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  Channel Classics -
  CCS SA 32010
  Bach: Magnificat - Jos van Veldhoven
  Bach: Magnificat BWV 243, Cantata "Unser Mund sei Voll Lachens" BWV 110

The Netherlands Bach Society
Jos van Veldhoven (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Vocal
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 2
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Site review by Castor November 5, 2010
Performance:   Sonics:  
Anyone seeking an appropriate Christmas present for a discerning audiophile needs look no further than this superbly performed and recorded SACD.

Both the works on this lovely offering from Jos van Veldhoven and the Netherlands Bach Society are associated with the festival of Christmas so their coupling is most certainly apt.
The seven-movement Cantata ‘Unser Mund sei voll Lachens’ (BWV110) received its first performance in Leipzig on Christmas day 1725 and the music of its opening section will be recognized by many as an adaptation of Bach’s popular Suite in D (BWV1069). Scored for four-part choir with 3 trumpets, timpani, flutes, oboe, bassoon, violin, viola and continuo with organ, the galloping rhythm of the opening contrasts with the more intimate sections that follow. All four soloists are excellent, delivering their arias with pure tone and feeling. This is particularly true in the case of the counter-tenor William Towers whose singing of the aria ‘Ach Herr, was ist ein Menschenkind’ with its lovely oboe accompaniment is most touching.

Bach’s earlier version of his Magnificat (in the key of E flat major) was written in 1723 and first performed on Christmas day that year in Leipzig. At that time it was not uncommon for composers to insert what were called ‘Einlagen’ or interludes into the standard text. These were pieces apposite to Christmas, such as carols, traditional or newly composed. When Bach produced his second and grander version of the Magnificat nine years later, this time in the key of D major, the ‘Einlagen’ were dropped, which freed the work from performances being simply given at Christmas.
On this SACD Jos van Veldhoven has had the happy idea of performing Bach’s familiar (and most would agree superior) second version of the Magnificat in D (BWV243), but with an added twist. In order to maintain the Christmas theme of the whole disc he has inserted four appropriate and quite delightful ‘Einlagen’ by seventeenth century composers into the work. These are:

‘Hoe schoon lichtet de morghen ster’ (Dirck Janszoon Sweelinck)
‘Currite, pastores’ (Jan Baptist Verrijt)
‘O Jesulein,mein Jesulein’ (Johann Hermann Schein)
‘Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe’ (Johann Michael Bach)

Of course, anyone wishing to listen to the Magnificat without these additional movements can easily do so by programming their player accordingly, but I cannot imagine that anyone will not consider them to be a most welcome bonus when performed as entrancingly as here.

As in the cantata, solo and choral singing is exceptionally fine while the varied instrumental accompaniments, as anyone familiar with the Netherlands Bach ensemble’s work knows, are delivered with exceptional polish and a ravishing sound.

The 5.0 DSD recording, made in the Concert Hall, Tilburg, is vivid and realistic with a wide spread. The festive trumpets and hard baroque timpani make their full impact in the more exuberant sections of both works, yet the recording also captures the intimacy of the more reflective moments such as the tenor aria ‘Ihr Gedanken und ihr Sinnen’ in the cantata in which two flutes tenderly accompany the vocal line. As usual with Channel presentation is excellent. The 28-page booklet contains informative notes by the conductor, biographies of the artists and texts and translations are also included.

Recommended unreservedly.

Copyright © 2010 Graham Williams and

Review by JJ March 5, 2011 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Bach composed two Magnificat. The first was in 1723, for Christmas day, and it included four German texts from the pens of Dirck Janszoon Sweelinck (1591-1652), Jan Baptist Verrijt (1600-1650), Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630), and Johann Michael Bach (1648-1694). The second, which we hear here, is without these additions. For his recording, the conductor Jos van Veldhoven returns to the original, specifying: “Towards 1733, Bach did a second version of the Magnificat in D, this time with nothing added. The major differences between these two versions can be seen to be improvements and evolutions in the style of Bach’s composition, or adaptations to daily practice. He could thus, between the two versions, have access to two flute players in his orchestra. By these adaptations, Bach increased considerably the possibilities of use of his work.” The Cantata BWV 110 “Let our mouth be full of laughter,” it too for Christmas day, was first performed in 1725. The Dutch group that Jos van Veldhoven directs delivers a musical message of pristine beauty. And in the two works the solo parts transport us as fully as does the direction, with Dorothee Mields (soprano), Johannete Zomer (soprano), William towers (alto), Charles Daniels (tenor), Stephan MacLoed (bass). This is a great accomplishment, in an exemplary sound recording that respects tones and acoustics.

Jean-Jacques Millo
Translation Lawrence Schulman

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Works: 2  

Johann Sebastian Bach - Cantata "Unser Mund sei voll Lachens", BWV 110
Johann Sebastian Bach - Magnificat in D major, BWV 243 (after BWV 243a)