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Recordings of Bach Cantatas
General Discussions - Part 10: Year 2006

Continue from Part 9: Year 2005-3

Complete Recorded Cantata Cycles

Bruce Mangan [Ontario, Canada] wrote (March 18, 2006):
Moderator and participants

My name is Bruce Mangan. I am a new participant. This is my first email. I would like to pose a question to the group. I have over the last 50 years collected a bit more than 200 of the Cantatas on vinyl. They are everything from old recordings made by the elder Kleiber up through the original instrument recordings of Teldec in the 70's, plus many odd issues from around Europe. I have decided to purchase a boxed CD set of as complete a collection of the Kantatenwerk as is available. My questions are:
1. Does the collection exist?
2 If yes, who distributes it (them)?
3. What should I sample and what should I avoid?

I am an older man living in Canada where the winters provide a great deal of time to listen and perform. (I play the piano & organ. My wife plays the lute and recorder).

Suggestions and discussion would be appreciated.

Juozas Rimas wrote (March 19, 2006):
Complete Cantata Cycles?

Eric Bergerud wrote:
< important, or more, are the forces employed. Below are some general categories: >
Nice description you gave here! You mentioned the difference in the approach as the main cause of impossibility to have a definitive complete cycle: I'd add the performers.

It'd be nice for me to have Equiluz/Pregardien, Dieskau, Hamari/Scholl, Holton/Larsson all on one set, but it'll never happen.

Pressed at gunpoint to choose a cycle, I'd go for Koopman: I'd have Pregardien and Larsson, good other sopranos and altos, non-repulsive basses, pleasant oboes, generally acceptable tempos, good ensemble and choir.

Aryeh Oron wrote (March 19, 2006):
Recorded Cantata Cycles (was: Moderator and participants)

[To Bruce Mangan] Welcome aboard!

You wrote:
"I have decided to purchase a boxed CD set of as complete a collection of the Kantatenwerk as is available. My questions are:
1. Does the collection exist?
2 If yes, who distributes it (them)?
3. What should I sample and what should I avoid?"


Complete Cantata Cycles:

A general description of the scene of recorded world of Bach Cantatas is given in the Introduction page. See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Intro.htm

Details of the complete (or near complete) recorded cycles (please notice that most conductors have several recording pages; the link is to the 1st relevant page):

Helmuth Rilling - Complete on 60 CD's (Hänssler): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Rilling-Rec2.htm
Harnoncourt & Leonhardt - Complete on 60 CD's (Teldec): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/H&L-Rec2.htm
Pieter Jan Leusink - Complete on 60 CD's (Brilliant Classics): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Leusink.htm
Ton Koopman: 61 of 67 CD's already released (Erato/Antoine Marchand): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Koopman.htm
(the rest will be released by mid 2006)
Masaaki Suzuki - 30 of 60 (?) CD's already released (BIS): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Suzuki.htm
John Eliot Gardiner: 13 of 53 CD's already released (Soli Deo Gloria): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Gardiner-Rec2.htm
(all of them recorded in the 2000 PCP; a few more on Archiv)
Eric Milnes & Montreal Baroque - 1st 2 CD's of a planned complete OVPP recorded cantata cycle: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Milnes.htm

Details of some partial important cantata cycles:

Karl Richter: 26 CD's + (Archiv): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Richter.htm
Fritz Werner: 20 CD's (Erato): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Werner.htm
Philippe Herreweghe: 18 CD's (Virgin & Harmonia Mundi): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Herreweghe.htm
Günther Ramin - 9 CD's + (Berlin Classics): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Ramin.htm
Hans-Joachim Rotzcsh - 11 CD's + (Berlin Classics): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Rotzsch.htm
Sigiswald Kuijken 1st 2 CD's of a partial (?) OVPP recorded cantata cycle (Accent): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Kuijken.htm

Discussions:

General discussions of recorded cantata cycles: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Recordings-1996.htm
and continue.
The discussion page/s of each Conductor
The discussion page/s of each Cantata.

