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Label : Teldec
Format : Ape
Cover : Yes

Teldec’s COMPLETE BACH Edition, 153 CDs in 12 volumes comprising Bach’s complete works performed by world-renowned Bach interpreters on period instruments, constitutes one of the most ambitious projects in recording history. Newly reissued at a dramatically lower price, this box includes a bonus DVD documentary on Bach from the BBC’s Great Composers series.

COMPLETE BACH represents the culmination of a process that began over five decades ago, in 1958, with the creation of the DAS ALTE WERK label. After initially triggering an impassioned controversy, Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s belief that “Early music is a foreign language which must be learned by musicians and listeners alike” has found widespread acceptance. He and his colleagues searched for original instruments to throw new light on composers and their works and significantly influenced the history of music interpretation in the second half of this century. Their ideas have been shared by many fellow musicians, among them Ton Koopman, Il Giardino Armonico, Luca Pianca and Andreas Staier, all of whose performances appear in the COMPLETE BACH Edition. As an entirety, COMPLETE BACH offers listeners the chance to rediscover the astonishing developments in Bach interpretation of the last forty years and the tonal beauties of Bach’s works performed on period instruments.

Without Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s and Gustav Leonhardt’s groundbreaking accounts of the cantatas, a complete Bach edition would have been inconceivable. But with the recording of Bach’s Complete Sacred Cantatas as inspiration, not to mention Harnoncourt’s 1970 St. Matthew Passion and Gustav Leonhardt’s legendary 1965 account of the Goldberg Variations, the early 1990’s found Teldec in an extraordinary position: able to embark on the artistic, financial and logistical adventure to record and license recordings of the remainder of Bach’s oeuvre and present a complete edition in time for the 250th anniversary of his death.

From Schleicht, spielende Wellen, BWV 206, recorded by the Monteverdi Choir Hamburg, Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra, Jürgen Jürgens and André Rieu in 1963 to the Trio in A major, BWV 1025 with Werner Ehrhardt and Gerald Hambitzer recorded in April 1999, COMPLETE BACH chronicles nearly four decades of Bach performance on period instruments. By 1995, the year in which the project COMPLETE BACH was conceived, Teldec had already committed approximately two thirds of Bach’s oeuvre to disc. Subsequently the company produced approximately twenty new recordings specifically for the COMPLETE BACH Complete Edition. Many of these new recordings were of works never before available on disc, including chorales, as well as works for organ and works for harpsichord.

The Cello Suites were recorded by Nikolaus Harnoncourt in 1965 and appear in the COMPLETE BACH Edition for the first time on CD. The edition includes Bach’s solo violin works performed by Thomas Zehetmair and the violin sonatas performed by Alice Harnoncourt (violin), Nikolaus Harnoncourt (viola da gamba) and Herbert Tachezi (harpsichord).

Of the orchestral repertoire, the Brandenburg Concerti are represented by the highly acclaimed Il Giardino Armonico recordings released in 1997. The orchestral suites are performed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the harpsichord concerti by Gustav Leonhardt.

Also included in COMPLETE BACH are Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s 1970 legendary recording of the St Matthew Passion with Concentus musicus Wien and the Arnold Schoenberg Chor as well as his 1995 recording of the St John Passion with the same forces.

Trackist : Bach 2000

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