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Pinz And Needlez. Religion Of The Beast. Bloody Murder. Inhale Ar Your Own Risk. Firewalk Wit Tha Seedhead. Eternal Flame. Bong Thang. Green Resources. Smoke Box EP - Cover. Smoke Box EP - Playlist. Lunatic in the Hall. War Horse. Ashes to Ashes. Taken Down Through There. Deteration Piece. Slaughterhouse Bonus. The Other Side Bonus. Deteriation Piece. Kingdom of Shells. Inhale At Your Own Risk. Puddles Of Blood [High Quality]. Mo Money Mo Murda.

Voices in My Head. Ride Or Die. Homicidal Shadow. Take Me Out. Pray With The Canndlesticks. The Exorcist. Drink the Blood, Eat the Flesh. Kill The Priest featuring Mad Insanity. Fallen Angels. Burn the Cross. Wicked 4 Lyfe Featuring Bedlam. Calling Me featuring Bedlam. Holy Water. Slaughterhouse ft. Raw Society. The Otherside. Jake Featuring Raw Society. The names of several conductors and singers reappear frequently on the list below. The most gifted leader, Hermann Scherchen, is not a Bach specialist, but is well known in America where he has not yet appeared through his numerous and varied recordings.

Never one to be bound by tradition, he sometimes arouses mis- givings in the orthodox; but he is never dull, and his interpreta- tions generally are based on strong musicality. Fritz Lehmann is a reliable conductor, more conventional and less exciting than Scherchen.

The admirable lieder singer Fischer-Dieskau and the excellent tenor Helmut Krebs appear in several of Lehmann 's per- formances. The recordings of Felix Prohaska are also on the whole good; Rossl-Majdan and the young soprano Anny Felber- mayer sing in several of them. And Hans Grischkat, who rivals Scherchen as a prolific cantata conductor, is a good musician, if sometimes a little stolid. The best of his soloists is Margot Guilleaume, whose singing is sometimes outstanding.

Bach 5 No. Because of the beauty of the familiar hymn on which it is founded, and no less because of the seemingly endless ingenuity of Bach's instrumentation, this is one of the most immediately appealing of all the cantatas. It contains, too, an especially lovely soprano aria, "Erfullet ihr himmlischen gbttlichen Flarnmen" The per- formance is generally well sung, but not perfectly balanced in re- production.

We could do with more of the chorale melody in the first movement. The soloists sing with impressive sincerity and excellent musical intentions, but without full mastery of the diffi- culties Bach has set them. Preference among these three performances is conclusively de- cided by Lehmann 's soloists both Prohaska and Shaw assign the solo portions to appropriate sections of the chorus. Fischer- Dieskau, especially, sings eloquently, though he does some trans- posing where the vocal line approaches the extremes of his range.

On the other hand, Decca's reproduction is somewhat lacking in sonority; the Bach Guild recording is mechanically better. Shaw's performance is rather businesslike; some of the singing inclines to be choppy.

As Schering has noted, this cantata may be considered a "con- tinuation and epitome of the scenes depicted in the Saint John Passion," in a narrative as well as a musical sense. Certainly the opening chorus bears more than a family resemblance to the "Ruht wohl" of the greater work.

In the recording, some concern is apparent over the matter of balance, for the chorus seems to be placed beyond the orchestra. The effect is generally good, though such an arrangement would account for a certain dullness in the choral tone. The soloists, unfortunately, are too close to the microphone.

Plumacher does not manage to make light of the technical difficulties of her first aria; she seems rushed by the conductor, and consequently unable to give the words due weight. Bach 6 No. The ninth cantata is one of Bach's finest. Spitta says it "gives us perfect satisfaction by its masterly completeness and fulness of form.

The chief musical interest here lies in the original contralto aria later remodeled into the "Agnus Dei" of the B minor Mass. In both recordings the best singing is done by the contralto. Al- though the Stuttgart tenor is ineffectual and the other soloists are hardly better, the not-too-successful English translation throws the decision to the German group. Even Ferrier's excellent dic- tion is unable to make the text plain. The gem of this cantata is the tenor aria "Bleibt, ihr Engel, bleibt bei mir," with an obbligato trumpet playing a familiar chorale melody.

Krebs is the more impressive of the two tenors. The Lehmann performance is the better balanced; while Grischkat's chorus seems distant, his soloists are too much with us. Weber sings the famous aria "Seufzer, Thranen, Rummer, Not" effectively under Lehmann, and Krebs shows a good grasp of his solos.

The tenor, however, encounters some formidable competi- tion from Cuenod, whose sensitive singing is the feature among Sternberg's soloists. The duet in the Decca recording suffers from the voices being too close to the microphone, but the whole effect of the cantata is smoother and more penetrating than in the Bach Guild version. I am not sure the device of reducing the elaborate choruses to J.

Bach 7 solo voices is the best possible solution for the problem of clarity in this work, but this performance has movement. Felbermayer deserves a word of praise for her singing of the aria "Letzte Stunde, brick herein," which brings this festive composition to its sober concluding thought on death and the future life.

If it were the only recording in the field, Reinhardt's would rate as very satisfactory; as it is, the choice falls to Scherchen. Again, were Laszlo's voice less appealingly lyrical and her style less musicianly and beautifully matched with that of Poell, the combination of Giebel and Muller would impress us more.

