Johann Sebastian Bach: The Art of Fugue
Balint Karosi plays on organ and harpsichord
Hungaroton publishes Balint Karosi’s latest recording, Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Art of Fugue. Recorded at The First Lutheran Church of Boston, the CD features the church’s renowned Richards, Fowkes & Co. Opus 10 pipe organ, as well as two outstanding harpsichords. The instruments resonate beautifully in the warm acoustic of First Lutheran Church.
Johann Sebastian Bach: Clavierübung III: The Chorales
Canto Armonico: Ulf Wellner, Cheryl Ryder, directors
Now available from Hungaroton and iTunes, a new recording of Bach’s monumental Clavierübung III by Balint Karosi, with Canto Armonico performing the chorales that provide the basis for Bach’s organ settings.
In this recording Canto Armonico is directed by Cheryl Ryder, artistic director and manager of Canto Armonico, and Ulf Wellner, former Kantor at Lübeck’s Jakobikirche and now Kantor at the Martinikirche in Minden, Germany. Professor Markus Rathey of Yale University has written the liner notes.
Most current recordings of the Clavierübung III feature the organ chorale versions only, but this new recording immerses the listener in the 17th-century world of the young Bach and fellow composers, and demonstrates how central the sung chorale was to these German composers’ lives. They would have known not only the simple versions of the chorales from church hymnals, but also many of the polyphonic settings published and sung by boys in the Latin school curriculum. Canto Armonico records a sampling of these polyphonic chorale settings alongside their simpler counterparts, as follows:
- Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit: chant from the Leipziger Gesangbuch, polyphonic setting by Heinrich Schütz
- Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr: chorale from Scheidt’s Görlitz Tabulaturbuch, polyphonic setting by Michael Praetorius
- Dies sind den heiligen zehn Gebot: chorale from Schein’s Cantional, duet for basses by Michael Praetorius
- Wir glauben all in einen Gott: chorale by Michael Praetorius, polyphonic setting by Samuel Scheidt
- Vater unser in Himmelreich: chorale from Schein’s Cantional, double chorus setting by Samuel Scheidt
- Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam: chorale from Schein’s Cantional, duet for tenors by Michael Praetorius
- Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu Dir: chorale from Schein’s Cantional, accompanied duet for sopranos by Johann Hermann Schein
- Jesus Christus, unser Heiland: chorale from Schein’s Cantional, double chorus setting by Michael Praetorius
The settings by Praetorius for two tenors and two basses, in particular, merit special attention as they demonstrate how adept the composer was at writing music for whatever forces were at his disposal. The chorales were recorded in September and October under the direction of Dr. Ulf Wellner, a specialist in the music of Michael Praetorius, who directed Canto Armonico’s June 2013 performance of the St. John the Baptist Vespers service during Boston’s Early Music Festival.
Bach In the Back Bay
Bach In the Back Bay is First Lutheran’s commercially released CD recording featuring Balint Karosi on the Richards, Fowkes & Co. instrument. The CD is available on CD Baby, iTunes, and Dulzian Records, and may be ordered from the church directly.
Listen to an excerpt on WGBH: Bach in the Back Bay on WGBH Bach Hour
Read a review in the Diapason: Bach in the Back Bay CD Review