Philippe Pierlot and the Ricercar Consort's 2006 recording of Bach's Magnificat brings back the glory days of historically informed performances, those halcyon days in the 1980s when musicians, empowered by scholarship and energized by virtuosity, were recording the Baroque repertoire with the zeal of the newly converted. Though Pierlot and his musicians are of a younger generation, they bring a missionary fervor to the music, a program of Bach's Magnificat, BWV 243, and Missa Brevis, BWV 235, interspersed with two well-chosen organ works, the Fuga sopra il Magnificat, BWV 733, and the Präludium und Fuga, BWV 541. Pierlot's textures are clean, his rhythms buoyant, his colors bright, and tempos brisk, but not rushed in the fast movements, and contemplative but not moribund in the slow movements. The Ricercar Consort plays with technical brilliance and manifest enthusiasm as an ensemble, and the violin and flute soloists deliver sparkling performances. But perhaps the best thing is the five vocal soloists and given that they also serve as the choir, their performances are even more remarkable. With clarion tones, gracious technique, and an effortless blend, they comport themselves with the ease and luster of the best jazz vocal groups, and the spirit they bring to their parts is infectious. Francis Jacob delivers forceful yet effervescent readings of the two organ works. Mirare's digital sound is as clear and as real as a blue sky.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Magnificat, BWV 243|
|Missa, BWV 235|