The latter soprano's voice, however, lacks the vibrancy we admire in her rival. After Scherchen, the Reinhardt performance seems just a bit dull. Like so many Bach performances, this one is uneven, with Stern- berg's youthful spirit and earnestness compensating for some ob- vious weaknesses, and with a certain nervousness especially noticeable in the first movement.

The choral sections are un- usually transparent, the vocal soloists generally good, and the instrumentalists excellent, though the trumpeters do not find the going easy. This cantata, composed for a service of thanksgiving on the ar- rival in Leipzig of some eighteen hundred war refugees from Salz- burg, is particularly touching as we realize the timeliness of its text.

The orchestra — two flutes, two oboes, strings, and organ — is strikingly lovely, especially at the opening, and the aria for soprano with flutes in unison and continuo, ii H6chster was ich habe," is one of those beautiful flowing melodies of which Bach so well knew the secret. The choral work is clear in texture, but the soloists are uneven. The bass sings with good authority, but the ladies are rather tentative. If the moving opening chorus of this cantata seems strangely J.

Bach 8 familiar, this is because we have met it before in the B minor Mass, as "Qui tollis peccata mundi. Jonathan Sternberg and the excellent forces he directs succeed in conveying more than a little of the music's power.

Schwarzkopf's Jauchzet Gott is perhaps her most brilliant tour de force to date — one wonders if any other soprano could match her for sheer endurance, for accuracy, or for rhythmic precision at breakneck speed. On the other hand, one wonders if this is really all Bach intended. In the more sustained portions the soprano is at her loveliest; only a tendency to sing the words too inwardly is open to any sort of criticism. Neither Danco nor Guilleaume attempts to rival Schwarzkopf's dazzling brilliance.

The former, taking the opening movement at a less headlong tempo, negotiates the coloratura with notable ease, yet her tone somehow lacks solidity. It remains for Guilleaume to publish Bach's glad tidings without exhausting herself or her listeners. Schwarzkopf's record- ing has been available for several years as a rpm importation; at 33 it is not seriously hampered by a heavy bass. Danco's version is the most recent of the three and the best mechanically. Schlage doch is a contralto's paradise, with long luscious lines to be caressed by a noble voice, and with just the kind of ex- pressiveness only such a voice can give.

Strange, then, that more deep-toned ladies have not recorded it; stranger still that neither of the two artists here listed has come nearer to the core of the matter. Rossl-Majdan is a fine singer with a lovely voice, as many discs have shown; perhaps it is Scherchen who keeps the cantata from flowing, for the orchestra part is a little choppy. Hennecke 's voice is less rich and less steady: in this case it is definitely the singer who does not thrill us.

Bach 9 No. The contralto is more successful here than in the better-known No. Fischer-Dieskau's voice is rich, smooth, and appealing in this solo cantata, his style warm, musical, and clean-cut. It is sur- prising to note that he likes neither high notes nor low, even taking several low G's up an octave.

These must be limitations overcome since this recording was made, for later evidence does not show them. His is certainly the better recording of the can- tata, despite what sounds like not quite perfect microphone place- ment. The voice is a little muffled. This performance and recording are best summed up in the word "competent. Despite some good work by the contralto and general adequacy on the part of the other soloists, the performance of this "Christmas Cantata" can hardly be called inspired.

Cantata 65 has long been familiar in the Anthologie Sonore record- ing, which, despite some clean singing by Max Meili and the chorus, was never satisfactory. The work was cut down to fit two twelve-inch standard-play sides, and even if we accepted this, the transitions from movement to movement were joltingly hasty.

Roger Wagner's restrained tempo in the opening movement — a kind of "March of the Wise Men" to introduce this Epiphany cantata — is definitely good, and the chorus, apparently larger than that on Anthologie Sonore, sings admirably. The bass soloist is outstanding his part is entirely cut in the Anthologie , the tenor a bit quavering and light.

Bach 10 This cantata, with its special dividend of an attractive and re- served performance of the familiar chorale, is authentic enough in style, if we accept the translation and the sheer Britishness of the voices. I am never quite satisfied with the rather stilted ef- fect of the English in the recitatives, and in the arias even Ferrier's good diction does not make the texts plain enough.

It is, of course, to the contralto's participation that the performance owes its chief distinction. This fine cantata is done with good spirit, and in the choral parts, with clarity and finish. The concerted coloratura of the opening movement comes through as it should, the balance with the or- chestra is satisfactory. Among the soloists only Felbermayer is altogether right, but she is considerably more than that.

Foster produces a rather throaty sound; in the quite astonishing recita- tive and arioso — in effect almost a scena drammatica — his sing- ing wants more bite. Wien produces pleasant tones, but her ex- pression is rather tentative. Meyer-Welfing, after delivering his recitative directly through the nose, stands up surprisingly well in his aria, one of the finest moments in the cantata. The repro- duction is good, though I found I had to cut the highs in order to lose some strong sibilants.

This is a cantata of strong attractions, with a particularly fine placid chorale closing the first part, and a charming sinfonia for oboe d'amore, viola da gamba, bass, and continuo opening the second. Scherchen, who has a way of making such music vital, is in fine form here, and it would be hard to resist his perform- ance. Laszlo is excellent, and Rossl-Majdan's solos have true nobility. Munteanu is somewhat tremulous, Standen rather husky, though both sing intelligently.

