Jordi Savall / Le Concert des Nations / Hespèrion XX

Bach's Testament

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AllMusic Review by James Leonard

When it was released in 1986, the austere expressivity, severe spirituality, and intense humanity of Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XX's performance of Bach's Die Kunst der Fuge instantly put it at the summit of Baroque chamber music recordings. It stood there alone for 14 years until Savall and Le Concert des Nations' performance of Bach's Das Musikalisches Opfer was released in 2000. With the warm-toned Marc Hantaï on flute, the brightly adroit Pierre Hantaï on harpsichord, the searingly intense Manfredo Kraemer, and Pablo Valetti on violin, the always reliable Lorenz Duftschmid on violone, and the consummately soulful Savall himself on viola da gamba, Le Concert des Nations' Das Musikalisches Opfer was elegantly expressive, wittily spiritual, and joyfully human. This 2003 Alia Vox set includes both Savall's 1986 Die Kunst der Fuge and his 2000 Das Musikalisches Opfer and, now together, they occupy the peak of Baroque chamber music recordings. There have been other great performances of both works -- the aesthetically rarefied Gustav Leonhardt, the mathematically analyzed Charles Rosen, or the thoroughly scrutinized Juilliard Quartet in Die Kunst der Fuge and the brilliantly subtle Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the intellectually virtuosic Musica Antiqua Köln, or the lyrically euphonious Kuijken, Kohnen, and Leonhardt in Das Musikalisches Opfer -- but Savall's affectingly expressive, sublimely spiritual, and deeply human performances are, taken together, surely at the pinnacle of Baroque chamber music recordings. Alia Vox's sound, whether remastered from 1986 or rereleased straight from 2000, is rich, honest, and true.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Musical Offering (Musikalisches Opfer), for keyboard and chamber instruments, BWV 1079
1 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 00:30 Amazon
2 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 06:25 Amazon
3 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 02:28 Amazon
4 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 01:55 Amazon
5 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 01:34 Amazon
6 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 02:06 Amazon
7 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 02:36 Amazon
8 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 08:48 Amazon
9 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 06:30 Amazon
10 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 05:30 Amazon
11 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 03:20 Amazon
12 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 02:53 Amazon
13 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 01:41 Amazon
14 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 01:08 Amazon
15 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 03:30 Amazon
16 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 02:20 Amazon
17 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 03:07 Amazon
18 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 03:28 Amazon
19 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 04:41 Amazon
20 Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall / Hespèrion XX 07:15 Amazon
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