Jordi Savall / Le Concert des Nations / Hespèrion XX

Bach's Testament

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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
The Musical Offering (Musikalisches Opfer), for keyboard and chamber instruments, BWV 1079
1 00:30
2 06:25
3 02:28
4 01:55
5 01:34
6 02:06
7 02:36
8 08:48
9 06:30
10 05:30
11 03:20
12 02:53
13 01:41
14 01:08
15 03:30
16 02:20
17 03:07
18 03:28
19 04:41
20 07:15
blue highlight denotes track pick