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Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

Mass in B minor BWV 232
Conducted by Jos van Veldhoven

V-1

J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor

Mass in B minor BWV 232

Jos van Veldhoven

Choir & Baroque Orchestra of the Nederlandse Bachvereniging

Soprano: Soledad Cardoso; Mezzo-soprano: Margaret Cameron; Counter-tenor: Pascal Bertin; Tenor: Charles Daniels; Bass: Peter Kooy

Rapidshare

Dec 23, 2003

2-CD / TT:

Recorded live.
1st recording of Nass in B minor BWV 232 by J.v. Veldhoven.
Download this recording from Rapidshare: CD-1 | CD-2

V-2

J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor

Mass in B minor BWV 232

Jos van Veldhoven

Nederlandse Bachvereniging

Soprano: Dorothee Mields; Soprano: Johannette Zomer; Alto: Matthew White; Tenor: Charles Daniels; Bass: Peter Harvey

Channel Classics

Dec 2006

2-CD / TT: 105:00

Recorded at Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam, Holland.
2nd recording of Nass in B minor BWV 232 by J.v. Veldhoven.
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

Upload: Bach B Minor Mass - Veldhoven

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (February 18, 2007):
Since there was much interest in Veldhoven MP here a year or so ago (it was OVPP or TVPP or whatever it was; I did not hear it), I am forwarding this upload which I also have not (yet) heard. A choir is listed. The links are too long and require your inserting the non-hot parts into the address bar of your browser.

I expect Channel Classics will eventually add a recording of the B Minor Mass to Veldhoven's series of major Bach choral works on that label, but here's a live one anyway:

Soledad Cardoso, soprano
Margaret Cameron, mezzosoprano
Pascal Bertin, alto
Charles Daniels, tenor
Peter Kooy, bass

Choir & Baroque Orchestra of the Netherlands Bach Society
Cond. Jos Van Veldhoven
rec: 23 December 2003

http://rapidshare.com/files/16571945/Bach_Mass_in_B_Minor_Veldhoven_1.zip
http://rapidshare.com/files/16577147/Bach_Mass_in_B_Minor_Veldhoven_2.zip

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 19, 2007):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] The official recording of MBM under Veldhoven with first-rate soloists (all except Daniels are different from the live recording) is indeed planned for release next month.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Rec/Rec-2007-03.htm

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 22, 2007):
[To Aryeh Oron] The Channel Classics web site now has an enticing audio clip of "Et resurrexit" from that recording. It also has an 11-minute video based on their 2006 rehearsals and concerts, interviewing van Veldhoven and the five concertists about their work in it: http://www.channelclassics.com/

Anybody know how far the US release will lag behind the mid-March European release? I'm eager to get this recording. For everybody's first-rate musicianship in it, of course, plus they used my recommendation for continuo-organ tuning as described here: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/larips/vocal.html
(As they had also done for their concert series of St Matthew last spring.)

 

Bach B Minor Mass - Veldhoven

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 24, 2007):
< In Holland it is released already. The press in Holland was impressed, also because the booklet is fantastic. But don't trust the Dutch press writing about a Dutch performer; listen yourself. I'm not convinced OVPP was what Bach had in mind, but who cares: the result is what counts. Veldhoven is a musician and even if Bach would dislike Veldhoven's performance, I still would love it. >
Today it's showing up in their online shop, for 42 Euro plus 3.50 shipping.
http://www.channelclassics.com/

 

New Mass in B minor recording by Jos van Veldhoven

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (March 6, 2007):
According to the audio sample available on the Channel Classics website (http://www.channelclassics.com/), it seems we can have very great expectations concerning the new Mass in B minor recording by the Netherland Bach Society conducted by Jos van Veldhoven. It will be released in about a week. I look forward to listening to the complete work. It really sounds fantastic.

Matthew Westphal wrote (March 6, 2007):
[To Paul Dirmeikis] I have the recording and it is very good indeed.

Last month I was lucky enough to interview van Veldhoven for a couple of hours. When I can get the interview transcribed and edited (a big job), I'll be running it on PlaybillArts.com.

JvV and the Netherlands Bach Society will be touring the US (NYC, Ann Arbor, Berkeley, Seattle and Richmond) with the Mass in B minor April 16-24. See: www.bachvereniging.nl.

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (March 6, 2007):
Matthew Westphal wrote:
< I have the recording and it is very good indeed. >
Lucky man. As I wrote, it hasn't been released yet in France.

