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This disc is the first volume of The Sixteen’s recordings of J. S. Bach’s five Lutheran Masses, in which the Kyrie and Gloria are set polyphonically. BWV 235 and BWV 233 both draw on pre-existing material from the cantatas, one of which, BWV 102, is included on the CD; its first movement is nearly identical to the Kyrie of the Mass in G minor, BWV 235. The Sixteen is in fact an eight for this recording, and Harry Christophers’ decision to reduce his forces rewards the listener with lightness, precision and an essentially perfect blend. The orchestra are excellent, and the solos are shared equally among the voices of the choir. Perhaps it was necessary to sacrifice weight of sound for agility – the calm of the coloratura is remarkable. One occasionally wishes for a greater decisiveness of attack, but overall this is a fine disc and highly recommended.

Nicholas Bown Read the full review on Agora Classica


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