The splendid final chorale, with its trumpetings and full trappings, makes a thrilling close. Clarity in performance and reproduction is chief among the virtues of the choral portions of Prohaska's recording. In this it is superior to Reinhardt's. It is blessed, too, with unusually effec- tive soloists, and unlike its rival, it has the delicious duet, "Wir J. Bach 11 eilen mit schwachen dock emsigen Schritten," sung by solo voices.

This movement, however, is quite a new thing here, for the tempo is very much faster than is usual, and the continuo played on the organ gives the music a character it does not have with the harpsichord. The speed, I think, is quite in keeping with the text, but the loss in lightness of texture neutralizes some of this gain. The tenor and bass soloists are not only far superior to those in the Concert Hall version; they are exceptionally good by any standards.

Over Prohaska's performance I sense a feeling of restlessness which I do not altogether like; still, it is unques- tionably the best recording so far available. This cantata for Reformation Day contains, among other things, a charming duet for soprano and bass, moving mostly in parallel motion — "Gott, ach Gott, verlass die Deinen nimmermehr" — and an exciting setting of the chorale "Nundanket Alle Gott," punc- tuated by horn fanfares. The choral singing is clear, though the tone is somewhat breathy.

The bass is the best of the soloists. It is perhaps not surprising that Luther's great Reformation hymn should have inspired Bach to one of his most exciting cantatas. From the very first note proclaimed by the tenors, supported by unison violas, cellos, and organ, we are in medias res: never once throughout the cantata are we let down. The first chorus and the brilliant and heavily scored unison chorale "Und wenn die Welt voll Teufel war" are perhaps the highest spots, though the four-square chorale at the end is thrilling in its own way.

The performance is enthusiastic and communicative, if under-rehearsed in places. The opening chorus is clear and the contrapuntal lines are remarkably well brought out; the danger has been averted that so consistently loud a movement might disintegrate into a jumble.

Berry sings his solo well, with the obbligato chorale supplied by the sopranos, but this has been too powerfully recorded. The other vocal soloists are good, and there is fine trumpet-playing by Helmut Wobitsch. Bach 12 the original standard-play version of the Hotter recording as "the most important contribution to the Bach cantata repertoire which has yet appeared. The voice, to be sure, is not the most sensuous we have heard in our time, yet it is smooth and expres- sive in this recording, and the man is a magnificent artist.

The aria "Schlummert ein" with its echoes of the final chorus in the Saint Matthew Passion, is sung with deep reverence and feeling; the final brilliant number is hardly less successful. The transfer to LP has meant a sacrifice of some feeling of space, but the gain in uninterrupted mood is far more important.

Fischer-Dieskau, though at the time of recording he seemed to find the range of the cantata taxing, is only somewhat less convincing. Despite some peculiar labeling, this is a solo cantata, sung in Laszlo's bright, appealing tone. The soprano is, however, guilty of some cooing and some scooping. Her diction is hardly a model. Jonathan Sternberg's forces perform well for him here. Among his chief assets are Cuenod, the seasoned orchestral players, and the choir.

The anxious opening of this cantata, with its almost confused rhythms, is very striking; and the soprano aria "Wie zittern und wanken," with oboe, violins, and viola, is first-rate Bach. The best of the soloists are Weber and Krebs, the latter singing with an easy open tone hardly expected of a German tenor. Fischer is not quite steady in tone, and Schey 's singing is curiously meas- ured. The chorus performs well it seems to be a small one , though its tone is somewhat husky; apparently it has been placed beyond the orchestra, for it is not strong in brilliance.

In the tenor aria there is some difficulty with the horns. The final chorale is a wonderful contemplative movement, with shifting ac- companying rhythm. This is the funeral cantata also known as Actus Tragic us; it boasts one of the most sublimely beautiful orchestral preludes to be found in Bach.

Scherchen uses gambas and flutes in this with very moving effect, but Prohaska goes him one better in dropping the flutes for recorders. Rossl-Majdan and Poell sing their duet superbly in the Scherchen recording, though the basso finds the tessitura high. Prohaska has individual singers for the "choral solos" as well as their extended parts, and they are a superior group — Stich-Randall's voice is especially lovely in the passage that ends the first chorus. Both choruses come through with good definition and satisfactory tone; there is little to choose between the orchestras.

Wagner's singers are competent, but they do not reach the standard of their rivals. This adaptation of the Twenty-third Psalm has a joyous opening chorus with a part for high trumpet, sure in this recording to give trouble if one's turntable is less than perfectly steady. Pliimacher performs well, but the rest of the soloists are not very good. Both the bass recitative and the soprano-tenor duet are sub-standard.

There is nothing particularly distinctive about this performance. The bass aria sounds like a bit of a chore; the other solos are not notably better. Chorus and orchestra acquit themselves satisfactorily. This is one of the best of the Shaw performances. The conduc- tor's usual clean and polished musical lines are once again im- pressive, as is his general air of proficiency.

Indeed, if it has a weakness, this must be that it is too proficient. The two soloists J. Bach 14 are among the best available in this country for this type of music. The reproduction is unusually impressive, combining a sense of presence with a fine effect of space.

This Christmas cantata is reasonably well done. Best of the soloists are the contralto and the tenor, both familiar through other recordings. This cantata is in effect a series of variations on one of the most striking of all the chorales.

