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Urban

Title - 'Bach: Cantatas' [2 Hi-Fi Blu-Ray Audio CDs]
Artist - Karl Richter

For those not in the know, Karl Richter was a German conductor, choirmaster, organist and harpsichordist.

Richter was born in Plauen and studied first in Dresden, where he was a member of the Dresdner Kreuzchor and later in Leipzig, where he received his degree in 1949. He studied with Günther Ramin, Karl Straube and Rudolf Mauersberger.

In the same year, he became organist at St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, where Johann Sebastian Bach was the musical director for 27 years. While organist at the St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, he was witness to the inauguration of Bach's new grave and prepared a special performance of Bach's "St. Anne" Prelude and Fugue in E-flat for the reception.

In 1951 Richter moved to Munich, where he taught at the conservatory, and was cantor and organist at St. Mark's Church. He also conducted the Münchener Bach-Chor starting in 1954 and the Münchener Bach-Orchester. In the 1960s and 1970s he recorded often and toured Japan, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Richter played and conducted a wide range of music (sacred works from Heinrich Schütz to Max Reger, as well as the symphonic and concerto repertoire of the Classical and Romantic periods – even including Bruckner symphonies), but is best remembered for his interpretations of Johann Sebastian Bach and Handel.

Richter's performances were known for their soul-searching, intense and festive manner. He avoided the fluctuations in tempo that were previously characteristic of the prevailing Romantic manner of conducting Bach, and devoted much attention to the woodwinds and to balance. His recordings from 1958–70 are notable for "discipline, rhythmic tautness and expressive intensity.".

Richter viewed Baroque music as fundamentally impromptu and subjective in nature, explaining in an interview that he had been told his performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion sounded different from the one he had performed last year. He viewed this observation in a positive light, stating, "It's bad if you play a work with disdainful routine because you have to, and if you no longer have any thoughts or ideas about it."

This was one of Richter's strengths, because each concert he conducted was a unique, irreplaceable event, and even though two performances could sound slightly different, both seemed just right in the moment he was playing them. Musicians who played with him acknowledged this and analogized that performing Baroque music with Richter was like playing ping-pong because the back and forth is what directed the piece.

As well as a conductor, Richter is also remembered as a virtuoso harpsichordist and organist. His performances of Bach's organ works are known for their imposing registrations and favorable pace.

Now Karl Richter’s legendary recordings of the complete Bach cantatas ahve been newly remastered in 24bit/192kHz and presented on two high fidelity Blu-ray Audio discs in a luxury hardcover edition.

In the 1950s, when Karl Richter made his earliest recordings of sacred vocal music by Bach, his disciplined and vital approach was hailed as revelatory.

Indeed, and as delved into above, Richter’s firm grounding in Lutheran theology, his intuitive feeling for the nobility of Bach’s music and his pronounced gift for eloquent phrasing all contribute to a performing style which possesses not only a warmth of sentiment and a distinctive expressive fervor, but also a supple inner strength, strikingly evident in the chorale-based choruses which, in so many instances, provide the focal point of Bach’s cantatas.

Richter’s recordings on Archiv of the complete Bach Cantatas are reference recordings of the repertoire through the genius combination of Richter’s leadership and the assembled forces of his meticulously trained choir, his handpicked group of instrumental obbligato players and leading Bach soloists.

Now Deutsche Grammophon presents all 75 cantatas remastered in 24bit/192kHz on just TWO high-fidelity Blu-ray Audio discs in a 252pp hardcover book with the complete sung texts. FYI: Five HD Digital Albums are also being made available which together represent the entirety of the physical set.

Contents:
Bach, J S: Cantata BWV92 'Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV126 'Erhalt uns Herr, bei deinem Wort'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV23 'Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV1 'Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV182 'Himmelskönig, sei willkommen'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV4 'Christ lag in Todesbanden' (Easter Cantata)
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV6 'Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV158 'Der Friede sei mit dir'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV67 'Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV104 'Du Hirte Israel, hore'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV12 'Weinen, Klagen, sorgen, Zagen'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV108 'Es ist euch gut, das ich hingehe'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV87 'Bisher habt ihr nichts gebeten in meinem Namen'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV9 'Es ist das Heil uns kommen her'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV187 'Es wartet alles auf dich'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV178 'Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns halt'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV45 'Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV105 'Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV102 'Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV199 'Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV179 'Siehe zu, daß deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV137 'Lobe den Herrn, den mächtigen König der Ehren'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV33 'Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV78 'Jesu der du meine Seele'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV17 'Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV51 'Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV100 'Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV27 'Wer weiß, wie nahe mir mein Ende?'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV8 'Liebster Gott, wann werd ich sterben?'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV148 'Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV96 'Herr Christ, der einige Gottessohn'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV5 'Wo soll ich fliehen hin'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV56 'Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV180 'Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV38 'Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV55 'Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV115 'Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV139 'Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV60 'O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV26 'Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV116 'Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV70a 'Wachet! betet! betet! wachet!'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV140 'Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV130 'Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV80 'Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV106 'Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit' (Actus tragicus)
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Ascension Oratorio 'Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen', BWV11
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV44 'Sie werden euch in den Bann tun'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV34 'O ewiges Feuer, O Ursprung der Liebe'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV68 'Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV175 'Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV129 'Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV39 'Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV76 'Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV135 'Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV21 'Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV24 'Ein ungefärbt Gemüte'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV30 'Freue dich, erlöste Schar'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV93 'Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV147 'Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV10 'Meine Seel erhebt den Herren'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV61 'Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV132 'Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV63 'Christen, aetzet diesen Tag'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV121 'Christum wir sollen loben schon'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV64 'Sehet, welch eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV28 'Gottlob, nun geht das Jahr zu Ende'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV171 'Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV58 'Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV65 'Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV124 'Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV13 'Meine Seufzer, meine Tränen'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV111 'Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV81 'Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen?'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