Santu de Silva wrote (March 19, 2006):
Complete Sets

Bruce Mangan wrote:
>>> My name is Bruce Mangan. I am a new participant. ... I have decided to purchase a boxed CD set of as complete a collection of the Kantatenwerk as is available. My questions are:
1. Does the collection exist? >>>
There are several complete sets, and sets in the process of being completed. The Bach Cantatas website provides some information about the characteristics of each collection, and each recording in the collection. Here are some thoughts.

Hanrnoncourt/Leonhardt: Teldec
Complete, and recorded in BWV order from 1 through 2xx. There is considerable disagreement about its value, but this set is of at least historical importance, being one of the earlies using authentic instruments (or modern reproductions) and practices. All (or most of) the Church cantatas are sung by boy's choirs. Soprano soloists are most frequently boys.

Leusink: Brilliant Classics
Complete, recorded in no particular order. Again, there is some disagreement about the quality of this Dutch recording set. I like it, and I seem to be in the minority. Some of the soloists are exceptional (Ruth Zeisak) and some generally disliked (S. Buwalda, countertenor/Alto). Boy's choir.

Koopman: Erato/Anton Marchand.
Not everybody's favorite set, but I personally think it is consistently at least good, and often excellent. A mixed set of male and female altos is employed.

Gardiner: Deutsche Gramophon/SoliDeiGloria.
Gardiner is a perfectionist, and it is difficult to find fault with his recordings. This set is not complete, if I'm not mistaken. Combination of male and female altos.

Suzuki: BIS
This set, performed by a Japanese choir, has its faithful fans. The quality is rarely less than very good. I don't know whether it is complete yet.

Others can add reviews of other sets that are intended to eventually be complete.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 19, 2006):
[To Santu de Silva] Some thoughts are your thoughts or the consensus on the BCWS? It is good and decent of you to respond to a new member's query and thereunto to give an appropriate subject line. I love you for doing both those things:-)

< Here are some thoughts.
Hanrnoncourt/Leonhardt: Teldec
Complete, and recorded in BWV order from 1 through 2xx. There is considerable disagreement about its value, but this set is of at least historical importance, being one of the earlies using authentic instruments (or modern reproductions) and practices. All (or most of) the Church cantatas are sung by boy's choirs. Soprano soloists are most frequently boys. >

I used to love them on the annual radio-cast from WKCR's Bachfest. I find myself rarely listening to them. Obviously some are better than others.

< Leusink: Brilliant Classics
Complete, recorded in no particular order. Again, there is some disagreement about thquality of this Dutch recording set. I like it, and I seem to be in the minority. Some of the soloists are exceptional (Ruth Zeisak) and some generally disliked (S. Buwalda, countertenor/Alto). Boy's choir. >

I ended up with 1/2 this set. I like their 2nd MP. I am not sure about the aesthetic value of complete sets of anything whether the 9.25 Mahler symphonies or all of Bach. In the 9.25 Mahler symphonies I basically regret all the sets I have and now have my favorite 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and so on forever. I basically don't like sets but of course I only knew that after listening to many sets of the 9.25 Mahler symphonies. In the case of Bach I personally have a lot of cantata recordings I respond to deeply and ones I simply do not respond to at all well. Cantus Cölln (if I recall the spelling) and McCreesh both bore me terribly for different reasons and that is the problem:

Bruce might indicate which of his 200 Vinyls he really responds to.

< Koopman: Erato/Anton Marchand.
Not everybody's favorite set, but I personally think it is consistently at least good, and often excellent. A mixed set of male and female altos is employed. >

The one box of Koopman I have leaves no impression on me.

< Gardiner: Deutsche Gramophon/SoliDeiGloria.
Gardiner is a perfectionist, and it is difficult to find fault with his recordings. This set is not complete, if I'm not mistaken. Combination of male and female altos. >
Oh, it is easy to find fault with any set of anything and there is hardly a time that Gardiner is my preferred recording of much. I have only the four large choral works but not my favorites of anything.

