With best Regards
Ferd Op de Coul [Son., NL] wrote (March 1, 2002):
Ik vind het schandalig dat Warner is gestopt met deze prachtige reeks Bach-cantates. Zelfs al zou dit projekt verliesgevend zijn, dan blijft het toch een geweldig stuk artistiek prestige? Ik kan dit kortzichtig denken niet begrijpen noch waarderen. En ik ben blij dat hoe dan ook, de serie wordt voortgezet. Ik hoop dat weldra een label met meer gewetensvolle bestuurders dan Warner wordt gevonden die dit Bachprojekt willen continueren. Ik wens Ton Koopman c.s. veel succes.
D. Boschman en T. Boschman-Middelkamp [Hoog – Keppel, Netherlands] wrote (March 1, 2002):
we regret that the interesting project will be stopped by Warner; please recall your decision.
Dirk van Dijk [Hattem, the Netherlands] wrote (March 1, 2002):
Dear Mr. Oron.
I heard the bad news, the series of Bach cantatas will come to an end, if nothing happens.
Please continue the series. It is a fine example of how Bach's cantatas should sound.
Please, a lot has been destroyed, let this show go on!
Petros Linardos [Athens, Greece] wrote (March 2, 2002):
Hereby join the chorus of Ton Koopman fans who hope to see his Bach Cantatas recordings completed. I can see it become a major landmark recording that will offer me and many others countless hours of endless pleasure and leisure.
Ruth Bolt [Rev. drs. Govert Joh. Bach, Amsterdam, Netherlands] wrote (March 2, 2002):
I like to agree with the critics on Warner concerning their not finishing the production of the Bach-cantate-cycle. By their desicion they show they are losing any moral right to edit such outstanding performances.' Pearls for swines' . I hope musiclovers will boycot the other Warnerproducts.
Is this Americanism? is this the way culturebarbarians are dictating their globalised taste for bad and uniform, but good-selling music?
Let's support Ton Koopman in his fine and excellent achievement.
Govert Jan Bach wrote (March 2, 2002):
Please, did you receive my mail in good order?
Uri Golomb [King's College, Cambridge, United Kingdom] wrote (March 3, 2002):
I would definitely want my name added to any petition against the termination of Koopman's cantata project. More importantly, perhaps (as it looks as if Warner's decision, however regrettable, is now final), I would like to salute Ton Koopman's fighting spirit and his determination to continue with this valuable project, and wish him, his ensembles and whichever company takes over the project, the best of luck with the completion of this important series.
Unfortunately, Warner's behaviour is all-too-typical of the short-sighted, Philistine approach sometimes displayed by some of the bigger recording companies. (Not always: the same corporation that terminated Koopman's project has taken over the Ligeti project abandoned by Sony... Is the latter project really more profitable financially? Or is it just a matter of different executives in the same corporation, operating to different set of ideals?) How is it that smaller companies, which presumably have a more precarious financial basis, actually manage to complete such projects much more consistently? I guess genuine passion for music, and belief in it, are essential.
All the best,
Prof. Dr. M. Can Karatay [Istanbul University, Istanbul Medical Faculty, Turkey] wrote (March 3, 2002):
It's a shame to announce "complete" and to abandon it in the mid way. There must be a legal action against Warner. What can be done? Hoping that the beaitiful cycle will continue.
Holger Laaks [METRO AG, Finanzmanagement, Düsseldorf, Germany] wrote (March 4, 2002):
It is the opinion of many Europeans, that there is a big American company buying Teldec and Erato only for one reason: to destroy them. Please show us, that this could not be the truth, that culture also in America has a worth in itsself and therefore please continue this important cycle!
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
A.P. Nijsse [Netherlands] wrote (March 4, 2002):
Gelukkig kan Koopman door!
Het is natuurlijk een blamage voor een bedrijf als Warner-classics om zo'n important project zomaar stop te zetten. Verheugend is het daarom te vernemen dat deze cyclus afgemaakt kan worden.
