Masaaki Suzuki / Bach Collegium Japan / Masato Suzuki

Verbum Caro Factum Est: A Christmas Greeting

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Japan is between 1 and 2 percent Christian, but conductor Masaaki Suzuki is among that group. This Christmas release has a personal flavor, especially coming as it does on the heels of the completion of his monumental cycle of Bach cantatas with his Bach Collegium Japan. The selections are pieces that have been performed at a series of Bach Collegium Japan Christmas concerts at Tokyo's Suntory Hall, and they are an intriguing combination of standards and almost unknown music, mostly from the Renaissance and Baroque eras. The standards are arranged by Suzuki's son Masato Suzuki, who also plays the seven 18th century, French organ Noëls by Louis-Claude Daquin interspersed among the vocal pieces; these too are unusual. The arrangements of the likes of Silent Night and Hark! the herald angels sing stretch them slightly harmonically; they are distinctive but restrained. Some things haven't changed: the choir sounds as precise as ever, and the elder Suzuki's ability to drill singers to the point of good pronunciation, even in English (notoriously difficult for Japanese speakers), is undiminished. For those intrigued by the slightly mysterious quality of the whole Bach project, this may only deepen the mystery, but that's all to the good. An offbeat and recommended Christmas release.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:01
Nouveau livre de Noëls pour l'orgue et le clavecin
2 3:45
3 3:20
Nouveau livre de Noëls pour l'orgue et le clavecin
4 4:17
5 2:32
Nouveau livre de Noëls pour l'orgue et le clavecin
6 6:13
7 3:19
8 1:36
9 4:01
10 4:42
11 2:28
Three Carols
12 3:58
Nouveau livre de Noëls pour l'orgue et le clavecin
13 4:54
14 3:59
15 2:53
Nouveau livre de Noëls pour l'orgue et le clavecin
16 5:14
17 4:10
Nouveau livre de Noëls pour l'orgue et le clavecin
18 4:01
19 1:46
blue highlight denotes track pick