J. S. Bach in the New Yorker

Alex Ross focuses on Bach in a review of a recent New York performance of the Bach Collegium Japan and the completion of the final releases from John Eliot Gardiner’s series of recordings of the complete sacred cantatas in this week’s issue.  Bethlehem listeners might recall the Japanese players’ performance at a gala concert for our organization a few years ago, which featured wonderfully elegant renderings of the B-Minor Orchestral Suite, the D-Minor Harpsichord Concerto, and the 5th Brandenburg Concerto.  Gardiner’s cantata cycle features Bethlehem favorite, countertenor Daniel Taylor, on several discs in the series, and, as a collector of that series, I highly recommend them.  Bach enthusiasts will always greet a new cantata recording series with delight, and it’s been a joy to listen to Gardiner’s.  I frequently quote Gardiner’s ruminations on the cantatas that are included in each release (they can be found in PDF form on the website of his record label), and the scholarship that informed that cycle of performances has been very helpful to listeners and performers of Bach.  Ross’ article contains his usual deep insight into the practice of listening to Bach, and should be an enjoyable read for lovers of this music.

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