< Suzuki: BIS
This set, performed by a Japanese choir, has its faithful fans. The quality is rarely less than very good. I don't know whether it is complete yet. >
Again I have only the Johannes-Passion and the Bach Passion. They are my least preferred recordings.

< Others can add reviews of other sets that are intended to eventually be complete. >
Isn't there now also the reprint of the Werner set of which I had a number on MHS LPs but no longer do? Probably not complete. I toyed with Brad's recent suggestion of the Richter 26 CD partial set but then decided that I was so happy to escape from Richter (peace be upon him) in 1968 that I doubt I would want to return thereunto. Oftentimes my taste and reaction do change over years but not that often. I recently, well, yesterday, heard Part I of a MP that gave me the thrill that my first hearing gave me, something that has often lacked in the 25? other recordings I have suffered through.

Juozas Rimas wrote (March 19, 2006):
Santu de Silva wrote:
< Leusink: Brilliant Classics
Complete, recorded in no particular order. Again, there is some disagreement about the quality of this Dutch recording set. I like it, and I seem to be in the minority. Some of the soloists are exceptional (Ruth Zeisak) and some generally disliked (S. Buwalda, countertenor/Alto). Boy's choir. >
Is Zeisak really in the Leusink set? She's mostly with Koopman, according to: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Ziesak-Ruth.htm

Kirk McElhearn wrote (March 19, 2006):

Santu de Silva wrote:
< Gardiner: Deutsche Gramophon/SoliDeiGloria.
Gardiner is a perfectionist, and it is difficult to find fault with his recordings. This set is not complete, if I'm not mistaken. Combination of male and female altos. >
Well, it's complete in the sense that they have all been recorded, so it will eventually be complete.

< Suzuki: BIS
This set, performed by a Japanese choir, has its faithful fans. The quality is rarely less than very good. I don't know whether it is complete yet. >
Not yet, but it will be in a few more years.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 20, 2006):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Welcome aboard!
You wrote:
"I have decided to purchase a boxed CD set of as complete a collection of the Kantatenwerk as is available. My questions are:
1. Does the collection exist?
2 If yes, who distributes it (them)?
3. What should I sample and what should I avoid?" >
Yes, welcome!

I'd recommend against trying to buy some "complete" set, unless you're looking mainly for a convenient reference. Different performers bring different strengths to different pieces...and the music can certainly hold up to a variety of approaches, each bringing out its beauties with different clarity.

Where to start? I'd say: try to pick several of the Gardiner "cantata pilgrimage" issues from both DG Archiv and Gardiner's own subscription site: http://www.solideogloria.co.uk/

And then sample some others from Herreweghe, Suzuki, Koopman, et al for approaches (like Gardiner's) with a mid-sized choir.

Try some with boys' choirs also: the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt that you probably already know, and Leusink. One disc I especially like with a boys' choir is the one directed by Beringer, labelled C-4 at this page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Beringer.htm

And pick up some others where the approach is to use solo singers only (instead of a choir). Quite a bit of research over the past 25 years suggests that that may have been Bach's own approach, much of the time. Some earlier discussion here about that: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Books/Book-Parrott-Choir.htm

A good recent recording of BWV 106, 18, and 150 using soloists is the one directed by Pierlot: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV106-D5.htm

There's a new release on the way from the Purcell Quartet and solo singers, with cantatas 12, 18, 61, and 161. The BBC recently broadcast a concert performance by them, made the same week as the CD sessions last year: that will be a disc to watch for, on Chandos.

Everyone has some different favorites, of course: both with individual recordings and with approaches to the music. It's possible to hear so many samples on the web, nowadays, that it's worth taking at least half a day to listen around: finding what you like for yourself, before buying anything...let alone any large boxed set.