There is a particularly effective tenor aria with the old melody serving as trumpet obbligato. The performance is a good one. To one unfamiliar with the Bach cantatas, there could perhaps be no better introduction than this famous work, of whose remarkable middle movement the familiar chorale prelude Wachet auf is a transcription.

The Prohaska performance has the advantage of being coupled with another of the acknowledged great cantatas, and its balance is somewhat better than that of the Scherchen version. Still, the exceptional singing of the duets by Laszlo and Poell is enough to make the Westminster record a "must. It is, however, smooth and well prepared. The immediately striking thing about this cantata is the pre- dominance of the organ in the long elaborate prelude.

In the re- cording this effect is highlighted to such an extent that the chorus, on its entrance, seems removed from the scene — one wonders where the performance took place. What with such unevennesses, both in reproduction and in performance, this is not one of the happiest of the Bach Guild offerings.

Of the soloists, Felber- J. Bach 15 mayer is as usual admirable; Wien is passable; Meyer-Welfing is inclined to put pressure on his voice, with not too happy results. A jubilant duet for tenor and bass is a feature of the work, but its effect is lost because the singers are too close to us. After a hearing of this work, the thing most likely to linger in the memory is a soprano aria of a charm similar to that of "Schafe kbnnen sicher weiden. Both are accomplished and conscientious artists of the solid English tradition — hardly ideal credentials for a Bach performance in the original German.

Accepting this limitation, however, the performance is creditable and the recording excellent. The cantata is for bass solo, with the other voices incidental; as Eby sings all the sacred songs on the reverse, the listener must settle down to quite a session with his voice. Unhappily, it is a very deep, thick, almost sepulchral voice, and he does nothing to brighten it or give it tonal variety. The cantata is built around one lovely aria, but one is not likely to remember this very well after such a performance.

The voices that join in the chorale at the end are not well blended. This cantata, which utilizes the magnificent chorale Herzlich thut mich Verlangen, benefits by some good, neat solo singing. The choral work is well balanced; though not too close upon us, the parts stand out distinctly, as do the orchestral instruments. Spitta calls this cantata "one of the most beautiful of its kind. Of the two singers, Rossl-Majdan is the more successful; in fact this is the best of the three cantatas she sings on this one disc.

Amusingly, the organ obbligato, fully described in the J. Bach 16 jacket notes, is played on the harpsichord in this recording. Hongen is bested by some of the problems set her; her tone is tremulous, her pitch uncertain.

Her unquestionable understanding of the music is not enough to save her. This is an unusually attractive cantata, but the performance does not rise to its material. The opening duet, for soprano and tenor, is quite awkwardly sung, and the bass recitative and aria are al- most metronoraical.

Pliimacher, who sings a recitative designated for tenor, is the best of the soloists. The situation is somewhat relieved when we hear the chorale Ich ruf zu dir, Hen Jesu Christ at the end. Ludwig, despite a voice rather operatic-heavy for the ideal in Bach, gives decidedly the best performance we have had of this solo cantata. A feature of his version is the use of the recorder in the ensemble. Stemann sings intelligently enough, but his voice lacks "edge"; too, his singing is inclined to be square-cut, especially in the recitative.

The Schio'tz record, made at Perpig- nan during the Casals festival, does not show this admi- rable musician at his best, though the accompanying ensemble is very lovely. Part of the trouble seems to be microphone placement.

Among the soloists the special heroes are Rossl-Majdan, whose voice rings out with fine fervor and rich tone in her recitative and aria, and Poell, especially noble of tone, despite hints of limita- tions in his singing range.

Laszlo 's recitative takes her higher than the best part of her voice, but her aria is well sung, if not clearly enunciated. Kmentt has a very florid piece to sing against a lovely instrumental background, and he does it fairly well, J. Bach 17 though his scale is not altogether even; he has a way of opening up his top tones which does not improve their quality.

A good, competent performance by a singer of not exceptional voice. The quality is neither strikingly rich nor particularly steady. The contrast between these two recordings is saddening, for no clear-cut preference is possible. In matters of singing, much is to be said for the second set, in which the ladies at least have more charm than their rivals.

As reproduction, however, Renais- sance provides no such big, broad sound as that of the Bach Guild. And if occasionally we have to take the will for the deed in the more elaborate arias, Koch's performance has the kind of mock seriousness Bach wrote into the score. This is the "Wedding Cantata" once recorded by Elisabeth Schumann, whose performance set an abiding standard despite the effects of a too-close microphone placement.

Felbermayer has a less positive voice and style, and, as if in reaction, she has been placed apparently a little too far away, emerging somewhat weakly, especially in the lower passages. I could wish, too, for more crispness in her diction. The opening of the cantata might have been smoother, but on the whole the performance is satisfactory.

Danco does her customary musicianly job, and she is better served by the recording. But her voice has less warmth and appeal in it than Felbermayer's. This little Italian cantata serves as filler for the second side of the "Coffee Cantata. Perhaps Muller's singing could have been lighter, possibly shaded more, for there is only the harpsichord accompanying. Schlemm, s; Eustrati, c; J. As in the case of Cantata No. Koch's performers quite rightly present the little drama in all seriousness.

The humor, after all, derives largely from Bach's employment of his musical style all in the spirit of fun. Again, some of the singers no more than get by in the more formidable passages they have to sing. Laszlo, for all her intelligence and taste, is not quite comfortable in the high tessitura of this Wedding Cantata, a fact that affects both her tone and her diction.