< Last month I was lucky enough to interview van Veldhoven for a couple of hours. When I can get the interview transcribed and edited (a big job), I'll be running it on PlaybillArts.runn >
That will be great. Thank you. Please let us know when it's done.

Matthew Westphal wrote (March 6, 2007):
Paul Dirmeikis says:
< Lucky man. As I wrote, it hasn't been released yet in France. >
Nor in the US.
I have an advance press copy
(not to make anyone envious or anything).

< That will be great. Thank you. Please let us know when it's done. >
If you all think of it, pester me every so often so I'll be motivated to do the transcribing (a tedious job which it's very easy to put off for another day).

I should let those interested in the recording know that it does use period instruments and is partially one voice per part.

Van Veldhoven uses the concertist-ripienist principles as he sees Bach using them in, for example, the final chorus of BWV (Ich hatte viel bekuemmernis) and the opening chorus of BWV 71 (Gott ist mein Koenig). Only Qui tollis peccata mundi, Credo in unum Deum and Crucifixus use strictly solo voices; in the other choruses, he brings the ripienists in and out rather frequently (sometimes for only a measure or two at a time). The effect comes off as somewhat too micromanaged for my taste -- that's my only reservation about the performance.

As usual, the release is accompanied by a book full of beautiful reproductions of artwork from the Catharijneconvent Museum in Utrecht.

 

Question about the 2003 Veldhoven Mass

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 17, 2007):
I just listened finally to the anno 2003 live Veldhoven performance of the h-moll Messe to which I gave the URL some time ago here.

In a number, but not all or even the majority of the choral parts of the Kyrie and the Gloria he has soloists prominently present in what seems to me amongst a choir but in many other choral sections he has all choir and no such soloists.

I have only listened to this part so far (CD 1 of upload which I just finally downloaded today)

It makes for non-monotonous and therefore interesting variety. Can anyone explain this process he is employing?

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 17, 2007):
Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote:
< I just listened finally to the anno 2003 live Veldhoven performance of the h-moll Messe to which I gave the URL some time ago here. >
having had a night of reflection after listening to the whole of this yesterday, I can say that which I believe our original poster meant to say.Please excuse me if I am putting words in his mouth. Also this is not the officially released performance; This performance is delicate like embroidery.
Also it has both a girly tenor and a girly altus.
Soledad Cardoso, soprano
Margaret Cameron, mezzosoprano
Pascal Bertin, alto
Charles Daniels, tenor
Peter Kooy, bass

Choir & Baroque Orchestra of the Netherlands Bach Society
Cond. Jos Van Veldhoven
rec: 23 December 2003

http://rapidshare.com/files/16571945/Bach_Mass_in_B_Minor_Veldhoven_1.zip
http://rapidshare.com/files/16577147/Bach_Mass_in_B_Minor_Veldhoven_2.zip

 

van Veldhoven's tour of BMM this week in the US

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 16, 2007):
Jos van Veldhoven's ensemble is giving five performances of the B minor Mass in the USA this week. New York, Ann Arbor, Berkeley, Seattle, and Richmond. Details here: http://www.bachvereniging.nl/concerten.php

One of the players has written to inform me: in the continuo they are planning to use the "D" version of the Bach temperament (as they also did on the recording). Details of that are here: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/larips/vocal.html

The New York Times and Ann Arbor News articles advertising the concerts
there:
New York Time
Music Live

Neil Halliday wrote (April 16, 2007):
<<<Mr. van Veldhoven assigns each of the choral lines to a single voice, occasionally adding one or two extra voices per part for poetic emphasis. "I think of this music not in terms of a chorus," Mr. van Veldhoven said, "but in terms of five highly expressive soloists."

Gustav Leonhardt, a pioneer and giant in the early-music field, demurs. "I think it's nonsense," he said recently from his home in Amsterdam. "We have Bach's own word that his ideal in a four-part choir was 3 persons to a voice, for a total of 12. At one point he writes that 16 would be even better.>>>

Noting the above disagreement, I hope Mr. Veldhoven at least has the "poetic" sense to add the extra voices to the six voice (S1S2A1A2TB) Sanctus, where the music obviously demands massive chords of choral sound, rather than "(six) highly expressive soloists". Rifkin's (or was it Parrott's) OVPP recording of the Sanctus should have made that clear to all and sundry.