Uri Golomb wrote (March 20, 2006):
[To Juozas Rimas] Wrong Ruth, perhaps? Ruth HOLTON appears quite a lot on Leusink's set.

Raymond Joly wrote (March 20, 2006):
[To Juozas Rimas] I suppose Ruth Ziesak is meant.

Bruce Mangan [Ontario, Canada] wrote (March 20, 2006):
I wish to thank all of you who were so kind as to respond to my enquiry into boxed sets. I have read each of your responses several times. I spent a delightful day yesterday searching out information on each of the choices. The fact that the master's works are so widely interpreted (and so hotly debated) after centuries speaks to the quality of the compositions.

Peter Bright wrote (March 20, 2006):
[To Bruce Mangan, regarding Bradley Lehman's message] I agree with Brad about most of these. Suzuki is probably my favourite, although this series may be overtaken by Gardiner at some point (once I have enough of that series to compare...). Suzuki places great emphasis on the text, and I prefer his direction of the recitatives to the other conductors. However, Gardiner's series seem to me to have a 'roughness' and power which is exhilarating. If you enjoy a beautiful and rich texture, Herreweghe's your man, although some of these recordings sound less 'spontaneous' and emotive than Gardiner. I don't know much of the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt set, but, personally, and from what I have heart (e.g., BWV147 /BWV140), I find them quite hard on the ear...

Incidentally, one of my favourite budget single sets comes from Ensemble Sonnerie, under Monica Huggett (on Virgin Veritas). It includes BWV 51, BWV 82a, BWV 84, BWV 199, BWV 202, BWV 209 and has Nancy Argenta at the top of her game...

Mustn't leave out the old Richter recordings either - anything witha brass section sounds superb under his direction...

Anyway, I've drifted far enough off the "complete sets" topic for now...

John Pike wrote (March 20, 2006):
[To Bruce Mangan, regarding Bradley Lehman's message] I agree with all this but, if you are looking for a cheap way to quickly get a recording of all the cantatas, there is Leusink. He is normally very satisfacory and the box set of 60 cantatas can be found on the webb for 99 euros in Europe.

I don't know if the cheap Czech edition of the complete works of Bach on Hänssler is still available at the ridiculaously low price of a few years ago, but if it is, I would go for it. Rilling's cantatas are at worst satisfactory and some of the performances are very good. Some of the harpsichord recordings in that series, especially those by Robert Hill, are excellent, and Rilling is the only person who has released recordings of ALL the cantatas to date. The only work not in the Haenssler series I would guess is the work discovered last year.

Santu de Silva wrote (March 20, 2006):
< Wrong Ruth, perhaps? Ruth HOLTON appears quite a lot on Leusink's set. >
Yes, apologies! Holton it was.

Juozas Rimas wrote (March 20, 2006):
John Pike wrote:
< The only work not in the Hänssler series I would guess is the work discovered last year. >
Is there any information available on when we can expect samples of this work (a movement only, IIRC) to be listened to online?

Juozas Rimas wrote (March 20, 2006):
John Pike wrote:
< and Rilling is the only person who has released recordings of ALL the cantatas to date. >
Interesting. What are the cantatas that are missing from other complete sets - Leusink's, Harnoncourt's/Lenohardt's, for instance, or Gardiner's (not fully published)?

Uri Golomb wrote (March 20, 2006):
Juozas Rimas wrote:
< Interesting. What are the cantatas that are missing from other complete sets - Leusink's, Harnoncourt's/Lenohardt's, for instance, or Gardiner's (not fully published)? >
Well, the secular cantatas, for one thing. Rilling recorded them in the 1990s for the Hänssler edition, thus complementing his earlier cycle of church cantatas (1970-1985). Koopman also incorporated the secular cantatas into his series, so when his series will be completed, it too will feature all of Bach's cantatas, AFAIK. (Actually, Koopman has already finished recoridng the cantatas, and the last few volumes will soon be available).