The one previous LP "Coffee Cantata" was a hastily assembled performance that did nobody any particular credit. This new one is not only more "seasoned," but by absolute standards very good. Sailer's voice is bright and limpid, especially appealing in the "Heute nock" aria. Miiller blusters enough without leaving off solid and legitimate singing, and Feyerabend gives the proper weight to his recitatives.

All three realize that the humor of the piece depends on "deadpan. The one previous recording of the burlesque Peasant Cantata, dating back to the thirties, and not available on LP, was ab- breviated and sung in French. The new one, despite excellent singing, is annoyingly businesslike in its presentation; one thing passes to another with so little concern that the general result is not impressive.

Why this must be so is hardly clear, for the amount of music on each LP side is short by any standard. Bach 19 These chorales are sung by solo voices with organ; there is little dynamic variety in the delivery, and undoubtedly the music would be more effective given by a somewhat larger group. Musically, there seems little point in stringing them together this way. Magnificat Magnificat. When Bach composed his Magnificat for performance in the Leipzig Thomas-Kirche at Christmas time, between movements of the canticle he interpolated settings of four texts traditionally sung in the church at that season — two in German, and two in Latin.

The Vox recording is complete: it includes this special and rarely heard feature. It is also easily the best among the three now listed. The opening chorus always presents a problem, for it was written before Bach had mastered the secret of making polyphonic voices cut through heavy instrumentation.

The effect here is as good as we can reasonably hope to hear; the same admirable clarity prevails through most of the choral sections of the work there is some uncertainty in one of the interpolations. The soloists are a capable lot, and for the most part sing very cleanly. Occasionally one or another of them falls below their established tonal standard, and Plumacher, for one, pokes out the beat in the florid passages she sings.

The reproduction is quite brilliant. Neither of the older performances, without the interpolations, does full justice to the work. Leitner's is the better, though the re- cording balance is poor. Pitzinger is the best of the soloists, though her voice is modest. On the other hand, the lusty tones of Groschel quite overwhelm the instruments in his aria. Masses Mass in B minor.

It is the glory and the despair of every musical masterpiece that J. Bach 20 absolute perfection in performance is never quite attainable, that even when the critics cry "definitive," there is something still to be added the next time a vital interpretative mind sets to it.

From seven listings of the B minor Mass these three are chosen, two because their virtues place them well beyond competition, and one because, on two discs instead of three, it offers astonishing value at a lower price. Karajan and Scherchen both work with forces of the appropriate size, thus avoiding the old temptation to lay on the climaxes and overload the sonorities.

Both, however, succeed in making their resources count. In matters of tempo they are at opposite poles: it is as though Karajan, whose performance came later, had studied Scherchen and determined not to do likewise. I well remember my incredulity on hearing Scherchen's first "Kyrie": could anyone possibly hold it together at so slow a tempo?

It was his great achievement that he did, but Karajan is certainly right in not emulating him. At times, I think, Karajan carries things too far: the second "Kyrie," for me, is too fast, especially as it is to be followed by a very rapid "Gloria. The latter seems to consider the solos as necessary relief, something to be gone through in order to make the choruses stand out more magnificently.

If an ex- ception must be made in the case of Dermota's beautifully sung "Benedictus," the singers have' all they can do to keep up with the conductor's beat. Karajan has certainly assembled the finest quartet since the ancient and overweight performance of Albert Coates, with which the work first came complete to discs.

Each is an artist, and each is allowed to prove it. The first duet, "Christe," is the most reserved and reverent I have ever heard; the two voices match miraculously. In choral precision Scherchen has the edge, and there will be many who find it difficult, as I do, to discard his set while pronouncing Karajan's superior. Lehmann's offering is thoroughly respectable, sometimes more than that, and though it is not so sharp and clean in sound as either of those discussed above the effect is that of a slightly echoey church, with some lack of definition in the choral sound , it would be acceptable enough without their standards of com- parison.

The soprano and the tenor soloists do themselves credit; the others get by. Perhaps because the whole work was to be J. Bach 21 pressed on two discs, the passing from one movement to the next is sometimes almost shockingly rapid. Missa brevis No. It was a nice idea to unearth these more modest Masses, and to call attention to their possibilities for church performance. Also, here and there is a movement of considerable beauty, if hardly of the stature of those in the great B minor.

The best of them, to my ears, is the fourth, and it is also the most adequately per- formed. The ending of the ii Kyrie iJ rises to real impressiveness, and there is good singing from the bass soloist in lt Gratias agimus. I enjoyed the tenor soloist in the third Mass, but on the whole this, like the first and second, seems to have been prepared without too great enthusiasm.

Jesu, meine Freude in English. Komm, Jesu, komm. Der Geist hilft unsrer Schwachheit auf. The motets are never easy to perform; and while it is one thing to hear them passably sung in an auditorium or church, it is quite another to repeat the experience by means of records. For this reason, I am sure, while we can expect the stream of cantata re- cordings to continue as long as there is equipment to play them, only occasionally will one of the motets be given release.

As it happens, the most vexing problem of performance has been solved by the musicologists, those guardians of stylistic rectitude and most merciless of critics. Scholars now agree that Bach's a cappella music was not performed unaccompanied in his own church, but that a group of instruments was used to reinforce the J.