Drew wrote (April 16, 2007):
[To Neil Halliday] At the moment, at least, I am unable to come to an "educated" stance on the OVPP vs. multiple singers (whether its 3VPP or 4VPP, or whatever) issue because I have not read either the primary sources (Bach's writings or his contemporaries') or the secondary sources (Rifkin, Parrott, Koopman, etc.) on the issue.

So, as a Bach aficionado living in 2007, my preference more or less comes down to aesthetics. I was weaned on period instruments - I love the lightness, the articulation, the clarity, the tone, etc. Perhaps if I had been born 20 years earlier, I would be a Richter fan. But, because of my peculiar listening experience, I find many pre-HIP recordings to be rather heavy on their feet (e.g., Klemperer's SMP).

I also like "natural," vibrato-less singing. But for all their clarity, I find Rifkin's Mass in b minor or Parrot's Easter Oratorio to be decidedly low-octane. I don't care how "expressive" the voices are - OVPP singers cannot produce the same body of sound that a well-drilled choir can (but, then, choirs can be oversized and become juggernauts).

I also enjoy the contrast between the larger sound in choral movements and the intimacy of arias and duets. I own McCreesh's SMP, but every time I listen to it I find myself longing for that contrast, despite the stellar soloist lineup.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 16, 2007):
Drew wrote:
< At the moment, at least, I am unable to come to an "educated" stance on the OVPP vs. multiple singers (whether its 3VPP or 4VPP, or whatever) issue because I have not read either the primary sources (Bach's writings or his contemporaries') or the secondary sources (Rifkin, Parrott, Koopman, etc.) on the issue. >
There's some additional 18th century support for OVPP in this 2006 book:
http://www.qub.ac.uk/music-cgi/bach2.pl?22=22462
Bach's Changing World: Voices in the Community, edited by Carol K. Baron. (= Eastman Studies in Music, vol. 37)

That's in a translated document as one of the chapters here: Scheibel, Gottfried Ephraim: Random Thoughts About Church Music in Our Day (1721).

Stephen Rose's Early Music review: http://em.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/citation/35/1/118?rss=1
of that book puts it this way: "Scheibel's treatise is especially relevant to the cantatas of Bach, for it justifies the use of theatrical styles in church. Scheibel also advocates the parodying of secular cantatas with sacred words, a technique used by Bach; on the subject of choir size, he says that 'if each part is provided with one or at most two people who excel in what they do, then a choir is well appointed.'"

There's also a 2002 facsimile of this 1721 Scheibel document, published in Stuttgart by Cornetto-Verlag: http://www.faksimiles.org/facsimiles.pdf

I'm hoping to attend van Veldhoven's performance on the 24th in Richmond. Any other BCML members?

Uri Golomb wrote (April 16, 2007):
Drew wrote:
< I also like "natural," vibrato-less singing. But for all their clarity, I find Rifkin's Mass in b minor or Parrot's Easter Oratorio to be decidedly low-octane. I don't care how "expressive" the voices are - OVPP singers cannot produce the same body of sound that a well-drilled choir can >
I'm not sure "low-octane" is necessarily a result of OVPP as such. I admire many of Rifkin's and Parrott's recordings, yet I can understand why other listeners find them underpowered. Even these listeners, however, might well enjoy other OVPP recordings, which reveal a more openly dramatic attitude: for instance, Jeffrey Thomas's recordings (with the American Bach Soloists) of Bach's early cantatas (in the Leipzig works, Thomas uses a chamber choir), or Konrad Junghanels and Cantus Kolln in the Motets and (again) early cantatas. In the MBM [Mass in B Minor], Cantus Kolln alternate between OVPP and 2VPP; and curiously, I find that they possess a higher "octane" when they sing one-per-part. Their two-per-part passages have a somewhat bland quality, whereas the one-per-part passages are much more eloquent and expressive.

I had a similar experience with Veldhoven's SJP (I have yet to hear his MBM). Actually, I found that performance more consitently eloquent and moving (some of the "crowd" movements were a bit genteel -- but this was because of phrasing and tempi; I'm sure the same number singers could have produced a more ferocious result). His "full" ensemble (two-per-part) was capable of profound expressivity and richness. Yet I found this his one-per-part passages especially poignant and eloquent. (BTW, Bach scores the SJP two-per-part throughout, if I understand correctly -- I'm relying here on existing research, not on direct examination of the parts. So Veldhoven's decisions to alternate between one- atwo-per-part might well be historically problematic; I still found it musically convincing, though).

Drew wrote (April 17, 2007):
[To Uri Golomb] I agree - some do OVPP more convincingly than others.

