A remarkable recording
Piotr Woryma | Poland | 05/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is true that the motets are one of the most difficult works to perform. They are complex, extremely demanding on the singers, rarely sounding "correct" outside world's leading studios or concert halls. Sung by "the local church choir", they are bound to be disastrous. Not surprisingly, the music recorded on this CD is not flawless, but still it's a must for all those fascinated with Bach and choral music of any kind. The motets are just so beautiful - there's no doubt Herreweghe has made it again. All the pieces are at least as good as other leading renditions of the works, and in my opinion, 'Jesu meine freunde' excells over any other interpretation of the motet. Strongly recommended."
Up Close and Personal with Bach
Craig Prebble | Melbourne, Australia | 09/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone how good Bach's music is. But the Motets are still not as well known as his other choral works. They are, simply, the most intimate and moving pieces for the voice that Bach wrote.
This CD is a 2002 reissue of a 1985 DDD recording. In most of these motets, Herreweghe doubles the first choir with strings and the second choir with winds. In 'Komm, Jesu Komm', there is only a basso continuo, for utmost intimacy.
The two choirs, La Chapelle Royale and Collegium Vocale, blend very well. The soloists are first rate, with Agnès Mellon being a personal favourite of mine - her clear and pure soprano voice floats atop the choirs.
In these motets, each voice has three or occasionally four singers.
But with 'Jesu meine Freude' there are only soloists, rather than the choir, and it is treated as a sacred madrigal rather than a concertante piece. The effect is compelling indeed. This is amongst the most gripping 21 minutes of music ever written - a narrative of the Christian soul. Herreweghe used to practice psychiatry, and his insights into the depths of this music are duly profound.
As Herreweghe says, "We attach great importance to a minute analysis of what is called in rhetoric Decoratio...allowing the word to express itself in musical terms, at a clarity of the discourse, and at a transparency of the architecture."
For those who like to worship with their ears, this is 68 minutes of transcendence. For the rest of us, this is 68 minutes of transcendent Bach."