Harnoncourt and Leonhardt each recorded some of the secular cantatas, but outside the main series, which contained only the church works. AFAIK, Gardiner's Pilgrimage omitted the secular cantatas -- though perhaps he'll be persuaded to record them separately... I don't know what Milnes' plans are. Suzuki, I think, does plan to do all the secular cantatas as well, but he doesn't consider this to be part of his main series (the secular volumes released so far aren't counted together with the church volumes).

Brilliant Classics' Bach edition, for which Leusink did the church cantatas, does include a recording of the secular cantatas, made in the 1970s and 1980s, with Peter Schreier conducting and singing most of the tenor solos.

Aryeh Oron wrote (March 20, 2006):
Juozas Rimas wrote:
< Interesting. What are the cantatas that are missing from other complete sets - Leusink's, Harnoncourt's/Lenohardt's, for instance, or Gardiner's (not fully published)? >
The following table lists the content of all recorded cantata cycles (complete & partial): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Recordings-Table.htm (the table is divided to 5 pages)
You will be able to find easily what has been released so far in each recorded cycle and what is missing from each finished cycle. For example, the H&L cycle does not include: BWV 118, BWV 190, BWV 191, BWV
193
, BWV 200.

Aryeh Oron wrote (March 20, 2006):
John Pike wrote:
<< The only work not in the Hänssler series I would guess is the work discovered last year. >>
Juozas Rimas wrote:
< Is there any information available on when we can expect samples of this work (a movement only, IIRC) to be listened to online? >
The work is the aria for soprano BWV 1127 'Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn' ihn'. Gardiner, Koopman and Suzuki have already recorded it. If you want to hear samples from the recordings, please follow the links to Amazon at the page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV1127.htm

And another excerpt to listen can be found at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Mus/BWV1127-Mus.htm

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Aria for Soprano BWV 1127 - General Discussions

John Pike wrote (March 21, 2006):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< The following table lists the content of all recorded cantata cycles (complete & partial): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Recordings-Table.htm (the table is divided to 5 pages)
You will be able to find easily what has been released so far in each recorded cycle and what is missing from each finished cycle. For example, the H&L cycle does not include:
BWV 118, BWV 190, BWV 191, BWV
193
, BWV 200. >
But you can "top up" a H+L set with Vol. 5 of the Teldec Bach 2000 edition. You then get the secular cantatas as well. See the BCW.

 

Cantatas in 1926

Julian Mincham wrote (May 21, 2006):
I recently came across a fascinating little historical snippet the other day which might interest some.

On April 21st the UK Daily Mail republished a facsimile of the 1926 paper of the same day which had annouced the birth of the present Queen (this was the reason for ite re-publication)

Inside was a short account of a Bach Cantata performance headed 'Bach Cantata Club'.

I copy the review in full

"Three of Bach's church cantatas were sung last night at St Margaret's Westminster at the third of the new Bach Cantata Club's evenings.

These were Nos 54, 161 and 189. Of these only the first has been published with an English text.

No 54, 'Christian, ne'er let sin o'er-power thee' is for contralto solo. Miss Margaret Balfour sang it with beautiful, level, calm tone, but her words were monotonously vague".

A pity that the conductor and instrumental forces did not get a mention; and what on earth did the reviewer mean re the 'monotonously vague' words?

Still, interesting to see that a series of the cantatas were being publicly performed in 1926.

As an aside, the paper also includes the details of the evening's broadcast from the 4 year old BBC radio station 2LO. Some of the composers represented that night were Mendelssohn, Offenbach, Grieg, J. Strauss, A. Sullivan and the mis spelt 'Rumsky Korsakov'

Charles Ervin McCarn wrote (May 26, 2006):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< A pity that the conductor and instrumental forces did not get a mention; and what on earth did the reviewer mean re the 'monotonously vague' words? >
The conductor was C. Kennedy Scott, the founder of the Bach Cantata Club. In the following year, the group made the first complete recording of a Bach Motet - "Jesu meine Freude." sung in English as "Jesu, Joy and Treasure."