I generally like Thomas's ABS recordings. I'm less convinced by Junghaenel's Mass in b. I bought Veldhoven's SJP primarily for the packaging, but, despite some fine, intimate moments, find it underpowered. When I listen to Suzuki's recording of the opening chorus of SJP, I get goosebumps (how's that for critical criteria?) - that's the "affekt" I think Bach was after.

As I said before, from a purely aesthetic point of view, I relish the contrast between the intimacy of arias and the full-bodied sound of chorales / choruses. In my experience of OVPP (and I own a number of such recordings), that contrast is significantly diminished. I enjoy Purcell Quartet's OVPP recordings of the Lutheran Masses (why don't more people record these wonderful works? the parody stigma lives on, I guess), but everytime I listen to them miss the "choral" element, and turn to Herreweghe's account.

I just acquired Veldhoven's new Mass in b (again, the packaging won me over, as it did for the Christmas Oratorio), but haven't had time to fully assess it. I am still enjoying Bernius' new account, which got a glowing review from Gramophone (pasted in below):

A refreshing approach makes this the most striking B minor Mass in years

Following the conventional trappings of Helmuth Rilling's fourth account, reviewed last month, Frieder Bernius gives us a Mass which neither sits obediently in the groove of seasoned reverence nor resorts to well worn and predictable period reflexes. It is a reading whose invigorating momentum is underpinned by a confident bass presence (literally, you can hear the "front" of each double-bass note guiding the elegant opening Kyrie and percussive declamations in the "Cum Sancto Spiritu") and an immediacy which resolutely ignores the heavy burden of posterity from which performances regularly suffer.

To say that the buoyant, syncopated concertante-like second Kyrie heralds an iconoclastic journey would be an exaggeration but Bernius knowingly approaches the Latin text as a means of liberating the abstract brilliance and lyricism inherent in Bach's great edifice. The "Et in terra pax" is exquisitely judged with every one of those aspiring figures each yielding a little more ambition, as is the case in the urgent "Gratias agimus" - though perhaps too driven for some. The same is true in both the "Qui sedes" and Agnus Dei (despite the introduction being alarmingly faster than the initial vocal strains), sung by the refined Daniel Taylor, where both are approached with an easy and open-ended fluidity which avoids the obvious pit-falls of "stop-start" between solo movements and the virtuoso ensemble "concerti".

Bernius repeatedly seeks a close alliance between his singers and instrumentalists with eloquent arched lines and yet without an obsession for homogeneity at the expense of individual character in the ensemble. Compared to the highly manicured and pre-determined voicings of Philippe Herreweghe's two accounts, the weight of choruses in "Part 2" unfold with an impressive sense of singular identity: the "Crucifixus" is given an unselfconscious and gently accentuated reading, the chromatic ground and the flute and string "pointings" instinctively realised. If the "Confiteor" falls slightly short, the large choruses are open-breathed and thrilling. The Stuttgart Chamber Choir are full of vim and alertness and the trumpet playing is cataclysmically brilliant throughout. Of the solo singers, special mention must be made of the bass, Raimund Nolte, whose soft-grained "Et in Spiritum Sanctum" stands out, though it is the effect of the combined ingredients which makes this the most striking and satisfying Mass in B minor to have appeared in years.

Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

Neil Halliday wrote (April 17, 2007):
Drew wrote:
>When I listen to Suzuki's recording of the opening chorus of SJP, I get goosebumps<
Here it is, in all its glory! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9NmjL9-3hs&mode=related&search=

The upper strings are strong, not always the case with period ensembles; Veldhoven's SJP was all oboes, IIRC. The choir is great; I forgot to count the number of singers - about 14 or 16 (is that Robin Blaze standing in there with the ladies?)

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 17, 2007):
OVPP [was: van Veldhoven's tour of BMM this week in the US]

< And, of course, there is always Gesner's report from 1738 which reflects upon what he experienced while he was still closely connected with Bach's activities in Leipzig. (Bach-Dokumente II, 432).
Gesner describes the entire ensemble of musicians which he witnessed as numbering from 30 to 40, of which no doubt at least a dozen or 16 would have been vocalists/vocal choir members. >
And, of course, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with Bach's performances of his own music on any Sunday morning. They could have been rehearsing -- or performing -- a piece by someone else in this situation mentioned by Gesner. So, this anecdote about Gesner is a red herring (by you, not by researchers).

