Showing posts from January, 2022

Pittsburgh the City of Bridges

My city of Pittsburgh has the distinction of having the most bridges which support cars of any city in the world! I'm talking about large sized bridges not tiny wood or stone small bridges over ponds and streams! All of our bridges are capable of handling cars. Other cities have small footbridges, small bridges over streams, canals or ponds,  but they can't support cars. To learn more click here !

Emma Kirkby

Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen by J.S. Bach BWV 51 The first time I heard this performance was in autumn of 1995 at the store Audio Options on Forbes Ave. in Squirrel Hill, a neighborhood of Pittsburgh, with my dear friend Bany. We used to frequently stop by there to see what CDs they had for purchase, to chat with the very friendly and knowledgeable proprietor Mark, and listen to his excellent component stereo system. Bany and I were students at Carnegie Mellon University. We'd make the long trek of about 1.5-2 miles up Forbes Ave. I was absolutely blown away by English soprano Dame Emma Kirkby's virtuosity and warmth in this recording! The freshness of her voice, united with her virtuoso flexibility, give great pleasure. She has the bright and clear tones of a boy soprano, yet with the technical and artistic  maturity of an adult. And the really amazing thing about her singing is that there is virtually no vibrato! Which I prefer. The work is Bach's sacred cantata Jauchz

Bach Magnifcat

Magnificat in E-flat Major BWV 243a Composed in Leipzig, 1728-1731. First performed in Leipzig on either July 2nd or Christmas Day - December 25th, 1723.  Note: This work is not to be confused with Bach's Magnificat in D Major (BWV 243) which is a revision of BWV 243a. This is my favorite performance of this piece! It features a stunning array of Baroque soloists such as David Thomas (bass), Paul Elliott (tenor), and the amazing and incomparable virtuoso soprano Dame Emma Kirkby when her voice was in its prime! The flashy, kaleidoscopic Magnificat remains one of Bach's most popular works. Simon Preston directs a performance full of energy and features a crisp and brilliant interpretation, using period instruments, and an all boys choir just as Bach would have used. This is a wonderful example of the very best of historically informed performance (HIP) practice. The crackerjack choir and orchestra sail through the trickiest passages at high speed without sounding at all rushe

More on Bach's Mass in B Minor

I just posted recently about Bach's Mass in B Minor (BWV 232), but I had to post again after discovering my favorite recording of this work on YouTube! Here is a recording by the Taverner Consort and Players directed by Andrew Parrott in which  historically informed performance (HIP) practices are used. The alto parts are sung by boys, and the choir is all boys, no girls, just as Bach would have used when this piece was written. Also the tempi are markedly faster than those used in most performances in the 19th and 20th centuries. Also Baroque original instruments, or reproduction copies are used instead of modern instruments. This makes for a fresh and lively performance. And the vocal lines are beautifully clear and distinct and more readily convey Bach's counterpoint and harmonies. This recording features my all time favorite soprano of Early music and Baroque music the incomparable Dame Emma Kirkby. David Thomas is also outstanding as bass, and one of my favorite bass singe

Bach Mass in B Minor

Mass in B minor ( Messe in h-Moll) BWV 232 Bach composed this work in Leipzig, 1747-1749; It was mostly assembled from previous materials from 1724 onwards. Netherlands Bach Society - Jos van Veldhoven, conductor Hana Blažíková, soprano 1 Anna Reinhold, soprano 2 David Erler, alto Thomas Hobbs, tenor Peter Harvey, bass This performance was recorded December 15th 2016 at the Grote Kerk, Naarden, Netherlands.   This choral masterpiece is the last major work Bach wrote. It was finished in 1749, just one year before Bach's death. It was likely not performed in its entirety during Bach's lifetime  It is the only total mass (missa tota) Bach ever composed! In Bach's day, Masses composed for Lutheran services usually consisted only of a Kyrie and Gloria. It's for a Lutheran service/mass, but it will be very familiar to Roman Catholics who attend the Latin Mass. I think Bach was showing his admiration for Renaissance composers of the mass such as Palestrina, and Bach advance