Music Is The Key
Music Is The Key is a English-speaking blog specialized in the field of classical music and opera. As such, Music Is The Key is a qualified source of soclassiq, like Alex Ross - Unquiet Thoughts or ClassicalConnect and many others. The oldest article indexed by soclassiq is dated 2007-08-20. Since then, a total of 27 articles have been written and published by Music Is The Key.
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The links for BACH Cantatas vol. 26 & 27 are now available. These are the last posts of the blog. I will post no more. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT THROUGH ALL THESE YEARS WHERE 600 ALBUMS OF MUSIC WERE SHARED It is a shame to have to leave this project but thecircumstances make me do this
The Cantata Pilgrims observed the festival of Whitsun in the English county of Suffolk. Whit Sunday itself, and the Monday following, were spent at Long Melford and the concerts on those days were contained in Volume 26 of this series. The next day the pilgrimage fetched up at another church in the county, at Blythburgh. Bach left only two cantatas for Whit Tuesday. In order to complete the programme Sir John elected to begin the proceedings with the Third Brandenburg Concerto. This was a very logical choice, not least because Bach had used the first movement of the concerto as the sinfonia to cantata BWV 174, which the Pilgrims had performed just the day before. In its original scoring for three each of violins, violas and celli, it is given a sprightly performance here. The two cantatas that follow are both […]
It’s a measure of the importance of Whitsun in the Lutheran calendar that, like Christmas and Easter, the feast was celebrated over three days. This latest release in the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage series consists of two concerts given on consecutive days in the same venue, Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, in Suffolk details. This noble church, much lauded by Simon Jenkins in his book, England’s Thousand Best Churches, is one of the so-called Wool Churches and is mainly late-Perpendicular in style. Readers who have been following the reviews of this series to date will know that one of its many notable features is the booklet notes. These are taken from a journal that Sir John Eliot Gardiner compiled during the Pilgrimage. It seems to me that his notes for this present volume are the finest to date. He writes […]
The first of the two CDs in this set contains cantatas for the Fifth Sunday after Easter, recorded in what John Eliot Gardiner describes as the “unalluring” Annenkirche in Dresden. This was one of the few churches to survive the terrible bombing that the city endured in 1945. Apparently it owed its survival to an unusual architectural feature: a robust steel roof. In his notes Gardiner writes of the delicacy of the situation in which a largely British ensemble came to perform Bach in a city devastated by Allied bombs. They performed the programme on two consecutive nights and in the event, though the atmosphere at the first concert seemed somewhat tense, a more relaxed feeling pervaded the second concert. The first work we hear, BWV 86, is an optimistic cantata, the mood set in the short opening bass arioso, […]
Volume 22 of this series contained cantatas for Easter Sunday and the succeeding two days, performed at the church in Eisenach where Bach was baptised and sang as a boy chorister. For the following Sunday, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Cantata Pilgrims travelled some thirty miles to Arnstadt, where Bach served as organist between 1703 and 1707. Though cantata BWV 150 is not an Easter cantata - indeed, it’s for an unspecified occasion - its inclusion in the Arnstadt programme was appropriate since it’s now widely believed that this was Bach’s first cantata, composed around 1707/8 and, as such, probably written for this very church. The piece is rooted firmly in the seventeenth-century German cantata tradition and, unsurprisingly, one feels that the young Bach has yet fully to find his voice in this medium. Nonetheless it’s technically very […]
This eclectic selection covers works for Quinquagesima, the Annunciation, Palm Sunday and Oculi (the third Sunday in Lent) in arguably the least even of the seven releases so far. Yet there are significant contributions smattered throughout, not least Nathalie Stutzmann's purple-clad Widerstehe (BVVV54). This true contralto imparts a captivating resilience in the face of sin's devious tricks. Inspired by the chamber-like ecclesiastical works of Bach's Weimar period, the reduced string ensemble lends a similar intimacy to BWV182, though both works suffer from some scrappy playing that clearly could not be rectified simply by dropping in 'patches' from before or after. Stutzmann, however, projects just the right sense of involvement without forcing the issue. Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern (BWV1) is the major work here — a masterpiece of understated majesty and gentle celebration (for the Annunciation) where […]
When thinking about Russian viola sonatas, a limited list of compositions may initially spring to mind, perhaps beginning and ending with the Shostakovich sonata. Violist Eliesha Nelson is out to prove that Shostakovich was certainly not the only Russian composer who wrote duo chamber music for her instrument. Joined by pianist Glen Inanga, Nelson presents a surprising program of four works for viola and piano, each penned by Russian composers in the early half of the 20th century. Some listeners may be familiar Paul Juon, whose works are currently experiencing revitalization, but names like Varvara Gaigerova and Alexander Winkler are likely unknown. Folk idioms, rhythmic components, and sonorities that typically characterize "Russian" music are present throughout this disc, but the influence of the west is still decisively present. Each of the compositions are idiomatically written for the viola, focusing on the instrument's strengths of dark, rich, tone, and melancholy sonorities, […]