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Bach: Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme; Magnificat BWV 243
Johann Sebastian Bach, Karl Richter, Munich Bach Orchestra
Bach: Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme; Magnificat BWV 243
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #1

Compared with today's more scholarly practitioners, Karl Richter reflects the grand manner, though his accounts still convey a sense of spiritual elevation that few interpreters of any school have approached. His tempos ar...  more »

     
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Compared with today's more scholarly practitioners, Karl Richter reflects the grand manner, though his accounts still convey a sense of spiritual elevation that few interpreters of any school have approached. His tempos are uniformly broader than those of John Eliot Gardiner in Wachet auf, his delivery far more weighty, but there is still a wonderful vitality to the reading. This recording, originally released in 1979, sounds lovely on this budget-priced CD. The companion piece is a vibrant though somewhat grainy 1962 account of the Magnificat. --Ted Libbey

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CD Reviews

Seems to be a difference of opinion. :)
Michael Newberry | Santa Monica | 08/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This recording of the Magnificat and the Cantata, Wachet auf, sounds ideal to my ears. From the little of Bach I know I don't like period performances and I don't like romanticized concepts either. But the conducting here flows with grace and taste. The sound of the orchestra has sparkle and, yet, there is richness to the melodic lines.The chorus and soloists for both are appropriately magnificent. Fischer-Dieskau has a beautiful voice it resonates with clarity and feeling. I could say the same things of all the soloists. They all produce clear ringing sound and maintain beautiful lines. They all sound stress-free and their sound seems effortless. The contralto, Hertha Topper, has a great low voice with very beautiful high notes. Peter Schreier, the tenor in the Cantata, his diction is so clear that I can distinguish the German though I don't speak it, and his voice comes across with power and purity. Ernst Haefliger, the tenor in Magnificat, has a deeper sound than Schreier, and he also sounds just right to me. The two sopranos, Edith Mathis and Maria Stader, perhaps do not have the size of voice as the other soloists but they both produce wonderful sound.And I tip my hat to the chorus--Wow. I love this recording."
Apologies on Demand, but...
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 04/04/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)

"...this performance should be retired from active duty. I had to dig down into a box where I've stored my Bach recordings on vinyl in order to check whether I remembered it correctly. I did. Aside from the fact that Fischer-D once had a voice for the ages, I can't hear anything redeeming in the interpretation or the performance.
*The tempi are ludicrously slow, especially in the Wachet Auf. Fat chance anyone would Wake Awake with this larghissimo. It sounds like music played on a portable phonograph with nearly dead batteries.
*The orchestra and chorus are just big water-beds of sound on which the "top" voice or instrument hippity-hops overprominently. Even if you close your ears to the soprano or the flute or whatever, you can't hear anything of the inner voices. The counterpoint is just a smudge. The tonal center is vague. It's the old "big bow-wow" of pre-historical Bach at its woofiest.
*The three lady singers have vibratos as wide as the gap between what George W says and the truth. How can one even imagine chords when the pitch is so distorted. And speaking of distortion, that's all I hear when the choir bellows forth...

I'm sincerely sorry, AC, that I went looking for this platter after I noticed your review. Please don't be offended. I should have let sleeping dogs lie."
Excellent
Giordano Bruno | 12/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Richter's interpretation is always great, correct and historically perfect. What matters is how you play the music, not with what you do it. The interpreter is the most important matter in the music. For example, Ton Koopman playing a great Kroesbergen harpsichord can be disgusting sometimes (though not always), and Karl Richter playing a Neupert pedal-harpsichord can be perfect. There's no argue about that. Besides that, the singers are exceptional - there are no countertenors, that's great. The best recording you will be able to find!"