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Best Recordings of 2010 (# 7)

This continues the “Best Recordings of 2010” countdown. No.10 can be found here, No. 9 here, No. 8 here. The lists from the previous years: 2009, (2009 – “Almost”), 2008, (2008 - "Almost") 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.

# 7 - New Release

Bach, “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland”, Cantatas volume 9 (BWV 36, 61, 62, 132), Sigiswald Kuijken, La Petite Bande, Accent SACD 25308

available at AmazonJ.S.Bach, Cantatas v.9,
S.Kuijken, La Petite Bande
Accent SACD 25308
This Bach release—the 11th volume of Sigiswald Kuijken’s one-liturgical-year SACD cycle—will receive a detailed, comparative review; hopefully later this month. But it’s in any case a sure-fire Best-Of candidate. Volume 8 was on the 2009 “Almost List” and as I said then: I don’t buy into the one-voice-per-part argument. To the extent I can follow it properly, the movement is an ideological endeavor guided in its research more by wishful thinking than actual evidence. But the proof is in the musical pudding, and (pretty exclusively) under Kuijken’s hands that pudding sounds amazing. This particular disc brings together the Advent cantatas, and Kuijken smartly places compromise before principle (the latter being “only one cantata per liturgical Sunday”) by bringing three cantatas for the first Advent together (with one for the fourth, BWV 132), since there are no surviving cantatas for the second and third Advent.

The performances are incredibly involving, edgy, they push the listener along, almost toward discomfort. I’ve simply never heard such gutsy Cantata performances before. Kuijken really pushes the envelope, but by a hair's breadth never too far. The disc provides a shocking first, and an enthralling second or third impression, and riveting enjoyment thereon; one of the best in this already extremely satisfying 1-year cantata cycle. The voices—especially Gerlinde Sämann, but also Petra Noskaiová, Christoph Genz, Jan Van der Crabben—are not beautiful... they are chilling, perhaps, uncompromising—which is describes the entire disc perfectly well, too. In a word: awe-some.

# 7 – Reissue

MelodiesDuparc, Gerard Souzay, Dalton Baldwin, Newton Classics 8802007

available at AmazonMélodies,
Gerard Souzay, Dalton Baldwin
Newton Classics 8802007
This is a re-re-issue, at least… but very welcome for a host of reasons. Gérard Souzay’s Mélodies ranked high among my 2004 choices of Best Reissues already; that was the (expensive) re-issue of all of his Duparc (and a few others) on one disc. Now Newton Classics, a new kid on the classical re-issuing block about which I will report more in depth in the new year, issues the release as it had once appeared on Philips—the whole 4 disc set of all the Mélodies he recorded for that company. What I wrote about the single disc version in 2004 still remains valid: “Gérard Souzay may be old fashioned in his singing, but it sure is gorgeous. I love the songs of [the neglected mad genius] Henri Duparc… and though the sound is not Hi-Fi, the quality is such that every bit of his deeply felt, noble singing of mélodies comes through. This was the Gramophone Record of the Year winner among reissues, and it's not difficult to hear why.” Now with added Fauré, Poulenc, Ravel, Leguerney, Hahn, Gounod, Chabrier, and Bizet.

-> Best Recordings of 2010 #1
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #2
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #3
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #4
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #5
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #6
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #8
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #9
-> Best Recordings of 2010 #10

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