Dunedin Consort - J.S. Bach: Magnificat - Iowa Public Radio
Some Flavorful Picks from 2015's Classical Bumper Crop (Part 1: Non-Iowa)
I feel guilty about including two Bach releases on my list, but as I was saying, it's a golden age for Bach playing, and - here I seek your indulgence - he happens to be my top personal musical obsession. Given the holiday-gift focus of this list, I'll go with the most Christmasy Bach release of the year - for if you need some holiday joyfulness, you might find it delivered by this reconstruction of Bach's first Christmas service in Leipzig. I give my usual disclaimer about not having heard every acclaimed recording of the main works (e.g., those of the Ricercar Consort), but I doubt they would reduce my pleasure in performances that are so apposite, human, and spirited. Besides, you also get first-rate organ solo playing from director John Butt. Also, as a "liturgical reconstruction," the set reminds us that the music was originally "functional" rather than concert-centered (though the reminder is, thankfully, not too insistent, and the result is trimmed to fit a single CD. Some extras and the 44-page booklet are, by the way, free online). As usual, Linn's recorded sound is rich, glowing, natural, and clear.