Het zou Warner sieren wanneer ze hieraan een krachtige bijdrage zou leveren.
Arie Versluijs [Thieme MediaCenter Rotterdam, Netherlands] wrote (March 5, 2002):
(Not so) Dear Warner,
What is this? Cancelling the remaining cantatas is a major mistake. Who on earth has the nerve to do so. Come to your senses and go on with this project.
Dr Peter Luemmen [Idstein, Germany] wrote (March 5, 2002):
Dear Aryeh Oron,
Please let me join the petition to continue Ton Koopman´s Bach Cantata Project by sending the following statement to Warner Music: To whom it may concern I was deeply disappointed when I noticed that Warner Classics decided to discontinue Ton Koopman´s Bach Cantata Project. In particular, the transparency and fine balance of voices and instruments made it one of my favourite recordings of Bach´s vocal music.
I speculate that, as in many other cases today, cultural considerations fell behind non-?)profitability expectations on Warner´s side. Of course, turnover figures in the classical music industry collapsed last year. But who, if not a media giant like AOL Time Warner, should be able to bring this important mid-term project to completion even on transiently difficult economical terms?
I still hope that Warner management re-considers the decision and feels responsible for the extraordinary musicians that started and still work on the project and the Bach enthusiasts looking forward to a complete contemporary collection of Bach´s cantatas - and became Warner´s customers.
Marieke van der Laan [Heeze, the Netherlands] wrote (March 5, 2002):
I was very sorry to hear of the discontinuation of the Bach Cantatas project. I already own 6 volumes, and intent to complete my collection. They are among the favorites of my CD collection. So, please finish the project!
Marjon Vink [Netherlands] wrote (March 7, 2002):
I fully agree with you that the Bach-cantates have to be continued, because of the Quality, the historic importance of the Koopman-interpretation and the succesfull salability of the project.
I wish you and ton koopman a lot of success with the action to continue the project.
With musical regards,
Joost van Bree [Nieuw Vennep, The Netherlands] wrote (March 7, 2002):
I was deeply shocked to find out that you intend to stop Ton Koopman's Cantatas series, a series that, in my humble view, has already achieved monumental status and that was well underway to become an extraordinary landmark in recording history.
Being a public company, you should realize that you have a genuine responsibility towards all of your stakeholders.
Needless to say that both the Artist and the customer should be viewed as primary stakeholders, that deserve respect and consideration, taking into account the commitment that was made at the very start of this series.
Breaking earlier public commitments towards stakeholders is nowadays rightly viewed as a case in point of malignant management and erroneous corpororate governance and it will undoubtedly deeply affect the perception of your company within the tightly-knit community of performing Artist's and their dedicated listeners.
I would strongly advise you to duely accept your responsibility that was created by your earlier commitments and reconsider and revoke your unwise decision.....
Ed LJ Geerlings [Utrecht, The Netherlands] wrote (March 9, 2002):
I you persist in intending to stop Ton Koopman Bach Cantates Project, I will promise you I will stop buying Warner CDs for at least two years. The twelve CDs I bought so far and any other label will help me to get through this era.
Henk Jan Out [The Netherlands] wrote (March 9, 2002):
I am really very annoyed by the decision of Warner to discontinue the recording of the Bach Cantatas by Koopman. I started to buy them some years ago with the expectation that indeed the "complete" cantatas would be there some time. What is the purpose of calling it "complete" cantatas when the record company can pull out whenever they want? I sincerely hope Koopman continues and finds an alternative record company. The recordings are of great quality and I enjoy nearly on a daily basis this fantastic music. I made one decision: I will not buy any record in the future from the Warner label.
Bernard Nys [Pastoor Coplaan, Burcht, Belgium] wrote (March 10, 2002):
The Bach Year is finished, but this does not mean that you have to interrupt a recording series of the complete cantatas. There's a need for a authentic DDD series on period instruments. Herreweghe does not want to record all the cantatas. So, let Ton Koopman continue his job.
