‘Bach and before’ reviewed in Early Music

Medium hpm012 cover

Kevin Sutton reviewed our CD ‘Bach and before’ for Early Music

Leipzig’s Thomaskirche had had a long history of illustrious music directors (called Kantoren, or cantors) before Bach took the reins in 1723. Bach and before by the Bach Players surveys about a century and a quarter’s worth of music from four prominent composers, including ‘Old Bach’ himself. Johann Hermann Schein is represented by a serene cantata on the hymn tune Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, and by a sample from his extensive set of dance suites, the Banchetto musicale. Cantatas each by Johann Schelle, Johann Kuhnau (there seemed to be a Johann pattern in the personnel office) and J.S. Bach round out an even-tempered concert of works, exquisitely performed. One cannot help but appreciate the refined elegance of these works, where in spite of some rather emotional texts, the range and scope of expression is kept neatly in control. This is a sweetly soothing hour of music.

Early Music, vol. 46, no. 4, 2018