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Thread: Suzuki Bach Cantatas Completed

  1. #1
    DrMike
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    Default Suzuki Bach Cantatas Completed

    After, I believe, 15 years, BIS has just released the final volume (55) in Masaaki Suzuki's complete recordings of Bach's Cantatas. This is a wonderful set, and I have slowly been collecting them. Sadly, I only have 13 of them thus far, and it will take me some time to collect them all. But it is definitely something to look forward to. I have been going through them for the last week - listening to one volume per day.

    Any other fans of these recordings?

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Yes, I have most of them and have listened to about 30 so far. Very impressed.
    I treat my music like I treat my pets. It’s something to own, care about and curate with attention to detail. From a blog by hjr.

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    I love what I've heard. I'm looking forward to a box set.

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    Senior Member Celloman's Avatar
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    I have not listened to any of these recordings yet. I will definitely be purchasing a box set of all the Bach cantatas in the near future (hopefully!), so I'll keep my eye out for a complete set of the Suzuki while I'm at it.

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    Senior Member pjang23's Avatar
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    Suzuki is my go-to for the cantatas.

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    Back when this series started, I had the idea to invest a small amount in the stock market and watch it rise until, when the series was completed, I could cash it in and purchase it from my outrageous fortune. Looking back, it seems, alas, the fickle finger of fate poked me in the eye.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    My favorite cantata cycle by far.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    I have the bargain-box of volumes 1-10 (really the ten booklets plus cds in clear sleeves inside a clam-box) and love those recordings.



    I intended to get the second, third and fourth bargain boxes (with volumes 11-20, 21-30 and 31-40, but they were deleted before I had the chance. Each box was selling at the time for the equivalent of two and a half discs.

    Will definately try and grab a full box if and when they do one.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    The box set of the major choral works is also excellent.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member Oreb's Avatar
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    I haven't heard any of Suzuki's performances, but this thread has tweaked my interest.

    What does he bring to the music that, say, Gardiner doesn't?

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oreb View Post
    I haven't heard any of Suzuki's performances, but this thread has tweaked my interest.

    What does he bring to the music that, say, Gardiner doesn't?
    To me, there's a spirituality that Suzuki brings to these works.
    And the BIS sound given him is perfection.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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  20. #12
    DrMike
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    Admittedly, I haven't listened to a lot of the Gardiner set - only a few recordings. Don't get me wrong, Gardiner does a fine job, and I enjoy his recordings of Bach's sacred choral works. It is really just a matter of degrees. To me, as Itullian said, there is a greater spirituality in Suzuki's performances that appeals to me. As for the sound quality, it truly is hard to beat, but Gardiner's recordings would also not disappoint. I wish that my hearing were sensitive enough that I could tell the difference, but suffice it to say that the sound in the Suzuki recordings is crystal clear. Are there huge differences? No. But given the costs you are likely to incur in trying to collect a complete Bach cantata cycle - unless you have the dinero to purchase multiple ones - sometimes it comes down to the small details.

    Incidentally, Suzuki's recordings of the B Minor Mass and St. John Passion are also incredible, and rank as my favorite recordings of those works. The St. Matthew Passion is good as well, but just not quite as good as some others out there. I also have the Easter and Ascension oratorios by him, and love them. I have not, however, heard his recording of the Christmas oratorio. I am going to try to remedy that soon, although I really love the Rene Jacobs recording of that work, so that will be tough to follow.

    Incidentally, I just found the entire Hanssler Bachakademie complete Bach recordings at my local library, and I plan on listening to Rilling's recordings of the Cantatas - not HIP, in terms of instruments, but certainly using HIP practices, and what looks to be some outstanding soloists.

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    Senior Member realdealblues's Avatar
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    I have not heard all of them but from the few volumes I have heard, Suzuki's recordings are very well played, conducted and recorded, but I honestly don't find the singing to be all that "extraordinary". His soloists aren't bad or anything, just average. I also don't really hear or feel the spirituality aspect from them either.

    I do congratulate him on completing his cycle though and I really commend him for spending so much time and dedication in trying to bring these Baroque works to Japan for all these years. I hope many people come to know and love Bach through his recordings. He definitely deserves two thumbs up for all his effort.

    When it comes to my personal listening preferences though, I will stick with my Karl Richter 75 Cantatas Set and continue to fill in the gaps with Helmuth Rilling.
    Last edited by realdealblues; Nov-14-2013 at 21:50.

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    Senior Member quack's Avatar
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    He isn't my favourite either at the cantatas. It's interesting that I often hear the criticism that Gardiner is emotionless in the cantatas which isn't how they sound like me at all but Suzuki does sound a little less emotional. He is very clear and precise but not as gripping to me as other conductors. The cover of Suzuki's Mass in B minor is a cold white hallway and that is a little how it sounds, i'm also not so keen on the soloists. That said I do like the motet disc and his playing on the solo harpsichord works.

    FREE!! download sampler of the cantatas here, judge for yourself:
    http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/BIS/BIS9051
    The soft complaining flute in dying notes discovers the woes of hopeless lovers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by realdealblues View Post

    When it comes to my personal listening preferences though, I will stick with my Karl Richter 75 Cantatas Set and continue to fill in the gaps with Helmuth Rilling.
    As it happens Karl Richter's 75 Cantatas box has just been reissued at bargain price:

    http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/DG%2BArchiv/4808383

    These were my first introduction to Bach's vocal music, back in my teens, and I still love them dearly.

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