Bach: Complete Edition
Johann Sebastian Bach’s stature as a composer of extraordinary talent and widespread influence is so firmly established in Western culture that it is difficult to believe that only 150 years ago his works lay in veritable obscurity, unknown to all but a small group of scholars. It is largely thanks to Mendelssohn, who essentially effected a revival of the composer’s music through his rediscovery and promulgation of the St Matthew Passion, besides other pieces, that his works are today regarded as pinnacles of music expression. That they are among the most performed and widely attended is in no doubt; in Holland alone, thousands of singers and musicians are involved in dozens of performances of the St Matthew Passion in Holy Week, with hundreds of thousands listening in churches and concert halls, or gathered around the radio, to what has been described as ‘the Gospel according to Bach’.
Bringing together all of his works, this dynamic 142-CD set offers a resounding impression of this great spirit of our Western culture, presenting dynamic performances – many period-based, many acclaimed by the international press – that are divided according to genre, thus making for a highly user-friendly compendium. The set draws on all periods of his career, tracing the development of a style that was much influenced by contemporary and past fashions but which was always adapted to Bach’s own purpose, often far surpassing the models on which he drew. The German composer travelled a great deal from city to city, and the different circumstances of his various positions are reflected in the great range of works comprising his output: while his early years are dominated by much keyboard music, on account of the numerous organist posts he held during this period, later positions at various courts accorded him more personal and artistic freedom – in Cöthen, for example, Prince Leopold’s passion for music-making and his renowned resident orchestra resulted in a string of unforgettable works including the great Brandenburg Concertos, the Solo Cello Suites and the Well-Tempered Clavier Part 1, beside many others.
Bach was a master of all genres, whether sacred, secular, instrumental or vocal, and his oeuvre is a rich mixture of severe Baroque craftsmanship and expressive Romanticism. Thomas Zehetmair, Kristof Barati, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, René Jacobs, Peter Schreier and Lucia Popp are just a handful of the first-class performers and ensembles gracing this set. It is a collection not to be passed up.
R E V I E W S:
"Brilliant Classics embarked on a daring project in the year 2000, the year of the 250th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach's death: this budget label decided to release a complete set of Bach's works...some 65% of the 155 CDs in this set were newly recorded (the remainder was licensed from other labels), including Bach's almost 200 sacred cantatas...I highly recommend this set. I have recordings of all of Bach's works and yet I was delighted and surprised as I listened to the many pearls that I discovered here...if you like Bach's music, you owe it to yourself to get this - at its super-bargain price, even those recordings you don't like will not cause too much disappointment, but the quality of the excellent ones is such that you will certainly be delighted...If only to have the 60 CDs of sacred cantatas, and to discover what is an incredible collection of moving and memorable music, this set is worth having. Treat yourself to 160 CDs of Bach, then, take a few weeks off to enjoy this music." -- Kirk McElhearn, MusicWeb International, reviewing the original version of this set
"Brilliant's 2006 recordings of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, performed by Pieter-Jan Belder and the Netherlandish original instruments ensemble Musica Amphion, have been reissued several times as two separate discs, though the original release containing all six concertos maintains a separate existence as a budget release. This volume contains the Concerto No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049, the Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050, and the Concerto No. 6 in B flat major, BWV 1051, all played in clean and colorful period style and recorded in a resonant church acoustic that gives the music a fresh, lustrous ambience. Because this, like other titles in Brilliant's catalog, has the drab appearance of a poorly produced cost-cutter release, some collectors may pass it by, but that would be a mistake since these