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Bach's Adagios
Johann Sebastian Bach, Jean-François Paillard, Ton Koopman
Bach's Adagios
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #2

The subtitle of this compilation--"27 Tranquil Tracks from the Master of Baroque"--might suggest you're in for a dose of watered-down, Muzaked treatments, but not to worry: this is actually a very attractive theme album th...  more »

      
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The subtitle of this compilation--"27 Tranquil Tracks from the Master of Baroque"--might suggest you're in for a dose of watered-down, Muzaked treatments, but not to worry: this is actually a very attractive theme album that makes an enticing introduction if you're just setting out to discover the wonder of J.S. Bach. Some of the most familiar music Bach wrote does indeed reside in the slow movements of his concertos, suites, and sonatas. Often, they reveal an Italianate love for spinning gorgeous melodies that sound eternally fresh and haunting in a number of contexts (witness the opening "Air on a G String" and its reworking in Procol Harum's hit, "A Whiter Shade of Pale"). Opera was the only genre of his time in which Bach didn't write, but many of his slower movements display the intense emotional focus of operatic arias, and Bach's range of expression can cover an infinite degree of moods--from "tranquility" to the deeply mournful adagio of Brandenburg Concerto No. 6. From its archives, the Erato label has culled interpretations by some of today's leading Bach interpreters, such as Ton Koopman and his Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Jordi Savall, and Gustav Leonhardt. The concept of "adagio" has been extended here to include chorales and slower passages from the great choral works, whereas some compilations offer only instrumental arrangements, thus overlooking this aspect so central to Bach's output. From the nearly two hours of music in this collection, you'll gain a pretty good overview of the stunning variety of genres that inspired Bach: the cantata, passion, concerto, solo instrumental suite, and many more (though a selection or two from the solo keyboard works would have been a nice inclusion). And, while Bach's slow movements are always integrated into a larger architecture, the gemlike beauty of these selections will likely inspire you to check out some of the full-scale works from which they've been excerpted. --Thomas May

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CD Reviews

A Dream Album
William Udry | Savannah, Georgia | 06/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Almost 2 hours of "distilled" Bach- selections of the sweetest adagios by some of the world's best interpreters of the Baroque. Contains the most melodious extracts from the world's greatest masterpieces. The solos by flutist, Jean-Pierre Rampal have a dream-like quality of tonal purity: fitting preludes to choral motets by the Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne and the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne. The inclusion of Largos, Andantes and Preludes add well balanced variety to the more liesurely adagios.The selections provide a wonderfully peaceful background for reading or just relaxing."
Serene
Rebecca Johnson | Washington State | 11/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This collection is a introduction to almost two hours of Bach's most seductive work during the Baroque period.

In the first CD, an almost ethereal quality embraces each piece, no matter the mood. You will feel peaceful, emotional, mournful and even filled with longing.

Qui tollis peccata mundi' from Mass in B Minor is magnificent. The church's influence on Bach's music is highly apparent and adds a spiritual dimension.

Andante from Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major is almost haunting and yet it almost embodies subtle joy or a feeling of anticipated happiness.

The second CD opens with Largo from Concerto for Keyboard and Strings in F minor and almost captures the feeling of spring. Perhaps the snow melting as you can almost hear drops of water falling softly onto the earth.

Prelude in C major follows with the vibrancy of new life or a stream meandering towards a river. Adagio from Violin Sonata No.5 in F minor always makes my heart beat just a little faster and reminds me of those first feelings of falling in love.

Sheep May Safely Graze from Cantata No. 208 is superior and almost translucent in quality and was almost as familiar as Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring from Cantata No.147.

Beguiling pieces of Classical Music!

~The Rebecca Review"
Appropriate For Those Quiet Moments
G. J Wiener | Westchester, NY USA | 03/02/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Bach's Adagios is peaceful music that will soothe the soul. Each of the pieces have unique arrangements and emphasize different instruments. Some have a strong keyboard presence, others are more string driven, still others even feature a vocal choir. Some pieces are more captivating than others. Tracks 1 and 4 stand out on the first disc. The lead off track on the second disc is pretty memorable as well.When I desire something more spirited, this two disc set has the potential to cause some boredom. But when peace and quiet is needed, this set is very appropriate."