Thursday, 31 December 2015

Bach - Motets - Herreweghe

Rating: 5/5

More excellent Bach from Herreweghe

I love this disc of Bach's six motets.  I already have a number of well-loved versions, but I think these are probably my favourites.

The motets themselves are varied and rich works, in continual performance at Leipzig while Bach was there (and since), and Philippe Herreweghe has based these performances on his research into performance practice there, to go alongside his two excellent discs of Leipzig Cantatas.  The result is a sometimes thrilling, sometimes deeply moving set of interpretations with simply beautiful sound throughout.

The opening of Singet dem Herrn, for example, has all Bach's most exultant joy with superb singing and radiant brass, while Komm, Jesu, Komm opens with a lovely, moving sense of yearning while preserving Bach's essential pulse.  Every motet is given an appropriate, thoughtful treatment.  Herreweghe often produces quite a mellow sound and that is especially effective here; it's perhaps gentler in feel than Gardiner or Koopman and not as hauntingly plangent as The Hilliard Ensemble, and it has an overall feel which I think fits these works perfectly.  Both choir and instrumentalists are simply excellent, and they do these fine works proud.

The recorded sound is excellent and the presentation very attractive, making this a very good disc all round.  It's a real gem, I think, and warmly recommended.

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