Bach 22 vocal parts. It is therefore no longer necessary to invite fatigue by putting all the burden on the voices, or to take chances on sagging pitch. Robert Shaw, in his recording of Jesu, meine Freude, has taken advantage of this knowledge, using a group of instruments; these, however, play so discreetly that a casual listener might not realize they are there. An English text is used, and the diction is reasonably clear; still, one has to be alert to catch it.

Grossmann's recording may well be his masterpiece. This conductor uses voices alone; obviously the chorus must have rehearsed long and faithfully, for such clarity of texture and accuracy of intonation are rare. The secret seems to lie in two features of the performance: the well-focused tones of the voices and the calm reserve of their singing. Another striking section is "Gute Nacht, o Wesen," with the chorale melody, in the alto, standing out in bold relief.

Perhaps for perfect balance, the basses might be a little stronger. Komm, Jesu, komm, and Singet dem Herrn, both for double chorus, are performed with similar plasticity. The first of these has had two recordings beside those listed above. Both per- formances are labored and tiring for the listener. In his recording, Shaw again reinforces the voices with instruments, and his ap- proach to the work is more simple and direct than that of Jacques or Ross.

His version seemed satisfactory enough until that of Grossmann arrived. Ross includes in his program another motet, Lobet den Herrn alle Heiden, using the harpsichord continue. The performance here, however, is a little square-cut; it is easily outdone by Grossmann's. The Dessoff recording was made in the Armor Hall of the Metro- politan Museum of Art in New York, which means the effective- ness of the reproduction is all the more remarkable. The per- formance, as it happens, is one of the best Paul Boepple has given us.

Though done in English translation, it will J. Bach 23 mean no more than this one to those who do not understand the German. Oratorios Christmas Oratorio. Using, we are told, a voice student choir and orchestra, Thomas gives a workmanlike performance of this masterpiece, better reproduced than were Grischkat Remington R [4] and Grossmann Vox PL [3]. Interpretatively, Thomas stands somewhere between the leisurely pace of the one and the business- like stride of the other.

But his is an uncompromising beat; and the cutting of an occasional da capo does not keep the work from seeming long. Lore Fischer gives a nice account of the lovely "Schlafe, mein Liebster. This, then, is the best of three recordings of Weihnachts Oratorium, though not a really satisfactory one. Easter Oratorio. The more recent recording here is in all respects an improvement on the first. Whereas the Prohaska performance gives the impres- sion of being more spirited, it is also less carefully rehearsed than Grossmann's.

If Prohaska takes almost invariably brisker tempos, the result is a loss of clarity, sometimes an out-and-out scramble. And whereas the Bach Guild reproduction is more powerful, Vox's is equally clean. The soloists, as a group, show better in the newer version. Chief among them is the tenor, for it is his to sing the very beautiful il Sanfte soil mein T odes hummer," with its undulating accompaniment including two recorders. Equiluz has about all he can manage in getting the notes; Gruber is definitely more satisfactory.

Dutoit, too, makes more of her big aria than does Weis-Osborn. Between the two contraltos there is less to choose; Nussbaumer is certainly not far behind the al- ways admirable Rossl-Majdan. Passions Saint John. Rathauscher, s; Hofstaetter, c; Gruber, t; Kreutzberger, t; J. The choruses are clean and impressive, the orchestra on the whole satisfactory. Of the soloists, I like especially the rich, smooth, even singing of the contralto, Elfriede Hofstaetter, and I cannot but admire the delivery of the light-voiced Ferry Gruber as the Evangelist.

Kreutzberger is admirable in the tenor arias, and all the basses are well above the average, particularly the warm, agile Walter Berry. In fact, the virtues of the per- formance are so patent that it is difficult to describe them. As for the weaknesses, they are more easily summed up: everything is a little too businesslike.

The tempos are on the fast side; the transition from one section to another is always handled with such dispatch that the listener has hardly time to readjust. Conse- quently, the whole performance does not mean enough. For all that, it means more than the recording conducted by Kurt Thomas.

The forces here get off to a leisurely start, the orchestra playing with more precision than Grossmann 's, but with less light and shade. The chorus enters almost apologetically with its outcry of "Lord, our Master! I do not think the soloists should be blamed for catching this spirit too. The indi- vidual voices are good, but one feels they could do more with their arias. For the Shaw performance there is a special public, as it is sung to the conductor's own new English adaptation.

The timing in this set is generally more leisurely than Grossmann 's, and the presentation as a whole is less exciting. The Victor re- production, too, is less clear than the Vox. Some overloading, possibly caused by too close proximity of the microphones, af- fects the chorus from time to time, and also one or two of the soloists.

Blake Stern does fine work as the Evangelist, and Leslie Chabay well meets the challenge of the not-too-grateful arias. Mack Harrell sings the words of Jesus impressively, and Blanche Thebom is admirable in her big aria. A bargain-price re- cording conducted by Gottfried Preinfalk presents excerpts Remington R with varying effect.

The best thing in the performance is Rossl-Majdan's "Es ist vollbracht. Bach 25 Saint Matthew. The relative merits of the two German performances are such that I do not feel a clear-cut decision between them possible. Gross- mann's is certainly the more orthodox, the less erratic, if you will, the less likely to arouse objections.