And, as has been discussed before several times, the whole thing by Gesner is written in flowery language and in Latin, comparing Bach the great hero with the mythical figure of Orpheus: hardly a historical account here.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 17, 2007):
Drew wrote:
< As I said before, from a purely aesthetic point of view, I relish the contrast between the intimacy of arias and the full-bodied sound of chorales / choruses. In my experience of OVPP (and I own a number of such recordings), that contrast is significantly diminished. I enjoy Purcell Quartet's OVPP recordings of the Lutheran Masses (why don't more people record these wonderful works? the parody stigma lives on, I guess), but everytime I listen to them miss the "choral" element, and turn to Herreweghe's account. >
What I find interesting is that I have become quite convinced with some works in OVPP. "Gottes Zeit" and "Christ Lag in Todesbanden" are wonderful in small scale performances. In the Mass in B Minor, the two Kyries are transparent and clear, although I still laugh out loud at the "Sanctus" in OVPP. Strangely, I thought the "Et Resurrexit" with its full orchestra worked well in OVPP.

Just writing program notes for a performance this Sunday of "Christ Lag in Todesbasnden". This month may mark the 300th anniversary of the cantata's composition in 1707 (or 1708).

Jeremy Vosburgh wrote (April 19, 2007):
[To Douglas Cowling]
Have fun bud!
Wish I could see it.

Giving glory to God with good music sure beats all.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 24, 2007):
Here's a warmly enthusiastic review of one of van Veldhoven's tour performances this past Saturday, in Berkeley: http://www.contracostatimes.com/entertainment/ci_5731326

Anybody else from here going to hear them tomorrow night (Tuesday 7:30) in Richmond VA? That's the final concert of the five in this short US tour.

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 24, 2007):
[To Bradley Lehman] Give us a report. Plenty of room for more of that on BCML. I'll compare notes from the Boston Cantata Singers performance of a few weeks ago. A recording of which will be webcast by WGBH soon, I'll check the date.

World ends soon, buy records! Better yet, get out to hear live music.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 25, 2007):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Give us a report. Plenty of room for more of that on BCML. >
Well, it was wonderful. I'm rather exhausted at the moment, as we had more than a two-hour drive each way and we didn't leave the cast party until about midnight....

It was one of the best concerts (of anything) I've ever been to. This was at the University of Richmond's concert hall, which has a nicely matched shape/acoustic for this piece. The hall was about 85% full, with an enthusiastic audience of several hundred...and unfortunately hardly any university students, althougwe saw a sign that they would have got in free had they chosen to. My wife and I were seated in the middle row of the hall, next to the organbuilder who had rented in the instrument. A perfect place to hear everything.

At the back of the stage they had a typical "shell" extending all the way straight across. Then, one simple platform (about 8 inches) all the way across. The chamber organ was set up on the middle of that, and the cellist and bass player also on that platform next to that. The rest of that platform had 10 chairs for ripieno singers: S1, S2, A, T, B on the left and B, T, A, S2, S1 on the right. They stood for the movements they were singing in.

Viewed from the audience: all the string players were on the left half of the stage, and all the winds on the right. The violinists (3 + 2) and violist (1) were seated as a group, in normal modern orchestral position. The harpsichordist was seated at far left, with the instrument pointing up between the back of the string section and that group of ripienists. The tail of the harpsichord was near the (raised) cellist.

On the right side, the two oboists (and a third one sneaking onstage for the Sanctus) were in front, with the two flautists next to them. Behind them were the two bassoonists, near the center by the (raised) organ. The three trumpeters were at far right, on their own raised little platform facing sideways toward the conductor, with the timpanist next to them. The hornist was seated near the bassoonists, and had nothing to do except deliver the fiendish "Quoniam"...for which he stood to play. Two of the trumpeters were father and son...reminding me of the old family/guild structure!

In a line across the middle of the stage, in front of the cello/bass/organ, sat the five (six for Sanctus) concertists. They stood to sing, and sat to rest, and each eventually drained most of their glasses of water. The concertists were Marieke Steenhoek, Catherine Webster, Johannette Zomer, Matthew White, Charles Daniels, and Peter Harvey. Ms Steenhoek was one of the ripienists most of the time but came forward several times to join the concertists for several solo movements.

