Academic journal article Notes

Motetten/The Bach Motets

Academic journal article Notes

Motetten/The Bach Motets

Article excerpt

Johann Sebastian Bach. Motetten. Hilliard Ensemble. ECM 187, 2007.

Johann Sebastian Bach. The Bach Motets. University of Wisconsin- Madison Chamber Choir / Robert Fountain. School of Music, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2005.

Two recordings of J. S. Bach's motets came to this reviewer's attention in 2007- one newly recorded by the Hilliard Ensemble, the other a collection of older recordings originally issued in 2005 and forwarded for review consideration in 2007 by a representative of the School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Both are noteworthy, but for very different reasons.

The Wisconsin recording is less a showcase for Bach's motets than it is a tribute to the choral conductor Robert Fountain, who led choirs at that university for twentythree years before retiring in 1994. The Fountain Legacy Project was initiated to preserve and disseminate recordings of some of the many performances he conducted during that period; for this project, roughly 350 analog tapes (both open-reel and cassette) were digitized and archived for purposes of both dissemination and preservation, and the present disc is one result of that initiative. It is, therefore, not actually the result of a recording session, but is rather a compilation of live recordings made between 1979 and 1990. The results are interesting-they amount less to a specific musical argument than a document of one man's ongoing conversation with these significant choral works, mediated by a shifting group of student singers. …

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