But Scherchen's is the more stimulating, for even where he seems farthest from the musical truth, he is never dull, and one feels he could offer justi- fication. Possibly he takes some of the numbers very fast to avoid consciousness of the work's total length, and in this he is successful.

Still, it is not easy to adjust to the opening chorus at quite this clip, and surely the solos "Buss und Reu" and "Blute nur' r to name but two are too fast for the singers to make much of the text. The soloists are a more attractive group than Grossmann's, with special honors going to Cuenod as the Evange- list and to Rehfuss singing the words of Jesus. Grossmann's are more modest; again the Evangelist — Majkut — is the best.

An earlier recording of Fritz Lehmann Vox PL [4] was not too satisfactory it was taken from a broadcast , though it too was lent distinction by the tenor in the narrative role, this time Helmut Krebs. MacMillan's version is intended for a different public, and should not, therefore, be judged by the same standards.

This is the way one would hope to hear the work from a local group, sung in Eng- lish so that all its hearers may understand. The chorus and or- chestra are excellent, and the conductor's pacing is generally convincing and practical. Everything is on a large and festival- like scale. Among the soloists, Lois Marshall stands out, with a lovely clear voice, and simple, tasteful style; Edward Johnson not to be confused with the former General Manager of the Metro- politan Opera is a satisfactory Evangelist, though his voice is a little thin in the upper reaches; the others are adequate.

Margaret Stilwell would be an exceptional contralto were it not that her tone -production interferes with her diction. There are some cuts in the score. A great disappointment was the performance of Mengelberg, a re- cording of his last annual Palm Sunday presentation in Amsterdam J. Bach 26 in Despite some good singing from the soloists including the exceptional soprano Jo Vincent and the celebrated veteran Evangelist, Karl Erb the conductor's tempos are impossibly er- ratic C SL [3].

For as much of the music as it offers, this is the best of the records under discussion here. Arias Cantata No. Marian Anderson has chosen some beautiful and little-known arias, and she is in her most expressive voice. The nobility of the music seems to have awakened a special fervor in the singer.

The program on the reverse, "Great Songs of Faith," made up of standard oratorio arias, contains a performance in English of "Es ist vollbracht" from the Saint John Passion. Cantata No. The Bach Aria Group, capable singers and instrumentalists all, worked long and intensively together to achieve a perfect accord and balance.

The results are smooth and polished; all that is wanting is a special spark. Carol Brice's opulent tones are a "natural" for her selections, but the lecording, made several years back, shows more promise than fulfillment. In our time the traditional English contralto voice has been repre- J. Bach 27 sented by the late Kathleen Ferrier, who was gifted at the same time with deep sincerity. Her singing of these Bach arias, there- fore, may be taken to represent the best in the British traditions for this music.

Yet her very ability to sustain a long phrase may occasionally have led her to overdo; the two arias from the B minor Mass are richer in tone quality than in vitality. Easter Oratorio — Saget, saget mir; Cantata No.

This program is made up of selections from extended recordings. The singers are among the best engaged in this kind of work. Notenbuchlein der Anna Magdalena Bach — Selections. Weis-Osborn, s; Rapf, hpschd, BG Complete with miniature score reproduced from the Bach-Gesell- schaft, Westminster offers all seventy-five of Bach's sacred songs — those he composed or arranged for Schemelli's Gesangbuch, and the group he included in the Notenbuchlein, or musical common- place book, of his second wife, Anna Magdalena.

The two singers who alternate in these miniatures are both known for their musi- cal, clean singing as well as their unimpeachable diction. Many celebrated melodies may be traced to this source — Komm, silsser Tod, Dir, dir, Jehova, will ich singen, Jesulein suss — and others perhaps less familiar but equally sublime — Brich entzwei, mein armes Herze, lch halte treulich still, Liebster Herr Jesu. The order of the songs is alphabetical, which should be warning enough that they are not intended to be taken consecutively in one sitting.

One song is duplicated in the Bach Guild recording announced as Vol. Mostly given over to harpsichord solos, the disc in- cludes also the favorite Willst du dein Herz mir schenken, pur- portedly the work of one Giovannini though usually included among Bach's songs. The clear-voiced soprano sings it rather deliberately. The aria "Schlummert ein," better known as a part of the bass solo cantata no.

The other songs are Gedenhe dich and Bist du bei mir. Gabrieli, played on the virginals by Winogron. The amusement many of us had from the "Contrapuntus bestiale," thrice performed in the International Eisteddfod recording W WAL , leads us on to this madrigal comedy from which that piece was taken. Even though the music is highly imaginative and varied, one must admit that twenty is a large number of madrigals for one sitting. This danger is averted in the first recording by the interpolation of beautifully played pieces for the virginals; in the second only nine of the madrigals are performed.

Obviously, a lot of care and study went into the preparation of the New York Pro Musica Antiqua performance, and the vocal blend is unusually good, though the men somewhat overshadow the women. A feature of the ensemble is the presence of a genuine counter-tenor who fills the gap between the sopranos and the tenor. The Italian singers, of course, have the advantage of being born to the lan- guage, and they give a performance of such balanced light and shade, of so much jollity and humor, that we can only regret the incompleteness of their version.