Franz Fischer [Rechtsanwalt, Präsident des Bach Ensemble Luzern, Luzern, Switzereland] wrote (March 11, 2002):
Sehr geehrte Aryeh Oron
Ich bin entsetzt über den Entschluss der Warner Group, die Produktion der Bach-Kantaten-Aufnahmen mit Ton Koopman einzustellen! Allerdings wundert es mich wenig, dass das Projekt bisher keinen wirtschaftlichen Erfolg gezeitigt hat. Es fehlt jedes Marketing! Es ist mir absolut unverständlich, dass für Vermarktung der musikalisch hochstehenden Aufnahmen (zumindest in der Schweiz) bisher nichts getan wurde.
Als Käufer der Volumen 1 - 12 habe ich aufgrund der Versprechungen von Erato erwartet, im Laufe der Zeit über einen kompletten Bach-Kantatensatz mit Ton Koopman zu verfügen. Ich hoffe nicht, dass Erato mich getäuscht hat. Ich behalte mir daher sämtlichen rechtlichen Schritte gegen Erato vor, sollte diese Firma das Projekt mit Ton Koopman entgegen Ihren seinerzeitigen Versprechungen abbrechen. Ich danke Ihnen für Ihr Engagement in dieser Sache!
Bernhard Steidele [Munich, Germany] wrote (March 11, 2002):
To all friends of music,
It seems time has come that now media giants as Warner dare to trample down big artists as Koopman. It's a shame that this wonderfull Bach project is discontinued by (sorry, I must say it) ignorant blind commercial interests. I hope Koopman will find anyhow a way to finish his Bach cantata cycle, surely the best cycle till now.
Giovanni Mannino [Italy] wrote (March 11, 2002):
I would be very surprised that Warner people will change their decisions. I presume they do not hear music as we do but they are looking only to profits.
Crazy people! That's really a shame!
Kees Bulder [Holland] wrote (March 11, 2002):
I am a great admirerer of Bach, his cantates and the interpretation of Ton Koopman. It would be a shame to stop this wonderful project. Money can't be the reason to make so many people unhappy.
Tito Ceccherini [Milano, Italia] wrote (March 13, 2002):
I join the petition reacting against the absurd decision taken by Warner to discontinue the Bach-Cantata project. I'm glad to see that Ton Koompan is going to continue anyway, and I admire his work and his strength: please, go on!
Noboru Ianis Satou [Japan] wrote (March 14, 2002):
Dear AOL TIME WARNER,
I long the completion of Koopman's Bach catatas project.
His Interpretation shows us a new aspect of Bach's music.
Please, go on the project
Werner Spulak [Groß-Gerau, Germany] wrote (March 21, 2002):
I am a great fan of Bach music and enjoy the interpretation of Ton Koopman and his crew. The more this recent interpretation shows great enthousiasm and excellent recording quality.
Please do continue on a high standard level for the pleasure of the listener and the music lover of bach-music.
Peter Deinhammer [Austria] wrote (March 24, 2002):
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren!
musste ich vernehmen, dass Warner die Gesamteinspielung der Bachkantaten mit Koopman einstellen will!
bin ich deshalb, weil es zur Aufnahmequalität sowohl in musikalischer, als auch in technischer Hinsicht keine adäquate Alternative gibt.
bin ich auch deshalb, weil zu viele Kantaten, auf die ich mich schon lange freue (z.B. Ein feste Burg... , Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen, und viele wunderbare kleinere Werke) , noch nicht erschienen sind.