are exceptional performances that can give many of the better-known authentic renditions a run for the money. As leader of the group and performer on recorder and harpsichord, Belder offers intelligent and expressive interpretations that closely follow accepted Baroque practices, and though he and his fellow musicians aren't widely known outside the circle of listeners interested in early music, they can be respected for their musicianship and scholarly credentials. While these Brandenburgs may not be everyone's favorite performances in the end, they deserve attention from experienced listeners and newcomers alike." -- Blair Sanderson, AllMusic.com, reviewing the Brandenburg Concertos
"In their fusion of grand rhetoric, sharp technique, and obvious musical intelligence, Baráti’s readings of this bedrock literature recall both the most majestic and the most thoughtful ones from an earlier era. Urgently recommended, especially to those who honor that tradition and who lament its coming to a premature and unfortunate end." -- Robert Maxham, FANFARE, reviewing the Sonatas and Partitas for Violin
"Jaap ter Linden's traversal of the Bach cello suites is exceptionally fine; right across these discs, his playing never falters. His painstakingly researching interpretations are vividly spontaneous, yet unusually acerbic and philosophically probing." -- Classic CD, reviewing the Cello Suites
Catalog Number: BRI94940
Label: Brilliant Classics
Number of Discs: 142
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor: Burkhard Glaetzner, Erhard Mauersberger, Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, Krijn Koetsveld, Kurt Masur, Ludwig Güttler, Martin Flämig, Nicol Matt, Peter Schreier, Pieter-Jan Belder, Pieter-Jan Leusink, René Jacobs, Rolf Schweizer, Rudolf Mauersberger, Thomas Zehetmair
Orchestra/Ensemble: Academy for Ancient Music Berlin, Amsterdam Bach Soloists, Berlin Chamber Orchestra, Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus, Berlin Soloists, Chamber Choir of Europe, Dresden Boys' Choir, Dresden Kreuz Choir, Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble Il Quadrifoglio, European Chamber Soloists, Hallé Madrigal Singers, Heidelberg Bach Ensemble, Holland Boys' Choir, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Leipzig New Bach Collegium Musicum, Leipzig St. Thomas Church Choir, Musica Amphion, Netherlands Bach Collegium, Netherlands Bach Ensemble, New Bach Collegium Musicum Orchestra, Pforzheim Motet Choir, Pforzheim Southwest German Chamber Orchestra, Virtuosi Saxoniae
Performer: Adele Stolte, Albert Brüggen, Andreas Lorenz, Andreas Scheibner, Annelies Burmeister, Annette Markert, Arleen Augér, Armin Thalheim, Astrid Pilzecker, Axel Köhler, Bas Ramselaar, Bernarda Fink, Bob van Asperen, Carolyn Watkinson, Christiane Oelze, Christiane Wuyts, Christine Schornsheim, Christoph Genz, Christoph Prégardien, Daniele Boccaccio, Doris Soffel, Eberhard Büchner, Eckart Haupt, Edith Mathis, Egbert Junghanns, Elizabeth Perry, Erika Wustman, Erwin Wieringa, Eva Hassbecker, Federico Del Sordo, Frank De Bruine, Franz-Joseph Selig, Friedemann Jähnig, Georg Jelden, Gerda Schriever, Gerhard Hauptmann, Giorgio Krohner, Guido Titze, Günter Klier, Günther Leib, Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, Hans-Jürgen Richter, Hans-Martin Nau, Heinz Schmidt, Heinz Schnauffer, Heinz-Dieter Richter, Helmut Radatz, Helmut Rucker, Henk Rubingh, Herbert Collum, Hermann-Christian Polster, Hillevi Martinpelto, Irmgard Schaller, Jaap ter Linden, Jed Wentz, Joachim Bischof, Johannes Boer, Johannes Künzel, Johannette Zomer, Julia Hamari, Jürgen Pilz, Karl Suske, Knut Schoch, Kristóf Baráti, Lucia Popp, Lucia Swarts, Ludwig Güttler, Luis Otavio Santos, Manfred Krause, Manfred Reichelt, Marcel Beekman, Marieke Schneemann, Mariette Holtrop, Mario D'Agosto, Marjon Strijk, Marten Boeken, Mathias Schmutzler, Matthias Goerne, Mechtild Stark, Menno Van Delft, Michael Borgstede, Mieneke Van der Velden, Mitsuko Shirai, Nico Van der Meel, Patxi Montero, Peter Schreier, Pieter Dirksen, Pieter-Jan Belder, Rainer Kussmaul, Rainer Zipperling, Remy Baudet, Renate Krahmer, Richte Van der Meer, Rob Visser, Robert Getchell, Roland Rudolph, Roland Straumer, Rudolf Schock, Ruth Holton, Saskia Coolen, Sayuri Yamagata, Siebe Henstra, Siegfried Lorenz, Siegfried Vogel, Staas Swierstra, Stefano Molardi, Sylke Schwab, Sytse Buwalda, Theo Adam, Theunis Van der Zwart, Thomas Hengelbrock, Thomas Käppler, Thomas Zehetmair, Valerio Losito, Violetta Liebsch, Werner Zeibig, Wilbert Hazelzet, William Wroth, Wolfgang Pechke