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Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232 (Rifkin)
Johann Sebastian Bach, Joshua Rifkin, Jan Opalach
Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232 (Rifkin)
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #2

When Joshua Rifkin began recording Bach vocal works to demonstrate his one-singer-per-part thesis, he started not with the lightly scored early cantatas but rather with the Holy of Holies--the B-Minor Mass. (Don't accuse t...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Johann Sebastian Bach, Joshua Rifkin, Jan Opalach, Judith Nelson, Julianne Baird, Frank Hoffmeister, Jeffrey Dooley, Bach Ensemble
Title: Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232 (Rifkin)
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch
Release Date: 5/28/1992
Album Type: Box set
Genre: Classical
Styles: Opera & Classical Vocal, Historical Periods, Baroque (c.1600-1750)
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 075597903621

Synopsis

Amazon.com
When Joshua Rifkin began recording Bach vocal works to demonstrate his one-singer-per-part thesis, he started not with the lightly scored early cantatas but rather with the Holy of Holies--the B-Minor Mass. (Don't accuse the man of starting small.) Predictably, outrage ensued: detractors far outnumbered supporters at the time (though this seems to be gradually changing). Musicology or not, Rifkin's approach works. Bach's florid vocal parts are far more negotiable for soloists than for chorus; period instruments never overwhelm the voices. Certainly the standard of baroque- instrument playing, particularly brass, has improved since 1980; but Rifkin's instrumentalists, especially woodwinds, are quite listenable. The standard of singing here is golden: Jeffrey Dooley's sweet-voiced eloquence and the blend, sense of line, and beautiful sound of Judith Nelson and Julianne Baird are priceless. --Matthew Westphal

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CD Reviews

Rifkin Vs Parrott
Eld | 05/22/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"After getting my hands on Joshua Rifkin's Mass in B Minor I spent one evening comparing it with the Andrew Parrott recording I purchased earlier. I must say I do agree with what I've read about it, and to some extent Parrott's recording is "better". The conducting certainly seems more confident, more spirited at times and the balance of the solo instruments sound better. (then probably thats to the credit of the sound engineer)However there are some bits of Rifkin's recording I prefer over Parrott's. For one thing I prefer the vocal performers of Rifkin's. Julianne Baird's singing is so lovely and sublime, her Laudamus Te totally beats Emily Van Evera's rendition. The latter seems to be consciously trying to do the vocal ornaments whereas the former just sings the music. The Bach Ensemble seems to be recorded drier, free from the slight reverb I'm picking up from The Taverner Players, and free from the bland blend of violins that to me is reminiscent of the classical period. Apparently The Bach Ensemble had one less violinist per violin section than the Taverner Players had. I prefer the drier sound the Bach Ensemble achieved as it sounds darker and less "syruppy". However there seems to be a serious balance problem in the overall performance/recording/conducting. (in fact the whole CD seems to be very soft) I felt that some instrumental parts that were nicely emphasized in the Andrew Parrott's recording were underemphasized in Rifkin's recording. Its surely not Rifkin's best recording. (check out Actus Tragicus for a great Rifkin CD!) It also seems that Rifkin did not use ripenists for this recording - Parrott did. I actually prefer it without the ripenists but its a personal aesthetic perference. On the whole this must have been a groundbreaking recording when it was released but I'm not as crazy about it as I thought I would be, especially after listening to Rifkin's other recordings."
A Scholarly Recording
R. Gerard | Pennsylvania USA | 07/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is the first ever Bach recording to be made using the One Voice Per Part theory. Joshua Rifkin's recording was dubbed by the music circle, "The B-Minor Madrigal," due his calling of the most minimal forces.Rifkin's theory is very convincing, and the arguments supporting this manner of performing Bach's choral works can be found in Andrew Parrot's new book, "The Essential Bach Choir."While this is a very good, breakthrough recording, I could imagine a much better interpretation of the work. The tempos especially seemed unbalanced, and this seems to ruin such beloved movements such as the "Sanctus." There is another One-Voice-Per-Part recording of Bach's Mass in B-Minor that may suit the tastes of more people: the Andrew Parrot recording with Emma Kirkby and Tolzer Knabenchor soloist Panito Iconomou. Don't get me wrong however, this Rifkin recording is a very good one.However, I would much rather spend money on the Parrott recording. And Harmonia Mundi is also recording the B-Minor Mass with Konrad Junghanel and his Cantus Colln. Like all other Bach recordings by Cantus Colln, their B-Minor Mass will be performed one voice per part (they have toured with their rendition of the B-Minor Mass and it seems that their recorded release will be a sublime one. You should wait for their's.)"
A fantastic CD
Barry G Robbins | Wall, NJ United States | 03/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"this is really an incredible CD - the singing is amazing - I think the one-voice-per-part is great for this music - specifically because it allows you to hear much more of the details of the music. Bach's B-minor mass has to be considered the pinnacle of his choral music."