Wednesday, 9 April 2008

91. Johann Sebastian Bach - Motets (1726-35)















Recording

Title: Motets BWV 225-231
Performers: Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists
Director: John Eliot Gardiner
Year: 1980
Length: 1 hour 40 minutes

Review

Ahh, this is more like it. Bach brings us yet again his prowess in composing for choirs. This is a collection of all the known Motets and motet like movements by Bach, and it is a really beautiful collection.

Bach manages to be alternatively sorrowful, bombastic, joyful and very touching. What I admire most about these pieces, however, is the sense of controlled chaos which seems to be almost always present in the music, as the voices interweave always leading to an harmonious result but many times sounding like it is all going to implode.

The recording is fantastic, with only very limited use of instrumentation, except where it is really called for, this makes for a perfect album if you are interested in the choral work more than the instrumental work, as they don't intrude on each other. This is a huge leap forward since the last album of Motets we have had on this list. Onwards to more Bach.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Johann Sebastian Bach also wrote seven surviving works he called motets; Bach's motets were relatively long pieces in German on sacred themes for choir and basso continuo. Bach's motets are:

* BWV 225 Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (1726)
* BWV 226 Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf (1729)
* BWV 227 Jesu, meine Freude (?)
* BWV 228 F├╝rchte dich nicht (?)
* BWV 229 Komm, Jesu, komm! (1730 ?)
* BWV 230 Lobet den Herrn alle Heiden (?)
* BWV 231 Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren (?)

There is also a piece of a cantata that is classified as a motet.

* BWV 118 O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht (1736-1737?)


The beginning of Jesu, Meine Freude:

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