Bach, J S: Cantata BWV82 'Ich habe genug'
Munich Bach Choir & Orchestra
Karl Richter

As nodded to, at first Richter played continuo under Ramin, then he directed his own performances before becoming, in 1958, a major artist for the Archiv label.

But it was in the early 1970s that Archiv provided him with an opportunity of recording a cantata for every Sunday and Feast Day of the Lutheran church year.

The project, embracing 64 cantatas, most of them newly recorded for the Archiv cycle, was one which gave Richter particular pride and deep satisfaction; and it is here, above all, at the very heart of Bach’s creative world, that we can admire Richter’s skill in blending component parts to form a unifying whole.

The most important of these were his meticulously trained choir of women’s and men’s voices, his handpicked group of instrumental obbligato players, and an outstanding line-up of soloists to whom he expressed the strongest artistic commitment and for whom he demonstrated undying loyalty.

Perhaps better than any of his (or our) contemporaries, Richter manages to present these works as muscio-theological unities; all of a piece, however many contrasting movements alternate before the closing chorale setting of various works.

Richter discerns the underlying theme (in a nonmusical sense) and rhetorical strategy of each of the cantatas presented here, so that each one presents the listener with a narrative unity, a trajectory from, say, penitence to absolution, grief to joy, terror to consolation - or sometimes, as in the case of BWV 26, from initial dismay to intensifying terror.

Those who have heard Richter's classic recordings of the two Passions, the Christmas Oratorio and the B-Minor Mass, will know what to expect here - namely, an ever-present striving to get beyond the notes, and the technical challenges of performance (which are nevertheless surmounted with ease, given the professionalism of Richter's ensembles), to the heart of the theological message expressed in and through those notes.

And that depth-meaning, which Richter seems almost uncannily to intuit time and again, may well contravene that of the text being sung: my favorite example is how St. Paul's sobering consideration that the kindness of God is meant to prompt repentance that forms the text of the bass arioso from BWV 102 is turned on its head by Bach's setting, which brings back the "kindness of God" motif as a brief recapitulation without the qualification about fear of divine judgment.

So divine Grace prevails in the end over the Terror of the Law, though that good Lutheran point is somewhat at odds with the text itself. These deeper dimensions of Bach's settings of scriptural and pietistic texts are not lost on Karl Richter.

The instrumental obbligatos, wind or string, are rendered with exquisite musicality, stylishness and technical virtuosity - though according to the musicological sensibilities of the pre-HIP era.

The choral singing is incisive of attack, beautifully blended of tone, and transparent of texture. Their discipline is so complete that each section sings with the a unanimity and nimbleness equivalent to a single voice. Quite amazing.

The solo singing is quite outstanding, too, as one would expect given the illustrious names on the rosters of these recordings (Mathis, Reynolds, Hamari, Töpper, Haefliger, Schreier, van Kesteren, Engen, Adam, Fischer-Dieskau among them).

Occasionally Fischer-Dieskau succumbs to his habitual temptation to "chew up the scenery," and some of the others sport wide vibratos that could prove intrusive to some listeners. But, overall, no finer line-up of soloists can be found on any rival Bach cantata series; of that you have my word.

This stunning Bach: Cantatas is a double Blu-Ray Audio disc version of Karl Richter’s Bach complete stereo cantata recordings for DGG; previously released on vinyl and 26 CDs.

Although these are all the stereo recordings Richter recorded they are not a complete set of Bach cantatas. The 2 discs are housed in a handsome 255 page hard cover CD sized book which contains track listings and cantata texts in German and English with additional essays.

The Blu-Ray discs are (Disc 1) 14 hrs 45 minutes - 238 tracks and (Disc 2) 14 hrs 44 minutes - 268 tracks.

This edition, which as aforementioned, presents reference recordings of the 75 Cantatas from one of the most appreciated Bach performers of the 20th century and the assembled forces of leading Bach soloists including Julia Hamari, Edith Mathis, Ernst Haefliger, Peter Schreier, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Theo Adam and many more.

The included, and stunning beautiful, I might add, 252 page booklet includes: Complete sung text in German and English; Essays by Nicholas Anderson about Richter as an interpreter of Bach; and by Walter Blankenburg about the genre of cantatas in the times of Johann Sebastian Bach; and new notes by Edith Mathis and Peter Schreier.

Amazon Purchase Link

www.DeutscheGrammophon.com





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