PS: The alto Margaret Balfour sings the Soprano II and Alto solos in the first complete recording of the B Minor Mass (BWV 232), conducted by Albert Coates, in 1929. That recording was reissued on Pearl CDs.

Julian Mincham wrote (May 26, 2006):
[To Charles Ervin McCarn] Yes I did a bit of digging myself since I wrote the email and found that the conductor was Charles Kennedy Scott who I am now looking up further. Thanks also for the interesting comments about Margaret Balfour.

 

Random movement c

Chris Kern wrote (May 31, 2006):
These are just a few comments on some specific movements of cantatas I've been enjoying lately:

1. BWV 76, movement 1, Suzuki

I just love the fugue in the second part of this. The first time I heard the subject I thought it seemed too long but of course Bach shows he has no difficulty with it. The way he uses it is so joyful and well done that it overcame my doubt. Also hearing the combination of Midori Suzuki, Robin Blaze, Gerd Turk, and Chiyuki Urano is great.
(But I actually like the Leusink and Harnoncourt versions of the fugue as well...)

2. BWV 46, movement 1, Leonhardt

Leonhardt's fugue of this movement is excellent -- somehow when the boys first enter with the initial subject of the fugue it has an almost haunting effect.

3. BWV 131, movement 4, Herreweghe

Herreweghe made the unusual decision to use a lute for this cantata, and it works especially well in the tenor aria.

4. BWV 131, movement 3, Suzuki

The fugue is done by far the best by Suzuki -- the soprano entries are powerful, and the oboe playing is exceptional.

5. BWV 75, the choral movements, Suzuki

Suzuki seems to be the best of the HiP crowd at conducting choral movements; this might be because he has actual experience with church singing.

 

Sharing the not available

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (June 5, 2006):
I have come to the conclusion that the crazy world of opera people is much more into sharing than Bach people. Here is why: With the development of Rapidshare and also Yousendit there has developed a culture in the opera world (see the Yahoo group Operashare) of persons asking and whoever has it, encoding in MPs and zipping and sending it.

Even a technical moron like me can do that. Why should the glorious Scherchen MP be unavailable and why the Tourel "Ebarme dich", so highly lauded by Teri Noel Towe in his survey of the recordings?

One day the world of Bach lovers may also so act. I am not speaking of currently available commercial recordings but of either live performances or unavailable treasures.

The world has changed my friends and this ethic in my view is a worthy and religious act in a time where so many wonderful recordings have either never been on CD or are never available at all.

Slava Bogu,

 

Re-issues

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (August 23, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Any way we can influence a CD reissue? >
It seems to me that, considering the state of the Classical Music Industry and considering how many LPs (and occasionally videos) and already out of print treasured CDs there are that many of us desire extremely, it is highly unlikely that an LP with a conductor whose name does not ring many bells and ditto the soli will be put on CD.

Consider that the Scherchen Matthäus-Passion and the Gillesberger Johannes-P, once actually on CDs and no longer available, themselves are unlikely to be re-issued.

The Scherechen was twice on CDs, Millennium Classics and Westminster Japan. The Gillesberger was replaced by "Harnoncourt3" by Teldec.

Consider too, with the shape of the industry how many new Bach recordings are indeed issued. I fear that many classics will be forgotten about with their old collectors..

Of course the digital world has come and there are persons who simply digitize these things and sometimes make them available and therein perhaps lies our only salvation.

I was fascinated in my 3rd and so forth listening to Gould-Oberlin in BWV 54. I am glad I was given a digital download which I shared here where some members had expressed an interest.

I do not want to wait until someone decides to re-release this based on some business decision.