bin ich, weil mir durch den Abbruch der Serie ein wichtiger Teil der Musik Bachs verborgen bleibt. Zu schade, dass man nicht bereit ist, die Musik eines absoluten Superstars der abendländischen Kultur in einer überzeugenden Interpretation einer breiten Öffentlichkeit zugängig zu machen. Aufnahmen in dieser Qualität technisch herstellen zu können, ist ein Phänomen des späten 20. Jahrhunderts. Keine Epoche der Geschichte hatte bisher diese Möglichkeit offen. Gute Aufnahmen sind mittlerweile vergleichsweise billig herzustellen und sie eignen sich deshalb längst als Massenware. Die Frage nach den Inhalten, mit denen man dieses moderne Massenmedium füllt, ist aber dadurch um so relevanter geworden! Zu vieles wird veröffentlicht, das zur Inflation des Mediums Compact Disc führt (wobei es meist keine finanziellen Probleme gibt!). Eine Serie der kompletten Bachkantaten mit Ton Koopman ist ein starkes Gegengewicht zum allgemeinen Verflachungs- und Inflationstrend. Das Projekt wird durch die Fusion einer aufnahmetechnischen Meisterleistung, hochwertigste Kompositionen und hervorragender Musizierweise gewissermaßen zu einem künstlerischen Beitrag zur modernen Kultur. Künstlerische Akzente fragen aber bekanntlich nicht primär nach merkantiler Verwertbarkeit, sondern sie fragen viel mehr nach dem kulturpolitischen Kontext, aus dem sie sich herausbilden. Dieser Kontext erschließt sich aus der Kontroverse zwischen Wirtschaft und Kultur. Dass es viele Musiken gibt, die gewinnbringender verkauft werden können, als die Musik Bachs, liegt auf der Hand. Dies ist aber keine Erkenntnis, zu der man erst nach 12 Volumes gelangen kann. Dass Bach nicht zur hochfrequentierten Popmusik gehört, sollte für einen auf Klassik spezialisierten CD - Produzenten wie Erato zu jeder Zeit klar sein. Jetzt geht es darum, eine klare Position zu beziehen im Widerstreit zwischen den beiden Fronten. Die Musik zieht durch ihre unwiderstehliche Schönheit in ihren Bann und gibt so ihrerseits auf charmante Weise eine konkrete Entscheidungshilfe!
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Sam King [Helensburgh, England] wrote (March 26, 2002):
Please add my comments to any response you are making to Warner Classics re the above. This decision is in my view very unfortunate, but it does demonstrate two things. Warner Classics is not really interested in classical music – only in making money. They obviously have no feeling of commitment to their classical music customers. Secondly they obviously care not about the quality of their output – to stop a series so close to completion seems crazy.
This however seems to be the way of things with CD companies at present. I only wish I could buy more music from the artists themselves and bypass these companies altogether. I don’t suppose they’d even miss me which is the saddest thing.
I hope they reconsider this move, and your series has my continuing support.
Warner Music’s Response
Southall, Brian [WMI, Baker ST, London, England] wrote (March 22, 2002):
Dear Mr Oron
Mr Matthew Cosgrove, the head of our UK-based classsical division, forwarded to me your correspondence and petition concerning the Ton Koopman recordings of the Bach Cantatas. Below you will find a statement which I would ask you to please forward, via your website, to your fellsupporters and petitioners.
Warner Classics took the decision not to continue with the recording of the Bach Cantatas, featuring Ton Koopman, for sound commercial reasons in the light of the declining sales of the first 12 volumes.
However, we do hope to reach an agreement with Mr Koopman which will allow him the rights to re-release these 12 volumes alongside the remaining volumes as and when they are recorded and assigned to another record company.
We appreciate your interest in, and enthusiasm for, these recordings of the Bach Cantatas but our decision not to continue with this project is final. We now consider this matter at a close and respectfully advise you that we are not able to enter into any further dialogue on the subject.
I hope you feel able to forward this statement from Warner Music International to your website.
With thanks and best regards
Geert Janssen [Melick, Holland] wrote (March 27, 2002):
Please don't stop the cantates-project.
I always look out for the next volume. I enjoy it verry much.
Please go on !!!!
Giacomo Serra [Scrivo da Bologna, Italia] wrote (March 29, 2002):
Mi chiamo Giacomo Serra. Scrivo da Bologna, Italia.
Cari signori, mi unisco con voi nella petizione per la casa produttrice dei CD delle cantate di Bach.
