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Kultur Port
'Clear, transparent, and not just for the Christmas holidays.'
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Concerto
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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Early Music Today
5 Stars
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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Iowa Public Radio
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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The Herald Scotland
Top 10 Scottish Classical Albums of 2015: #1 spot
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Europadisc
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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The Arts Desk
'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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Classical MPR
'The effect is reverent and seamless. The musicianship of the singers and the players is flawless, and it's interesting to hear the works in their historical context.'
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Pizzicato
Supersonic Award: ,,Den Aufnahmetechnikern ist ein Meisterstück gelungen...Unser Tipp für die Feiertage!''
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The Herald Scotland
Top 20 Classical Recordings for 2015: 'Hard to imagine a classier Christmas album.'
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YLE Klassinen
'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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Gramophone
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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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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Sinfini Music
5 Stars
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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Classic FM 'Chart'
'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
5 Stars
'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
Recording of the Month: 'This is one of the most enjoyable and stimulating Bach discs to have come my way...The performance standards are uniformly excellent and the music is life-enhancing.'
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McAlister Matheson Music
'Look no further for this year’s essential Christmas disc!'
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AllMusic
'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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Dunedin Consort - J.S. Bach: Magnificat - BBC Music Magazine


01 December 2015
BBC Music Magazine
Paul Riley
5 Stars

Having already recorded Bach's St John Passion in the revelatory context of a Lutheran Good Friday Vespers service, John Butt and his Dunedin Consort now turn their reconstructive gaze on Bach's first Christmas in Leipzig, in 1723. He offers a similarly absorbing liturgical framework for the musical stars of the Christmas Day Vespers: Cantata Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63 and the elaborate Magnificat in its E flat incarnation complete with the four seasonal interpolations favoured in Leipzig. Organ preludes, congregational hymn singing, collects and blessing all work their enriching spell, but the experience isn't quite as immersive as it was in the St John Passion because the constraints of disc length mean that some tracks have to be accessed as free downloads. Unavoidable, but disruptive - though as a Christmas present the Dunedins spare us the downloadable sermon, the centrepiece of the service.

What remains on disc, however, is undeniably compelling. An eight- part Gabrieli motet underlines the important role Italian music played in the life of the German church; flamboyantly improvised organ curlicues punctuate the congregational chorales; while the organ preluding engineers an undeniable theatricality- especially when Butt's magisterial account of the Magnificat fugue yields without pause to the quivering, ecstatic joy of BWV 243a's opening chorus, a coup de théâtre rehearsed in the JohnPassion recording. What follows is a holistically conceived, beautifully paced, exhilaratingly executed performance that never allows the interpolated laudes tosound like cuckoos in the nest. The Virga Jesse is a delight, incidentally, and makes up for some uneasy compositional Jolts in the Gloria in excelsis Deo.


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