And in front of everybody, Jos van Veldhoven conducted this very well rehearsed ensemble. Vigorously and elegantly, no baton. As my wife pointed out, the balance was excellent as all the musicians were listening to one another, and getting their own part out of the way (in volume) to let other people's phrasing and entrances come through clearly. Every line from everybody had a terrific (and natural) rise and fall...so the texture was constantly changing, and always interesting. There was no dull or pedestrian moment anywhere. Many of the singers glanced at their books only rarely. The two hours went by without seeming long. The audience gave a strong ovation not only at the end, but also at intermission (the end of the Gloria), and more briefly between the Credo and Sanctus. There were some other spots, especially after poignant slow movements, where quiet gasps of "wow" from the audience could be heard. The "Cum Sancto Spiritu" was remarkably fast. All the other tempos were moderate, or even tending toward the slow/leisurely side, which gave plenty of room for intricate detail. That works for me!

At intermission there was a broadcast announcement that somebody had left a vehicle in the parking lot, with lights on. The bass player onstage immediately joked that it was his.

It was all wonderful. If I had to pick out a single highlight movement for the goosebumps, it would be the Benedictus: which coincidentally was the only one that JvV did not conduct. He just stood there quietly, and the four musicians did it the good old-fashioned way by listening to and cueing one another, with some extraordinary nuances of both tempo and dynamics. Charles Daniels (tenor), Marten Root (flute), Richte van der Meer (cello), and Siebe Henstra (organ). [What a group of all-stars!]

Because both organ and harpsichord were available, and the continuo team also included two bassoons and cello and bass, there was room for lots of variety in having some of them drop out occasionally. Most of the big movements had both keyboards going most of the time, with harpsichord occasionally dropping out for shorter sections. Solos usually had only one keyboard. One of my favorite bits (but I forget which movement!) had all the accompaniment done by winds: the two oboes, bassoon on the continuo line, and organ.

Since the B Minor Mass doesn't specify deployments to concertists vs ripienists, and Bach never had a full performance of it in his lifetime, van Veldhoven took a very creative and flexible approach (which some might even call "fussy", but musically effective). The ripienists were coming in and out all the time, during the "choral" movements, and I could never guess ahead of time which passages would be done which way...with concertists alone, or with more singers. And that added to the excitement of the piece, that constantly changing texture. When the ripienists were in, due to the spatial separation (these two different OVPP groups each across the back), the voice part was therefore coming from three widely different places on stage all at once: terrific stereo effect. Concertist in the middle, + ripienist on the string-group side, + ripienist on the wind-group side as mirror image.

They follow the same scheme on the recording (recorded in December), which I bought last night and listened to most of on the way home. The recording has most of the same people from last night; different cellist and a few others among the orchestra. Dorothee Mields is concertist soprano 1 in the recording, but Canadian Catherine Webster replaced her for this tour, splitting the part with Steenhoek.

As my wife and I were comp-ticket guests of one of the performers, they also invited us to the private end-of-tour party at the 5-star hotel afterward. Wow. Just us, plus the organbuilder, plus a local friend of one of the trumpeters, plus the orchestra and singers. We got lost driving downtown, but somehow found the hotel just two minutes ahead of the tour bus's arrival. During the party I got introduced to each new person as "the Bach-tuning guy" (in Dutch), and eyes would always light up.... So we stood around having drinks and hors d'oeuvres with these folks, until we bowed out at about midnight for our drive home.

I got to talk with van Veldhoven a bit, and some of the string players, but spent most of the time chatting career stuff with the two keyboardists: Henstra and Pieter-Jan Belder. We talked about the other four performances in this tour, and other projects they're working on, etc etc etc -- great to "talk shop" with colleagues of this caliber, about the same age as I. Richte van der Meer thanked me personally for working out a keyboard temperament that is so congenial to string players. (Sports fans might recall that this gentleman has been playing cello with the top Dutch groups for my whole lifetime, so far.) What a nice bunch of folks. The orchestra also sang "Happy Birthday" to one of their players. Don't ask orchestra players to sing after too many beers. :)

They were looking forward to a good LONG night of sleep, perhaps until noon today, before the flight back home tonight. Several people mentioned to me that the ensemble had had problems with jet lag earlier in the tour, being six to nine hours behind their normal sleep schedule. That's an occupational hazard of Europeans touring the USA....

According to the program booklet, last night's concert tape might be broadcast sometime on the National Public Radio program "Performance Today". Except for a few isolated blips in the wind parts, and the harpsichord drifting somewhat out of tune during the first half (well, enough for me to notice...), the whole thing was as clean and nearly-flawless as one might hope. Especially so, for the end of a tour that had them performing in five widely separated places over the course of only 10 days, plus the jet lag of traveling west.