Sono completamente d'accordo con l'idea che la serie completa della registrazione di tutte le cantate non debba essere interrotta. Nonostante io non abbia mai comprato uno di quei cd, sono sicuro che essi siano di alta qualità, possiedo infatti altre mirabili registrazioni del Signor Koopman.
Spero il mio messaggio possa essere di aiuto
Marc B.C. Tinga [the Netherlands] wrote (March 29, 2002):
Dear (?) Warner Group,
Business is business, as usual.
But whatever you decide, you do not understand this:
Warner is mortal.
Bach is eternal.
J. Brian Watkins wrote (March 31, 2002):
A shabby way to treat customers!
I have invested in every volume released thus far in the cantata project.
I will purchase the remaining volumes from whomever publishes them. I am very, very disappointed in the decision of Warner Classics. I can only express my dissatisfaction by voting with my dollars to support other labels.
Emmanuel Becquart [Dunkerque, France] wrote (April 1, 2002):
"Le vaisseau Warner prend l'eau" Diapason 489 Février 2002:
"Le discours officiel se veut rassurant.Mais tout laisse à penser que la multinationale new-yorkaise est en train de se désengager de la production de disques classiques".
"Une mise au point du nouveau directeur de Warner Classics"Diapason Mars 2002:
"Nous ne sommes pas en train de saborder notre ligne artistique...
"Vos lecteurs peuvent être rassurés que pour l'avenir, Warner continuera à éditer et à enregistrer des disques classiques...
Matthew Cosgrove directeur général Warner Classics GB"
Commentaire de Diapason :"Nous prenons acte de votre réponse en espèrant pour l'intérêt de tous que les projets annoncés seront tenus...
Voilà le résultat ! c'est inadmissible
Je suis très déçu d'apprendre de Ton Koopman que la brillante série d'enregistrement des cantates s'arrête. C'est un manque total de respect vis à vis de Ton Koopman de son orchestre et ses brillants interprètes et un dénigrement des clients qui guettaient avec impatience la sortie du prochain coffret. et se trouvent avec une intégrale à moitié réalisée.
Continuez Monsieur Koopman. Sans Warner. Tous nous vous suivrons.
H.E. van den Burger-Gunnink (the Netherlands] wrote (April 1, 2002):
Hierbij richten wij een vlammend woord van protest tegen uw uiterst grove eenzijdige opzegging van uw overeenkomst met de heer Ton Koopman, betreffende diens levenswerk (!): het opnemen van de Bachcantates op cd. U hebt blijkbaar een juridische manier gevonden om de heer Koopman zonder pardon aan de kant te zetten, terwijl u nota bene zelf juridisch had bedongen dat hij er niet halverwege het karwei mee kon stoppen. En u "kunt" dat blijkbaar wel?! Ronduit schandalig!!
Niet genoeg belangstelling voor dit oeuvre? Dan kent u klassiek-minnend muzikaal Nederland bar slecht. Er is tot zeer ver buiten onze grenzen zeer veel belangstelling voor dit project.
U kunt nog maar op een manier deze blunder van formaat herstellen: het project helemaal afmaken! Anders heeft Warner voor ons en voor velen met ons voorgoed agedaan!
Thomas Moser [Zürich, Switzerland] wrote (April 3, 2002):
I'm a singer, studying in the concert class of Christoph Prégardien in Zuerich and my favourite composer is Bach. The wonderful Arias for Bass I enjoy very much and love to sing them myself (Klaus Mertens is the best Bach baritone I could ever imagine). When I heard about Warner's decision to stop the wonderful Bach cantata project (I of cours have all released boxes at home and am looking forward like a child for every new volume) I was very frightened and I really couldn't believe that this should be true.
What wonderful news I read on your homepage, that the project will be continued!! Do you already know, Which label will continue the series? And when will volume 13 be out?
Richard Albarino wrote (April 5, 2002):
Disgraceful. How do we stop this?