Bradley Lehman wrote (August 23, 2006):
Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote:
< It seems to me that, considering the state of the Classical Music Industry and considering how many LPs (and occasionally videos) and already out of print treasured CDs there are that many of us desire extremely, it is highly unlikely that an LP with a conductor whose name does not ring many bells and ditto the soli will be put on CD. >
Well, be sure to check out the "Baroque Music Club" periodically. Their catalog keeps growing. These are some guys in Canada (I believe) who also run the "Oryx" label, reissuing other people's recordings and sometimes directly by remastering LPs: http://www.baroque-music-club.com/

I was looking for some of the Sylvia Marlowe harpsichord recordings of Bach from the LP era, searching some weeks ago, and these are the guys who had them. Their web site takes PayPal, and my discs arrived within a week or so, sounding good (and unavailable elsewhere). They have some cantatas there too that I haven't checked out yet.

It's not really a "record club" but just a place to order CDs that they have manufactured, as reissues.

Richard Raymond wrote (August 24, 2006):
[To Bradley Lehman] I think that many LP's of Bach and Baroque Music still remain in private records collection. Personnally, I have kept old recordings by Fritz Lehmann, Hans Grischkat, Kurt Thomas, Kurt Redel, F. Prohaska, F. Grossmann, etc...There are no rights when they are more than 50 years old. I would like to propose them on the Internet, but I am technically unable to acieve such a project...Is there a solution ?

Eric Bergerud wrote (August 24, 2006):
Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote:
< It seems to me that, considering the state of the Classical Music Industry and considering how many LPs (and occasionally videos) and already out of print treasured CDs there are that many of us desire extremely, it is highly unlikely that an LP with a conductor whose name does not ring many bells and ditto the soli will be put on CD. >
It's not just the "classics" that may be hard to come by. I've been collecting Koopman lately and it's surprising how many volumes are already unavailable at major sources. I really hope H&L gets reissued or it too will pass into memory.

BTW: has anyone heard one of the Montreal works?

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 24, 2006):
Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote:
< I fear that many classics will be forgotten about with their old collectors.
Of course the digital world has come and there are persons who simply digitize these things and sometimes make them available and therein perhaps lies our only salvation. >
Sorry for the inconvenient format, I am replying to the post, cited below.

The point is, we can digitize our LPs, if it comes to that, through turntables and speakers, or perhaps other technology. But if better original sources exist, as they do for the Cantate recordings (see Aryeh reference on BCW), is there not some initiative we can take to preserve, and more importantly share, these important recordings in their best condition?

It will never be a commercially viable free market venture, so the question is what private subscription, or non-profit funded source might prevail?

I would suggest a museum of some sort, but I am becoming cynical (no, you say?) Gift shop, restaurant, and hustle the traffic through the special exhibit. That would be fine, if the consequent cash flow were directed to conservation. Not on my block. Perhaps Leipzig?

I believe Aryeh has identified that the original Cantate tape sources are intact. It would be an enduring project for this group (BCW) to conserve and reissue some (or all) of them. Even if we have to put up a bit of cash . Worth thinking about, anyway.

Things are looking up, Yoel. I asked a guy on the street the other day what he thought of BWV 33, and he didn't hit me. I believe he ran into a shop to play the number in a lottery. (Full disclosure. Fictional anecdote).

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (August 24, 2006):
Eric Bergerud wrote:
< I really hope H&L gets reissued or it too will pass into memory. >
happily for me, when that finally appeared at Berkshire for 1/2 price, to wit $300.00, I had to finally get it.
Time to reissue it in envelopes and minimalspace.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (August 24, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< I was looking for some of the Sylvia Marlowe harpsichord recordings of Bach from the LP era, searching some weeks ago, and these are the guys who had them. Their web site takes PayPal, and my discs arrived within a week or so, sounding good (and unavailable elsewhere). They have some cantatas there too that I haven't checked out yet.
It's not really a "record club" but just a place to order CDs that they have manufactured, as reissues. >