However, along with the accom- panying assortment of madrigals — by Marenzio and Monteverdi, among others — their Festino is hard to resist. The new music for the well-known texts is of the sophisticated-naive type; as this is not overdone, the songs emerge amusingly enough, though the adult listener may find the cycle a trifle long. Oberlin's light, high voice is appropriate for the occasion, though some may feel a tendency to monotony. He is not gifted with an instrument of many colors, but his singing is consistently marked by musical intelligence and superb diction, with only here and there an unmatched tone to break the flow.

At that time the composer himself sang it for a Victor recording, which is today a collectors' item. The music is still effective here, but King's performance is not penetrating. The later Joyce songs with piano show the direction Barber's distinctly lyrical talent has taken; again one wishes for more transfiguring imagination on the part of the musicianly singer.

The recording is not en- tirely clear. Knoxville, "Summer of James Agee's autobiographical prose passage may seem a strange text for a song, cantata, or whatever Knoxville should rightly be called, but the composer is sensitive to words, and the result is effective. He has, however, taken Steber to the upper reaches of her range, where diction is not her strongest point. The singer performs with her accustomed cool aplomb and her richest tone quality.

The orchestra is well balanced and clearly reproduced. Bartbk and Kodaly. Laszlo, s; Holetschek, pf, W WL Valery, m-s; Goehr, pf, 10" All Not only did they open up in this way a whole world of lovely and unusual song, but they laid at the same time the very head- and cornerstones of their musical styles. The two selections from the Bartok and Kodaly collections performed by Leslie Chabay and Tibor Kozma are unreservedly recommended as sensitive performances.

For those who understand the lan- guage, of course, the discs are "musts. Laszlo is the more vital singer of the two, and her voice has never sounded better. Valery boasts a rich, smooth tone, but her performance is not notably exciting. The same may be said of their singing of the folk songs. To these non-Hungarian ears, Chabay is the most stimulating of the three artists. This Haydnish cantata, with the inconsistently high opus number, is interesting mainly in that it was composed in Beethoven's twentieth year, and that some of the material later found its way into Fidelio.

Considering the composer's youth, the work is im- pressive technically, but, to put it mildly, it hardly ranks among his greatest inspirations. Steingruber and Poell, well known as dependable artists, do their best to make the long-drawn-out arias interesting; vocally they are both in prime form.

And under the authoritative guidance of Clemens Krauss, the chorus and or- chestra do their considerable bit for the young Beethoven. Elegischer Gesang. This brief piece, used here as a filler for the Haydn, recalls thematically the variation tune from the "Archduke" Trio. It is simple, direct music. While one might wish the performance had a little more "curve," one is grateful for the rare opportunity to hear the work.

Beethoven 31 Mass in C. After the sublime heights of the Missa solemnis, the simple lyricism of this earlier Mass comes as a distinct and pleasurable surprise. The recorded performance serves to make its qualities known, though it leaves some of Beethoven's intentions un- realized. Fortunately, the performers get into their stride as the work progresses, and the "Agnus Dei" comes off better than the "Kyrie. Of the soloists, the tenor shows up best; his part in the "Gloria'' is one of the finer moments.

The others perform with vocal neatness, though the soprano's higher tones are not steady. The break between sides comes, unfortunately, between "Et sepultus est" and "Et resurrexit. Missa solemnis. Like the Ninth Symphony, the great Mass in D is a masterpiece in which perfection of performance is hardly to be hoped for. That one had expected a miracle in the Toscanini recording accounts for a good deal of disappointment, though that set has other, more positive factors working against it.

One of the weaknesses is the solo quartet; these singers are no more successful than most in putting over the message given them to deliver. Nor is the quartet balance ideal. The four individuals seem to be placed beyond the chorus, somewhat removed from it. Toscanini's tempos are on the brisk side, with the resulting impression of tautness and direct- ness of purpose. There are some terrific moments, such as "Et resurrexit," and some that do not come off, as the lovely "Bene- dictus," with its distorted violin solo.

Klemperer's conception is, in its way, on an equally Iqtty plane, and though its high spots are less brilliant, its weaknesses are less fatal. The soprano and the bass show up well, but the contralto is hefty and the tenor thin. The Mount of Olives Christus am Olberge. It is interesting to hear this oratorio, source of the celebrated "Hallelujah Chorus" Shaw Chorale, V LM , though its value is historical rather than profoundly musical.

Given a performance by singers not to be embarrassed or dismayed by the Meyerbeerian Beethoven 32 floridity, the work could be more effective than it is here. Chorus and orchestra fare better than the soloists. The recording balance is uneven: sometimes the effect is excellent, sometimes no more than fair. Opera Fidelio.

Konetzni, s; See fried, s; Ralf, t; Klein, t; Schoeffler, b; etc. Bampton, s; Steber, s; Peerce, t; Laderoute, t; Janssen, b; etc. Toscanini's, though re- leased in , was actually taken from his broadcasts, and is hardly comparable, mechanically. In the Vox set the reproduc- tion is uneven, as is also the cast. Hilde Konetzni, patently an artist and a seasoned one, has only too obviously seen younger days.

The supporting cast is good; some of its members are out- standing. An earlier recording Oc OCSL [3] might have been acceptable had it not been for the really distressing unsteadiness of the eminent soprano in the title role. Toscanini's singers are by no means ideal, though Bampton performs with impressive sin- cerity and Peerce gives his long aria with dramatic conviction. Janssen's Pizarro is well routined, but I miss the essential nasti- ness of the character. Furtwangler's cast, on the other hand, is the pick of present-day singers.

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