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Concerto Copenhagen


Johann Sebastian Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232

As is customary for an orchestra like Concerto Copenhagen, this recording is made with copies of Bach-era instruments, with an orchestra size similar to his and with the lower chamber tone of the time. Perhaps more controversial is the use of solo voices, including in the choral movements. The background to this is a series of highly debated theories first put forward in November 1981 by American conductor and musicologist Joshua Rifkin, who believes that the majority of Bach's vocal music is intended for solo voices.

Concerto Copenhagen's Artistic Director, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, calls the approach "a new way of thinking that is slowly but surely changing our entire view of Bach's sound world, and which in my opinion is one of the most important performance practice realizations of our time!" He continues: "Compared to more traditional and larger ensembles, the ratio between the number of singers and musicians changes completely, which inevitably makes the music much lighter and more transparent. The course of the vocal parts is 'individualized' - and precisely the contrast between the 'individual' and the 'group' is an extremely important architectural aspect of all Bach's vocal music; it becomes possible and necessary to clarify a great many details that would otherwise be lost."

Gramaphone Editor's Choice, March 2016
Gramophone Awards 2016,
Shortlisted - Baroque Vocal
"The individual components are routinely marvelous, but Concerto Copenhagen produce something much more than the sum of its parts: one of the most profoundly captivating interpretations to have emerged recently." (David Vickers, Gramophone, October 2016)

BBC Radio 3's "Building a Library" recommendation - First choice

♥♥♥♥♥♥ "Concerto Copenhagen's version of Bach's great mass in B minor holds the listener firmly with fantastic contrasts and gripping soloists." (Henrik Friis, Politiken, 06.10.2016

∗∗∗∗∗ "The sound world of Bach's last great Mass has changed radically in recent decades; one-to-a-part performance practice is, as conductor Lars Ulrik Mortensen puts it, "changing our entire notion of Bach's acoustic universe". This bold claim is amply proven in an account of dazzling transparency, dance-like rhythms and utter clarity" (Nicholas Kenyon, The Observer 08.05 2016)

Soprano: Maria Keohane, Joanne Lunn
Alto: Alex Potter
Tenor: Jan Kobow
Bass: Peter Harvey
Soprano: Else Torp, Hanna Kappelin
Alt: Valdemar Villadsen
Tenor: Chris Watson
Bass: Jakob Bloch Jespersen

Concerto Copenhagen:
Flute: Katy Bircher, Irene Spranger
Oboe: Antoine Torunczyk, Lars Henriksson, Niels Johánsson
Bassoon: Jane Gower, György Farkas
Trumpet: Robert Farley, Christopher Pigram, Howard Rowntree
Horn: Ursula Paludan Monberg
Timpani: Patrik Raab
Violin I: Fredrik From, Peter Spissky, Jesenka Balic Zunic, Stefanie Barner-Madsen
Violin II: Antina Hugosson, Gabriel Bania, Elisabeth Enebjörn, Kanerva Juutilainen
Viola: Torbjörn Köhl, Rastko Roknic
Cello: Judith-Maria Blomsterberg, Kate Hearne
Double bass: Mattias Frostenson
Organ: Leif Meyer (chorales)
Organ and musical direction: Lars Ulrik Mortensen

The album was released in 2016