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Bach: Cantatas / Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir
Bach Cantatas / Sir John Eliot Gardiner Monteverdi Choir
Actors: J.S. Bach, English Baroque Soloists
Director: James Whitbourn
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2009     2hr 7min

Monteverdi Choir — English Baroque Soloists — Sir John Eliot GardinerCantata 179 Siehe zu, daß deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei — Cantata 199 Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut — Cantata 113 Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes GutMag...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: J.S. Bach, English Baroque Soloists
Director: James Whitbourn
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/26/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 2hr 7min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Subtitles: English, French, German

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Movie Reviews

A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 06/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"TWO SECTIONS TO THIS VIDEO: 67 MINUTE PERFORMANCE OF THREE OF BACH'S MOST ATTRACTIVE CANTATAS FOR THE ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY- 60 MINUTE DOCUMENTARY OF GARDINER'S TOUR THAT INCLUDES EXCERPTS OF MANY OF HIS OTHER PERFORMANCES DURING THE TOUR. More specifically, the towns that Gardiner chose for his tour all have special significance in Bach's life, and the cantatas he chose are directly related to the event involved. Gardiner explains all of this very clearly in the Documentary portion of the DVD, which actually mesmorized me throughout, so much so, that I ignored the telephone, the doorbell and anything else that went on during that time. (Unfortunately, it also included the Oven timer!) I would suggest that you view the Documentary before the accompanying concert. The towns visited were: Weimar, Leipzig, Hamburg, Eisenach, Arnstadt, Blythburg, Kirkwall, Iona, St.Davids, Cologne and New York City.

In the year 2000, John Eliot Gardiner set out on his Bach Pilgrimage, the goal of which was to perform all of Bach's Sacred Cantatas in various churches throughout Europe. This was done over a fifty-two week period, and it was with religious fervor that his orchestra, choir and soloists achieved this unique goal.

One must admire Gardiner for his belief and perserverence in such a far-out and somewhat crazy project. The difficulty alone of traveling and performing in different areas each week, and having to learn three or four cantatas per week, had to be a grueling experience for the musicians. However, the truth of this DVD cannot be denied, and this tour borders on the miraculous. For the most part, choir and soloists alike give us an emotional and profound experience. And Gardiner has made available for our listening pleasure, not only great performances of familiar cantatas, but has introduced to the world some of the lesser known that we might never have heard.

As to the three cantatas performed in the concert portion of the DVD, I must question Gardiner's selection of these particular cantatas, for surely they are not the most interesting of all the available line-up in his many concerts during the tour. BWV 179 is the most interesting of the three, because it seemed to move along somewhat tunefully and the three soloists(Kozena-Padmore-Loges) performed well; in fact,Padmore was magnificent!

Cantata 199 was attractive, but it seemed that this one lacked variety, mainly because it was mostly soprano solo throughout with the chorus participating very little. As for Kozena's performance as the soloist, how can one say it was anything else than excellent?! However, having said thia I must confess that I personally like to hear a less operatic sounding voice for Bach's Arias. And I admit to favoring singers like Emma Kirkby who seems to be able to wrap herself around Bach's wonderful music with a clear and pure sound.

Cantata 113 was easy to take with with such an excellent aria sung near the beginning by Padmore, who really knows how to sing Bach the way it should be sung. A big disappointment was the countertenor, William Towers, who was weak in his delivery, to say the least; I really don't think that he is ready to sing Bach. And the question for Gardiner is: why didn't he call upon some of his well-known countertenors that he used at other concerts on this tour, such as Michael Chance, Derek Ragin and Daniel Taylor??Mayhap they just couldn't make it. I certainly would have welcomed David Daniels.

All of the above is my own personal reaction, that may or MAY NOT agree with what yours may be, but that's the great thing about listening to music. We can all respond the way we like!

The Documentary was truly inspirational to watch as the varied groups in different locations performed briefly, but wonderfully throughout. One can see the intensity and a touch of fatigue on the faces of the singers as the time goes on in their tour. But professionals they are, and they sang well all the way to New York City, their last concert on the tour.

It is most unfortunate that Deutsche Grammofon axed the release of all the recordings (curses to them, I say), but they are gradually being made available through Gardiner's own recording company SDG, and I eagerly await the next one which is Vol. 4 to be released around June 29. These recordings constitute an extraordinary testament to some of the finest music ever written and a true belief in the power of music!

There is an entire Website devoted to the Pilgramage Recordings (Soli Deo Gloria), and it includes an inordinate amount of information about all the volumes of Bach Cantatas in great detail (thank-you Oliver, my friend).

The packaging herein includes an Illustrated booklet with historical notes and biographies in English, French and German; full texts of all three performance cantatas and subitles in English, French and German.

Top notch music,performance, production
James B. Houston | Chicagoland, IL usa | 07/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"J S Bach wrote a bunch of cantatas (hundreds) and most of them on very short notice (usually, one week), all the while fathering a bunch of kids, and being this Giant of Western Music. No easy task. That so many of these cantatas turned out to be sublime, is nothing short of miraculous. On this video we got three such Bach cantatas, performed by the English Baroque soloists (orchestra), the Monteverdi Choir, and mezzo soprano Magdalena Kozena, all conducted by John Elliot Gardiner. For those of you whose interest is casual, please note that this ensemble and conductor are pretty much at the pinnacle of contemporary Bach performance--I am not hard put to think of words to describe their work: grace, nobility, sensitivity, and especially, a perceived commitment to the work performed by every person involved. I was especially taken by the performance of the beauteous Ms. Kozena in the Cantata no. 199( the title of which, loosely translated, is "my heart is swimming in blood). The range of emotions varies from revulsion to exhultation, all wonderfully communicated by Ms. Kozena in voice and expression. In addition to the wonderful performances, the production values (video and audio) were first rate, and the included featurette documenting the ensemble's year-long Bach Pilgrimage was an entertaining and informative bonus. I enthusiastically recommend this video to Bach lovers, music lovers, and other lovers interested in expanding their horizons to include beauty and wonderment.