J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Historic Bach cantatas (Karl Straube, 1931)

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Karl Straube
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Thomanerchor Leipzig/Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Karl Straube (Thomaskantor 1918 - 1939)
Soloists:Various singers
Rudolf Kempe (oboe d'amore)
Günther Ramin (organ)
Individual Works:"Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ" BWV 67 (complete)
"Wachet! betet! betet! wachet!" BWV 70 (part 1)
"Die Elenden sollen essen" BWV 75 (excerpts)
"Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes" BWV 76 (excerpts)
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Bach-Archiv Leipzig
Year Released/Recorded:1931
Total Playing Time:77'55
Comments:Arnd Koch said:

On Easter Sunday, April 5, 1931, the Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk-AG (Central German Broadcasting Corporation) in co-operation with the Thomanerchor of Leipzig and the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester conducted by Thomaskantor Karl Straube started the first series of live Bach cantata broadcastings in the world. The first cantata transmitted was "Christ lag in Todes Banden" BWV 4. The next sunday, "Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ" BWV 67 was transmitted and recorded on shellacs during transmission (not for sale, but as a document for the choir). It is thought to be the first complete Bach cantata recording to survive and, thus, is an outstanding document which has now been remastered on CD (the other cantatas on this CD are fragmentary). In a 'prefatory address' in the (German and English) booklet, the Presidents of Neue Bach-Gesellschaft and Internationale Bach-Gesellschaft say '[...] it is now possible to gain new insight into the beginnings of the renewed interest in Bach's cantatas [and] to hear the characteristic sound that caused the fame of the Leipzig Thomaner choir in the early 1930s. To our knowledge there are no earlier sound documents of these works extant. Of course the listener should not expect [...] the recording quality and sound of present standard. In other respects, however, these historical recordings will surprise him with a very different kind of musical experience.'

The recording of BWV 67 is complete. However, only some of the shellacs recorded in parallel to the radio broadcasts of BWV 70, 75, and 76 have survived. The oboist, Rudolf Kempe (at the Gewandhaus from 1927 - 1936), later on became a renowned conductor. The organist, Günther Ramin, Thomasorganist from 1918 - 1939, in 1940 became Straube's successor as Thomaskantor (see comments on his recording of St. John Passion BWV 245).

N.B.: This CD can only be bought at or ordered from the Bach-Museum Leipzig, Thomaskirchhof 16, D-04109 Leipzig, phone: +49-341-96441-35, fax: +49-341-96441-22.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Arnd Koch
Date First Submitted:01/20/1998