The Bach Players

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Six recordings are now available: Bach arranging and arranged, Every one a chaconne, Nun komm!, Italy versus France, Pachelbel and Bach, and Bach’s library.

Two further CDs are in preparation, based on the music played in concerts last year and this year.

The CDs can be bought online for £12.50, or £18.50 for the double CD, directly from us at Hyphen Press Music.

They are distributed to the trade by New Arts International.

In North America, our CDs are available (as physical copies) from CD Baby.

They are also available as digital downloads from CD Baby.

Nicolette Moonen talks about the background to the first recording here: Bach arranging and arranged: an interview.

To be published in early 2014

An Italian in Paris (HPM 007)

An Italian in Paris

This rich banquet of private music composed for Louis XIV ranges from pieces in the formal ‘French’ style of Lully, and on to experiments with the more emotional Italian style. The disc concludes with what has been claimed as the first French sonata, an extraordinary work composed by Charpentier for eight instruments. For more details go here.

Bach’s library (HPM 006)

Bach’s library

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This is a selection of pieces that J.S. Bach had in his library and which provide a context for his celebrated Orchestral Suite in B minor. Some of these works J.S. Bach copied in his own hand (Dieupart, Johann Bernhard Bach, and Steffani), and one exists in his brother Christoph’s hand (Alcide by Marais, in arrangement for harpsichord). The Bach Players provide a perfect entertainment and throw light on the importance of the French style to J.S. Bach and his German contemporaries.

Listen to these extracts:

Ouverture from Charles Dieupart’s Suite no. 6 in F minor

Air, from Marin Marais’s Symphonies de l’opéra d’Alcide

Pachelbel and Bach: canons and cantatas (HPM 005)

Pachelbel and Bach: canons and cantatas

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This is a double CD. Each disc presents cantatas set by both Pachelbel and Bach: ‘Christ lag in Todesbanden’ and ‘Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan’. In the first case the older composer’s influence on Bach’s writing is very clear; in the second, we hear the mature Bach. Also on the discs: Pachelbel’s beautiful Canon and two of his sacred concertos; J.S. Bach’s stirring cantata for solo alto voice ‘Widerstehe doch der Sünde’, and an arangement of the lesser-known canons from the Goldberg Variations.

Listen to these extracts:

Sinfonia & Versus 1 from Johann Pachelbel’s Cantata ‘Christ lag in Todesbanden’

Versus 2, soprano–alto aria, from J.S. Bach’s Cantata ‘Christ lag in Todesbanden’, BWV 4

Italy versus France (HPM 004)

Italy versus France

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Italian or French? Jean Baptiste Lully and Arcangelo Corelli were the champions of these two musical styles – and the main subjects of the many attempts to establish which style was better. Or could the two styles be united? This programme paints a musical picture of the seventeenth century in Europe, through the music of Corelli, Lully, and their contemporaries. Chief among the reconcilers was the organist and composer Georg Muffat. German but of Scottish ancestry, it was he who introduced both styles to Germany. Also included are Rebel’s homage to Lully and Couperin’s to Corelli.

Listen to these sample tracks:

From Corelli’s trio sonata, op. 2, no. 12

The borea from Georg Muffat’s Armonico tributo sontata II in G minor

Nun komm! French overtures by German composers (HPM 003)

Nun komm!

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We explore the form of the French overture in two cantatas by J.S. Bach: the thrilling Advent cantata ‘Nun komm der Heiden Heiland’ (BWV 61), from his Weimar years, and ‘In allen meinen Taten’ (BWV 97) from his later years in Leipzig. We play a dance suite by Philipp Heinrich Erlebach, opening with another French overture. To complete the disc, Heinrich Isaac’s beautiful ‘Innsbruck ich muß dich lassen’, which provides the choral melody for cantata 97, is sung a capella, and is played in two instrumental settings.

Listen to these sample tracks:

Aria ‘Öffne dich, mein ganzes Herze’ (from J.S. Bach’s Cantata ‘Nun komm der Heiden Heiland’, BWV 61)

The chaconne from Philipp Heinrich Erlebach’s Ouverture VI

Every one a chaconne (HPM 002)

Every one a chaconne

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We centre this programme on the chaconne: you will hear how Henry Purcell and J.S. Bach join hands in this much-loved dance form of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Of the few works of Philipp Heinrich Erlebach that survive, we perform a suite that concludes with a chaconne. The two Bach cantatas are contrasting: BWV 150 is said to be Bach’s earliest surviving cantata, BWV 78 was composed in Leipzig at the height of his career.

Listen to these sample tracks:

Ciaccona ‘Meine Tage in dem Leide’ (from J.S. Bach’s Cantata ‘Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich’, BWV 150)

Part of the chaconne from Philipp Heinrich Erlebach’s Ouverture V

Bach arranging and arranged (HPM 001)

Bach arranging and arranged

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What happens when great composers arrange each other’s works? J.S. Bach gave Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater a new text – ‘Tilge Höchster, meine Sünden’ – and a new viola part, making a fresh piece (BWV 1083) that speaks both of Germany and Italy. Our performance features singers Rachel Elliott and Sally Bruce-Payne.
Mozart gave string players the pleasure of playing fugues from the Well-tempered Clavier II – fresh arrangements by The Bach Players complete the set of all the four-part fugues from this work.

Listen to these sample tracks:

Fugue no.3 in E major (from the Well-tempered Clavier II [BWV 878], arranged by W.A. Mozart)

‘Missetaten, die mich drücken’ (from J.S. Bach’s ‘Tilge Höchster, meine Sünden’ [BWV 1083] arranged from G.B. Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater)

Images

Martin Argyrgolo took photographs at the recording sessions for Bach arranging and arranged, some of which are reproduced in the CD booklet. The pictures here are among those we couldn’t fit into the booklet.

HPM01 session

Sally Bruce-Payne and Rachel Elliott

HPM01 session

Pawel Siwczak, Elizabeth Bradley, Alison McGillivray

HPM01 session

Producer Roy Mowatt with the quartet

HPM01 session

Listening back to a take