J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Magnificat in D Major

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Richard Hickox
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Collegium Musicum 90
Soloists:Emma Kirkby - soprano I
Tessa Bonner - soprano II
Michael Chance - counter-tenor
John Mark Ainsley - tenor
Stephen Varcoe - baritone
Individual Works: Vivaldi: Ostro picta, armata spina RV 642, Gloria RV 589
Bach: Magnificat in D major, BWV 243
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Chandos
Catalog Number:CHAN 0518
Year Released/Recorded:1990
Total Playing Time:27:14
Comments:John L. Robinson said:

This rendition of the Magnificat is simply wonderful! All of the forces employed have a fine understanding of Bach and of the Magnificat as a form.

Richard Hickox directs his forces with great acumen. He is ALWAYS in control, but not at the expense of the performers' vitality. Kirkby, Chance, and Ainsley are, as usual, superb. Bonner and Varcoe, with whom I am less familiar, are equally accomplished. The Collegium Musicum 90 vocal and instrumental forces capture that most elusive prize of technical accuracy and musical passion, so lacking in many period performances.

The opening section, the Magnificat statement, sets the stage for all that follows. Animated, but not rushed, it moves with a guileless charm and grace, capturing the ebullience of this form of music perfectly. This treatment reflects the message of the text with dignity, but not pomposity.

I believe it is the emotional realization of the Magnificat that I admire so in this recording. To be sure, it is different from the weightier renditions of some ensembles that perform Bach's religious works. Indeed, if handled less expertly, this lightness could lose track of the underlying profundity of the text and become trivial. Happily, Hickox does not let this happen; nor, most happily, does he succumb to the current vogue of churning out a drab, jejune reading.

I was unexpectedly pleased by this performance, as well as by the equally delightful performance of Vivaldi's Gloria also on this CD. I can unreservedly recommend this recording to anyone who appreciates the subtle and most difficult art of realizing in music the emotional purport of a profound textual foundation.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • John L. Robinson
Date First Submitted:11/02/1997