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CPE Bach • JS Bach: Magnificats

Gaechinger Cantorey/Hans-Christoph Rademann et al (Accentus)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

CPE Bach • JS Bach
JS Bach: Magnificat, BWV 243*; CPE Bach: Magnificat, Wq. 215
Miriam Feuersinger, *Anja Scherg (soprano), Marie Henriette Reinhold (alto), Patrick Grahl (tenor), Markus Eiche (bass); Gaechinger Cantorey/Hans-Christoph Rademann
Accentus ACC30563   62:52 mins


Composed in 1723, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Magnificat was his first major work as newly appointed Cantor of St Thomas, Leipzig. Twenty-seven years later, in an unsuccessful bid to succeed to the post, his second surviving son Carl Philipp Emanuel presented his own version. The two settings make for a fascinating comparison. Where JS opens with an ornate dance of stately jubilation, CPE dashes into action like the arrival of some Queen of Sheba. And while JS proceeds with a sequence of brief arias and choruses, CPE is less contrapuntal, more nervous and mannerist in style, with abrupt pauses or changes of dynamics, though culminating in an uncharacteristically sustained fugue as if in respectful tribute to his father.

Of these two performances by the Stuttgart-based Gaechinger Cantorey, the CPE Bach comes over more vividly, with sharply articulated detail under the energetic direction Hans-Christoph Rademann. Something of the contrapuntal intricacy, and the wonted brightness of the three trumpets, in the JS Bach is lost in the slightly recessed acoustic of the Forum am Schlosspark Ludwigsburg (not some Ludwig of Bavaria folly but a modern conference hall). Still, there is some fine work from the vocal and instrumental soloists. To compare JS Bach’s soulful setting of ‘Quia respexit’, expressively delivered here by soprano Miriam Feuersinger to the excitable CPE Bach version with tenor Patrick Grahl is to hear just how music had moved on between father and son.

Bayan Northcott

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