The most dreadful experience with a historical I have ever had was when I was seeking Scherchen's Mahler2. One day I found it in a used shop on Theorema. It was unlistenable. It is inconceivable that any pirate could make a great performance sound like that. Eventually I got it on Millennium Classics which apparently are not available in the USA. The sound was magnificent. I don't know what Theorema did. One has to work hard to create something like that. There are quibbles in historical remasterings:

e.g. some believe the Japanese Westminster Scherchen MP to be somewhat better than the Millennium Classics. I now have a dub of the former and a used copy of the latter. I don't spend my time comparing them as there is
really no meaningful problem for me here. The Theorema of the Scherchen Mahler is another story.

Bradley Lehman wrote (August 24, 2006):
Eric Bergerud wrote:
<< I really hope H&L gets reissued or it too will pass into memory. >>
Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote:
< happily for me, when that finally appeared at Berkshire for 1/2 price, to wit $300.00, I had to finally get it. Time to reissue it in envelopes and minimal space. >
'Tis already been done. The "BACH2000" edition of it from Teldec put it out in cardboard envelopes, yellow and blue. The batches of these discs came with a c300 page booklet, and in a cardboard cube that is only about 1/3 full. I consolidated my second batch of these into the first one's cube, and have reused the now-empty cube to organize other stray discs....

The booklets have some interesting differences, comparing with the classic brown-cover edition as single or two-disc sets in jewel cases. Most noticeably, they have eliminated the listings of players and instruments, naming only the singers. (An unfortunate omission, IMO!)

More subtly, they have re-translated both the English and French notes, or have at least run the whole batch of notes through a copy editor for both those languages. There are noticeable changes in almost every sentence. (I'm comparing BWV 1-4 side by side here, with the booklets, for this example.) They kept the German original with fewer changes, but there is evidence of a copy editor's fussing there too. Punctuation is rearranged fairly often, and some of the sentences are broken up into two, or otherwise shuffled around gently.

And, no scores; those were only with the LPs.

Box 5 of that BACH2000 edition, "Secular Cantatas", still has a few performances by Leonhardt and Harnoncourt in it, but it's mostly Koopman. Several by Schreier, Schroeder, Goebel, Rieu, and Werner are in there, too.

Berkshire still lists this volume 5 at $32.89 for the 11-disc set, but they added the note, "Unfortunately, all remaining boxes are damaged."

We should be grateful that these sets came out at all, before the collapse of the parent company with (dis)regard to classical music: Gramophone

Eric Bergerud wrote (August 24, 2006):
[To Bradley Lehman] Amazon offers the complete edition (153 discs) for $1100. Is that what you're talking about?

Bradley Lehman wrote (August 24, 2006):
[To Eric Bergerud] Apparently they still offer that huge set at the huge price, yes: Amazon.com

But, I was writing specifically only about volumes 1-5 from it, the blue/yellow boxes pictured. I managed to catch volumes 1 & 5 last year as leftovers from Berkshire Record Outlet, as separate cubes at $3 per disc. Haven't caught the other three yet. Details:

Product Description
Volume 1, 15 Discs
Sacred Cantatas Nos. 1-14, 16-47; 15 CDs; Harnoncourt/Leonhardt

Volume 2, 15 Discs
Sacred Cantatas Nos. 48-52, 54-69, 69A, 70-99; 15 CDs;
Harnoncourt/Leonhardt

Volume 3, 15 Discs
Sacred Cantatas Nos. 100-117, 119-140,143-149; 15 CDs;
Harnoncourt/Leonhardt

Volume 4, 15 Discs
Sacred Cantatas BWV 150-159, 161-188, 192, 194-199; 15 CDs;
Harnoncourt/Leonhardt

Volume 5, 11 Discs
Secular Cantatas App. Sacred Cantatas; 11 CDs; Koopman, Harnoncourt, Koopman, Goebel and others

 

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Last update: ýMarch 13, 2012 ý09:04:20