Sing to the Lord a new song...
kelsie | Plainview, Texas United States | 07/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Karl-Frederich Beringer's work with the Windsbächer Knabenchor is nothing short of miraculous. Although the music of Johann Sebastian Bach hardly needs any aid in attesting to its own greatness, surely the composer must feel a tinge of pride every time the Windsbächers give one of his choral masterpieces in their trademark brilliant, immaculate style.
Here, Beringer gives us Bach's joyous Magnificat in D and three of the Six Motets.
The Magnificat is presented in a festive, rousing performance that fully captures the unmitigated joy of the piece while spotlighting the choir's incredibly clean, forceful technique. In the opening chorus, following the flowing orchestral prelude, the choir nearly explodes on listeners, crying over and over, "Magnificat, magnificat, anima mea Dominum." Beringer takes the tempo moderately, eschewing the heavy-handed solemnity of Karl Richter but also avoiding the quasi-comical, strangled sibilances of Paul McCreesh's breakneck speeds in his own take on the Magnificat.
Soloists are good--competent and involved in the music. The real stars of this disc (and any Windsbächer recording), however, are the boys themselves. You simply must HEAR the Windsbächers to fully appreciate how amazing their technique is, especially for a choir of younger children. Their Mass in B Minor is a triumphant example of their particular brand of audible perfection.
In the Magnificat, the choir covers an impressive amount of emotional ground, from the restless tread of the "Omnes generationes" through the inexpressibly haunting beauty of the "Suscepit Israel," which sounds as though it's fresh off the next release from the U.K. group Libera. The concluding Doxology is a majestic peroration on the glory of the Trinity, showcasing the choir's magnificent ability to really pull out all the stops, dynamically, while still retaining their immaculately clean intonation and technique.
But the Magnificat is only half of the disc. For the remainder, the Windsbächers give three of Bach's Six Motets: "Komm, Jesu, Komm," "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied," and the well-known "Jesu, Meine Freude."
The doppelchor ("double choir") arrangement for "Komm, Jesu, Komm" is presented with moving clarity, as the choir's two halves call to each other repeatedly, "Come, Jesus!" / "Come, Jesus!" The sunlight of the chorus "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied" is given an exciting performance here, but "Jesu Meine Freude" is in a class by itself--there is perhaps only one recording with a knabenchor better than this one: the Windsbächers' disc of the Motets, complete.
The Motets are accompanied by the Prager Kammerorchester, which will be a problem for some who prefer to hear the pieces a cappella. Those who do have this preference needn't worry, however: the Windsbächers also offer (but not available on Amazon, unfortunately) a disc of all six motets unaccompanied--despite the beautiful performances here, I personally prefer the unaccompanied complete disc to the three offered here.
Nonetheless, the Windsbächers offer yet another stunningly beautiful set of Bach performances for our enjoyment. If anything captures the true spirit of Bach's intentions in his music--to glorify God and refresh the spirit--it is certainly this disc...and all of the Windsbächers' Bach recordings in general. These kids are simply amazing. Hear and be moved."