Peter-Christoph Haessig [Hortus Musarum, Uzwil SG] wrote (April 6, 2002)
Sehr geehrter Herr Koopman,
Mit grosser Bestürzung habe ich vom fatalen, ja skandalösen Vorhaben von Warner gehört, dass Ihr Kantatenprojekt gestoppt werden soll. Ist das nicht etwas Typisches für die unkultivierten Amis? Aber Ihr Projekt muss unbedingt weitergeführt werden, ich weiss zwar, dass sich so etwas leicht sagen lässt und doch müssen Sie wissen, dass ich mich jedesmal über das neue Volume gefreut habe. Die Aufnahmen waren immer brillant, die Musik hatte etwas Greifbares, und es wurde immer sehr lustvoll musiziert, wirklich Herr Koopman Sie haben uns Grosses vermittelt. Ich gehöre zu einer grossen Gilde, gewissermassen zur (Koopmangesellschaft) ich wünsche Ihnen viel Erfolg und vorallem weiss ich, dass Sie den Kampf gewinnen, Sie werden ein neues Label finden, welches sich für Ihre Produktionen interessieren wird.
Empfangen Sie meine besten Grüsse
Onofrio Della Rosa [Castellana-Grotte (BA) Italy] wrote (April 12, 2002):
La notizia che la Warner sospende la registrazione delle Cantate di Bach mi ha lasciato incredulo. Come si può lasciare un tale monumento della musica di tutti i tempi, registrato con tal rigore scientifico e nello stesso tempo con tanta ispirazione e fantasia, come sta facendo Ton Koopman e la Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra e coro,insieme agli straordinari solisti,incompleto?
Spero che i dirigenti della Warner possano tornare sui loro passi e concludere questa meraviglia che non ha precedenti nella storia della discografia, senza nulla togliere alle precedenti registrazioni. Voglio anche ringraziare il Maestro Ton Koopman per le grandi emozioni che ci dona con il suo lavoro.
Charles P. McLimans [New York City] wrote (May 13, 2002):
To Whom It May Concern:
I write to whole heartedly encourage to the continuation of Maestro Koopman's important recordings of the great Bach masterpieces, the Cantatas. Such tremendous work has been accomplished so far and it would be not only a pity, but a crime if the overall project were not completed.
Aart van der Wal [Netherlands] wrote (May 14, 2002):
What's the latest news?
Christophe Bellynck [Vivendi] wrote (June 11, 2002):
As a great fan of Bach, the daily listening to his Cantatas is an important part of my life. I have purchased all 12 volumes of the Koopman project so far, and was looking forward for the release of the remaining recordings. I start every day that God makes with the listening of one of these beautifully performed cantatas.
The globalization of the music companies is taking its toll as it seems. This is very sad, but was so predictable: haven't you decided to close down the artistic departments of both Erato and HM a year or so ago? It has been replaced by some obscure Marketing Department in London.
It takes so much time and dedication to just have the willingness to start a venture such athe complete recordings of the cantatas. We have enjoyed over the last say 25 years the golden age of the recording of essential masterpieces on period instrument. You are closing that age. I cannot contemplate that those brilliant recordings will be replaced by Charlotte Church in the retailers boxes.
As a company meaning business, this is one for your consideration: you can make profits only if you take risks ; you can take risk only if you have a self esteem ; try to built up on your self esteem, do something for the next generation.
Richard Porter wrote (June 30, 2002):
Just a word to Ton that I intend to evenually collect the existing 12 volumes and will definitely look forward to completing the set if he so decides to run them. My fourteen yr. old loves the baroque/classical period.
Dr Robin A Leaver [Professor of Sacred Music, Westminster Choir College of Rider University President of the American Bach Society] wrote (August 29, 2002):
Is there any news about what Ton Koopman is going to do about the continuation of the Cantata recordings?
Alan McNaught [Cambridge, UK] wrote (December 8, 2002):
I should like to support the continuation of Koopman's Bach Cantatas project. I have bought volumes 1-12 and will buy subsequent volumes if/when they appear.
