The release of this album is part of the 60th anniversary celebration for the Munich Bach Choir and Munich Bach Orchestra, whose 1950s and 1960s recordings under longtime conductor Karl Richter exposed a great many listeners to Baroque repertory. The years and conductorship of Hansjörg Albrecht haven't substantially changed the group's sound, and what was once cutting-edge is now downright conservative in style, with the 76 choristers making up one of the largest Bach choirs on the contemporary scene. Paired with the crisp, historically oriented style of the Munich Bach Orchestra, they still have the virtues that have made them famous: the superb ensemble that sculpts out clean lines even in dense polyphony; the gradual, sober build that for so many hearers represented the quintessential Bach sound; and the heft that incorporates the trumpets in a big piece like the Magnificat in D major, BWV 243, into the overall sound. That is a very familiar work, and so is the "Jesu, joy of man's desiring" chorus from the Cantata No. 147, "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben," BWV 147, but the rest of that work is not heard so often, and it makes a very good pairing with the Magnificat. The entire program makes a rich, festive impression that's ideally suited to the occasion, and that may remind listeners that what's out of fashion at one time may well come around once more.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, Kantate, BWV 147|
|Magnificat D-Dur, BWV 243|