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Kultur Port
'Clear, transparent, and not just for the Christmas holidays.'
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Oratorio: „Das ergibt insgesamt einen entspannten, bassbetonten und doch transparenten Ensembleklang mit einem ungewohnt strahlenden Hör­nerklang...Alle singen und spielen mit großer Ausstrahlung... etwa die liebevoll vokal-in­strumental aufgefächerte Rhetorik in den Chören der Engel, Hirten und Weisen.'' / Magnificat: „Überhaupt präsentiert sich die Aufnahme in einem warmen, abgerundeten Klangbild''
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KMT
”Helt naturligt blev den nyligen släppta friskt glänsande inspelningen...strålande solistprestationer som i Juloratoriet i en ljuvlig återgivning av Juldagens.”
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Fanfare
'The Magnificat is equally magnificent.'
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Editor's Choice: 'Rarely, very rarely, a recording comes along that because of its content and level of performance seems to be hors concours. This is just such a recording.'
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2015 Classical Mega-Meta-List: 'It is also the joyous-Bach-Christmas CD of the year. And the performances are so special that even if you already own many recordings of the Magnificat or the Cantata you should hear it.'
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Top 10 Scottish Classical Albums of 2015: #1 spot
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Europadisc 2015 Disc of the Year: 'In the end it was the Dunedin Consort's recording of Bach's Magnificat that gripped us most, not just for its combination of brilliant musicianship and fastidious research, but because the reconstruction as a whole proves such an involving, immersive experience for the listener.'
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BBC Radio 3 ‘CD Review’
'A Bach recording that's going to make the air vibrate with joy...a splendid recording.'
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The Sunday Times
'His quintet of soloists are brilliant illusionists, sounding like a crowd in Omnes generationes.'
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'This disc's academic credentials are impeccable, but my reasons for loving it are purely musical; John Butt's Bach programme allows us to party as if it was, er, 1723...Essential listening.'
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Sydsvenskan
'John Butt gör en finkänslig och rörlig rekonstruktion av J S Bachs magnifika vesper.'
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'Sekä Magnificat että joulukantaatti ovat säihkyvän jouluisia teoksia, joissa trumpetit raikaavat ja patarummut jylisevät. Toki sijansa saa myös hempeä joulutunteilu.'
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Iowa Public Radio
Flavorful Picks from 2015: 'Linn's recorded sound is rich, glowing, natural, and clear.'
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Ouverture - Das Klassik-Blog
'...I have rarely heard the Magnificat so impressively performed...'
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Financial Times
5 Stars
'It is a brilliant deal: 21st-century listeners get all of Bach's glorious music associated with December 25 1723, performed with zest and imagination, without having to sit through the sermon.'
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Editor's Choice: 'Another intriguing and excellently performed project from Butt and his Dunedin Consort: a delightful recreation of what Bach’s first Christmas in Leipzig might well have sounded like.'
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BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
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Rondo Magazine
5 Stars
,,Unter diesen Bedingungen kann auch das bekannte Magnificat in seiner gleißend hellen Es-Dur-Fassung nur eine Freude sein – diese Erwartung bestätigt sich beim Hören: Das ist sehr, sehr wohltuend.''
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MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: 'Top of my 2015 Christmas list: outshines just about every other recording of the Magnificat and the cantata.'
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BBC Radio Scotland ‘Classics Unwrapped’
'It’s a magnificent recording…a hearty congratulations on a truly hearty disc. I really, really loved listening to that.'
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BBC Radio 3 ‘In Tune’
'It’s wondrous music.'
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Artistxite
,,Die Illusion funktioniert: Man fühlt sich unmittelbar in die besondere Stimmung einer festlichen Vesper hineinversetzt. Butt und sein Ensemble erweisen sich (zum wiederholten Male) als akkurate Spurensucher, die die Unmittelbarkeit des historischen Kontexts für den heutigen Hörer wieder erfahrbar machen.''
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Classical CD Choice
'Quite possibly the most persuasive version of Bach's Magnificat you are likely to hear in modern times.'
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PS Audio
Classical Gifts of 2015: 'Hands down, my first choice this year...'
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Best Choral Album: 'Andrew Stewart has heard no finer disc this year than John Butt and the Dunedin Consort's new recording of Bach's Magnificat and Christmas Cantata BWV 63, filled with insight and energy.'
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Andrew Everard
'standout'
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Merry and Bright Blog
'an excellent record'
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Early Music Review
'...what is a very good example of John Butt's marriage between arresting scholarship, enormous musicality - the tempi are so naturally right - and pragmatic skills: conceiving and bringing such a complex production to fruition is a huge task, and the whole disc is so coherently musical from the word go. Give it to all your friends for Christmas: this is contextual Bach at its very best.'
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The Irish Times
4 Stars
'The scene is set for music-making that's lucid and festive, captured in sound that's both intimate and full. A spirited Christmas celebration with a difference.'
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'superb'
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BBC Radio 3 'CD Review'
Disc of the Week: '...director John Butt reconstructs for us the kind of sounds you might have heard when Bach celebrated his first Christmas day vespers in Leipzig in 1723…It’s an absolute joy.'
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The Scotsman
5 Stars
'...yet another astonishing triumph...the musicianship is exquisite; the emotional impact is immediate. This is world class.'
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Europadisc
'Butt and his musicians combine an earthy exuberance with some beautifully sensitive and ethereal singing and playing...this is an enormously satisfying and enjoyable disc, reinforcing yet again the Dunedin Consort's enviable reputation in this repertoire.'
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The Observer
5 Stars
'Another bull's-eye hit from John Butt's Dunedin Consort...brilliantly done.'
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HR Audio
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'In all respects this is one of the most enjoyable releases that I have encountered this year and cannot recommend too highly.'
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MusicWeb International
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McAlister Matheson Music
'Look no further for this year’s essential Christmas disc!'
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Dunedin Consort - J.S. Bach: Magnificat - AllMusic


01 October 2015
AllMusic
James Manheim

Given the considerable number of recordings that have tried to place Renaissance compositions within the context for which they were written, it is odd that the same has so rarely been done for Bach. After all, most of Bach's output consists of Gebrauchsmusik, music written for daily use. This release by Scotland's historical-instrument Dunedin Consort and its leader John Butt shows the possibilities of this approach. Included is a possible reconstruction of the Christmas Day service at the St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig in 1723, the first year Bach arrived in the city in whose employ he would spend the rest of his life. He deployed his Magnificat, composed six months earlier, and you hear what would have been heard in 1723, the rarely performed original version, in E flat major (murder on natural brasses), with four hymns inserted between the usual movements, a typical Leipzig practice at Christmas. These are in a mixture of German and Latin, and indeed the entire program provides insight into how Bach, and his audiences, might have regarded the relationship between the new Protestant church music and the grand polyphonic, largely Catholic past. It's rare to hear a motet by Giovanni Gabrieli on a program with Bach, but a collection of late Renaissance music by one Erhard Bodenschatz was apparently in wide use in Lutheran churches at the time, and it's fascinating to think of how the grandeur of Gabrieli's eight-part Hodie Christus natus est might have affected Bach's own conceptions. The Christmas-themed Cantata No. 63, Christen ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63, is also of great interest when examined closely as to why Bach might have chosen the specific imagery he did. Butt gives you such an examination, and he also gets big-boned performances, with limpid, slightly rough solos, from his assembled forces. The music is splendidly recorded at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, and the end result is a Bach performance that is original in concept and satisfying in details.


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