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Behind J.S. Bach stood Dietrich Buxtehude, the pre-eminent German composer of the seventeenth century and now unfairly neglected. In this recording The Bach Players reunite the two composers, featuring their settings of the text ‘Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme’ (Sleepers awake! The voice calls us). The text uses the parable, from Matthew’s gospel, of the wise and foolish virgins at the wedding feast. One of Buxtehude’s settings (BuxWV 100) is remarkable for its four violin parts, used as if they were trumpets. Also on the disc: Buxtehude’s glorious chaconne-form sacred concerto ‘Quemadmodum desiderat cervus’, for solo tenor voice and two violins, and a trio sonata for two violins, viola da gamba, and harpsichord. A sonata by Erlebach gives us the chance to hear the piccolo violin, which Bach deploys in his ‘Wachet auf’. As always in the Bach Players’ recordings, the sequence of pieces is imaginatively conceived and full of variety.
“The Bach Players, featuring many of London’s most experienced Baroque instrumentalists, are an eminently competent outfit, perfectly equipped to reach for the right tempo, expressive outline and stylistic gesture…soprano Rachel Elliott and alto Sally Bruce-Payne have a boyish tone which suits the music well…this is fine music in safe hands”
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