The CD set comes with a hardbound and full color 192-page book which I haven't even begun to read yet. The produchas several large corporate sponsors, and leaves the word "deluxe" as inadequate. Van Veldhoven told me they're hoping to do a set of the St Matthew Passion within the next couple of years. I can hardly wait; the radio aircheck CDs I have from last year's (Lent 2006) concert cycle are excellent...and the ensemble does the St Matthew every year, as one of their specialties.

The BMM CD: http://www.channelclassics.com

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 26, 2007):
< The CD set comes with a hardbound and full color 192-page book which I haven't even begun to read yet. The production has several large corporate sponsors, and leaves the word "deluxe" as inadequate.
The BMM CD:
http://www.channelclassics.com >
Now, a report on that booklet. Everything is in four languages: Dutch, English, German, and French. There are essays about the Mass in general (liturgically & historically); about Bach's composition; and about van Veldhoven's aims for this particular performance. The Mass's sung text is given in those four languages, in parallel with the Latin each time. There are pages listing and describing the ensemble, and photos of the vocal soloists and conductor.

One of the co-sponsors is the Museum Catharijneconvent, in Utrecht. There are at least a dozen full-color reproductions of paintings from this museum's collection. All the way from pages 94 to 165 we get color photos, descriptions, and little essays about "liturgical objects" from the museum's collection: communion cups, candelabra, bowls, incense boats, etc. All informative, interesting, and beautifully done.

The outer box of the set is very sturdy, and embossed on front and back and spine. If the documentation book and the CD wallet are both in the box at the same time, their spines together show a detail from another painting. And the CDs are hybrid SACD/CD.

The museum: http://www.catharijneconvent.nl

Uri Golomb wrote (April 26, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote (re van Veldhoven's BMM):
< Since the B Minor Mass doesn't specify deployments to concertists vs ripienists, and Bach never had a full performance of it in his lifetime, van Veldhoven took a very creative and flexible approach (which some might even call "fussy", but musically effective). >
Actually, he's been quite flexible with the SJP as well -- and there we have clearer indications from Bach... AFAIK, the sources indicate that Bach had ripienist singing throughout most/all of the choral movements; yet Veldhoven, in his CD, did assign several passages to concertists alone. I'm not complaining -- far from it: those concertist-only passages are often among the most beautiful in his performance, and his choice of when to move from full sections to concertists only were, musically speaking, highly persuasive. My only disappointment is that, in his notes, he doesn't mention this decision. I would like to know -- did he have any historical arguments to support his choice, or was it done primarily for aesthetic reasons?

For myself, I'd have no qualms if it turns out to be a matter of artistic choice: he had very good musical reasons for doing as he did, and his SJP is among the most beautiful and moving I've ever heard. (My main reservation is that some passges -- particularly the crowd choruses -- are a bit anaemic; but that's more than compensated for in the breathtaking beauty and profound expressiveness of so many other movements). But if he did have historical arguments as well, I'd like to know what they are.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 27, 2007):
[To Uri Golomb] In the Mass's book, he points out (but rather vaguely) that it's based on historical arguments, but also "I felt free to take a fresh look at the score". When I get a chance, I'll type out some more paragraphs of his...unless it's already fully on the label's web site in a place I haven't found.

His opening three paragraphs are here (all run together into one), and they do mention the St John as starting point. Click through the album's cover art: http://www.channelclassics.com/

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 27, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
<<< Here's a warmly enthusiastic review of one of van Veldhoven's tour performances this past Saturday, in Berkeley: http://www.contracostatimes.com/entertainment/ci_5731326
Anybody else from here going to hear them tomorrow night (Tuesday 7:30) in Richmond VA? That's the final concert of the five in this short US tour. >>>
<< Give us a report. Plenty of room for more of that on BCML. >>
< During the party I got introduced to each new person as "the Bach-tuning guy" (in Dutch), and eyes would always light up....
Richte van der Meer thanked me personally for working out a keyboard temperament that is so congenial to string players. >
Thanks for the details! I just grabbed a comment or two 'at random' to reference my response.

Neil Halliday wrote (April 27, 2007):
I quite enjoy Veldhoven's method of contrasting concertists and ripienists in the example of the "Et Resurrexit" (available at the link given by Brad).

Noting the number of singers that Brad mentioned (15 in total), we have OVPP sections introducing vocal fugues etc. contrasted with the 3VPP sections for full orchestra with trumpets and drums etc., and this particular movement has all the strength, energy and vitality one would desire, as far as both vocal and orchestral sound is concerned.