Dr. Werner Schwarz [Germany] wrote (December 18, 2002):
I’ve bought all volumes released until now of Koopman's Bach Cantatas Collection. It would be a shame to stop it now. Please do continue. We need a new Bach interpretation.
Donald E. Phillips [Cedar Rapids, Iowa. USA] wrote (December 25, 2002):
I have been searching for information about Koopman's Bach cantatas this past year, to no avail until I just found your letters on the Internet. If it is not too late, let me add my wishes and encouragement to get the rest of the cantatas released. Their quality of performance and recording is tops! I have the first 12 volumes, and and hope and pray that the others will become available. Of course, they aren't the best sellers, but their importance greatly exceeds any commercial considerations. I have given one lecture on Bach's development of the orchestra using examples from them which was very well received, and am planning to give another on Bach's musical expression.
So, let all of us Bach lovers make every effort to find a way to finish the job.
Robert C. Visconti wrote (January 16, 2003):
I have been patiently waiting for the release of the next volumes of the complete recordings of Bach's cantatas. When I began my collection, I believe that only Erato was involved in their production. When Warner came on board, I heaved a sigh of relief, because now there was a major corporation with major resources behind the project. It is my understanding the 12 volumes of cantatas that have been released to date have been not only critically acclaimed, but have been a financially successful endeavor in the often less than successful world of classical recording.
I would certainly respect a business decision by Warner to discontinue the Bach cantata series. What I cannot understand is that the successful project would not be passed on to another producer of classical recordings. When a corporation enters the classical marketplace by purchasing a quality label, it assumes the commitments the purchased label has made to its afficionados. The Erato series of recordings by Ton Koopman have always been presented as "Complete Cantatas". I have invested in the 12 volumes released to date on the understanding that the remaining 10 volumes would be forthcoming... as they were recorded and could be prepared for release. If the series is discontinued at this point, I will probably never have the "Complete Cantatas". It takes a lot of faith to invest $1,000.00 on the strength of the promise of a record label.
If the cantata project isn't passed to another label... if Mr. Koopman doesn't continue the series with whatever backing he can secure, a third label starting from scratch won't help those of us who have already made a major investment. We look to Warner to do the right thing, and hope if they won't that Mr. Koopman will continue in their stead. I will commit to underwriting the cost of my remaining 10 volumes, if that will guarantee the completion of the contata project.
Dr. Marcus Frischherz [Austria] wrote (March 8, 2003):
Dear Warner Bro's,
I recently realized that it has been decided to cancel the Bach cantata cycle by Koopman half way through. I think this is a most unfortunate decision. I have purchased all Volumes, which have come out so far, and I would purchase all future ones as well. I do not understand, why you would want to cancel this sucessful and artistically valuable work.
In the classical music community you have a faithful bunch of people who are not likely to exchange music via kazaa and the likes, so why would you want to make them angry as well?
Max Vrugt [Saugerties NY] wrote (*March 21, 2003):
from your own web site I quote:
Time and again, he has succeeded in winning over audiences with the originality and authenticity of his musical interpretation. It is to these qualities that the recording by Erato of Bach's complete Cantatas, begun in 1994 and now at the halfway stage, owes its universal and enthusiastic approval. The final CDs, in a series comprising twenty overall, are expected to be released in 2003. It is therefore something of suitable coincidence that this magnificent tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach by Ton Koopman should be completed in the same year as Erato celebrates its fiftieth anniversary.
I started to buy the sets assuming you would issue the COMPLETE cantatas as stated on your own website.
Please stick to your commitment or else give me a refund because you have marketed this collection under false pretense!
Ton Koopman: Short Biography | Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir
Recordings: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
General Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Koopman’s Petition | Newsletters
Individual Recordings: Koopman on TV | Cantatas Vol. 1 | Cantatas Vol. 6 | Cantatas Vol. 9 | Cantatas Vol. 10 | Cantatas Vol. 13 | BWV 247 – Koopman | Ton Koopman’s Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 | Bach Sonatas for Gamba and Harpsichord | Review: Bach Orchestral Suites DVD
Table of recordings by BWV Number