Of course, Bach himself calls for such division of concertists and ripienists in some of the cantatas; and I notice Rilling most effectively uses this method in BWV 105 (on the same CD as this week's cantata).

I'm wondering about Velhoven's deployment for the Sanctus. I suspect any attempt to contrast concertists and ripienists here might begin to sound "fussy". He doesn't have enough singers - 18 would be required - for 3VPP, but I presume he uses all his available forces. We all know Rifkin's OVPP Sanctus sounds inadequate; I think Veldhoven's Sanctus was positively reviewed.

And what of the double-choir "Osanna"? That would require 16 singers for 2VPP, although a lighter vocal texture might be satisfactory in this movement.

My impression of the opening bars of the Mass, as heard in the video-clip, is that it is underpowered; no doubt because the traditional grandeur of the Mass's beginning is firmly entrenched in my mind.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 27, 2007):
< My impression of the opening bars of the Mass, as heard in the video-clip, is that it is underpowered; no doubt because the traditional grandeur of the Mass's beginning is firmly entrenched in my mind. >
My impression of the opening bars of the Mass, sitting there hearing them do this in concert, put me straight to goosebumps and tears within seconds. No "underpowered" here. The whole stage full of people burst into music, exquisitely balanced and tuned and expressive.

"Traditional grandeur" is to judge them by a standard that wasn't Bach's!

Neil Halliday wrote (April 27, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>The whole stage full of people burst into music, exquisitely balanced and tuned and expressive.<
Sounds impressive! Maybe if I was there...

 

van Veldhoven - booklet essay

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 27, 2007):
< In the Mass's book, he points out (but rather vaguely) that it's based on historical arguments, but also "I felt free to take a fresh look at the score". When I get a chance, I'll type out some more paragraphs of his...unless it's already fully on the label's web site in a place I haven't found.>

Rather than typing it all out, I've put up a quick scan from the booklet: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/files/veldhoven_notes_b_minor_mass/

In some browsers one might have to click on the first image and resize it (since it's wide), to make sure it comes up in readable resolution.

 

Mass in B minor BWV 232: Details
Recordings:
1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Individual Movements
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17
Systematic Discussions:
Part 1: Kyrie | Part 2: Gloria | Part 3: Credo | Part 4: Sanctus | Part 5: Agnus Dei | Part 6: Early Recordings | Part 7: Summary
Individual Recordings:
BWV 232 - C. Abbado | BWV 232 - Anonymous | BWV 232 - G.C. Biller | BWV 232 - F. Brüggen | BWV 232 - J. Butt | BWV 232 - S. Celibidache | BWV 232 - M. Corboz | BWV 232 - A. Eby | BWV 232 - G. Enescu | BWV 232 - E. Ericson | BWV 232 - D. Fasolis | BWV 232 - J.E. Gardiner | BWV 232 - C.M. Giulini | BWV 232 - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 232 - T. Hengelbrock | BWV 232 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 232 - R. Hickox | BWV 232 - R. Jacobs | BWV 232 - E. Jochum | BWV 232 - Ifor Jones | BWV 232 - K. Junghänel & Cantus Cölln | BWV 232 - H.v. Karajan | BWV 232 - R. King | BWV 232 - O. Klemperer | BWV 232 - S. Kuijken | BWV 232 - G. Leonhardt | BWV 232 - P. McCreesh | BWV 232 - M. Minkowski | BWV 232 - H. Müller-Bruhl | BWV 232 - S. Ozawa | BWV 232 - M. Pearlman | BWV 232 - K. Richter | BWV 232 - J. Rifkin | BWV 232 - H. Rilling | BWV 232 - H. Scherchen | BWV 232 - P. Schreier | BWV 232 - R. Shaw | BWV 232 - G. Solti | BWV 232 - M. Suzuki | BWV 232 - J. Thomas & ABS | BWV 232 - K. Thomas | BWV 232 - J.v. Veldhoven
Articles:
Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 [T. Noel Towe] | Bach’s B minor Mass on Period Instruments [D. Satz] | Like Father, Like Son [B. Pehrson]

Jos van Veldhoven: Short Biography | Nederlandse Bachvereniging | Recordings of Vocal Works | General Discussions
Individual Recordings:
BWV 232 - J.v. Veldhoven | BWV 244 - J.v. Veldhoven | | BWV 245 - J.v. Veldhoven | BWV 248 - J.v. Veldhoven

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Last update: ýJanuary 18, 2010 ý20:49:14