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Bach Collegium Japan “J.S. Bach: The Complete Choral Works” A culmination after 30 years of practice with Bach

Bach Collegium Japan “J.S. Bach: The Complete Choral Works” A culmination after 30 years of practice with Bach

A culmination after 30 years of practice with Bach

Bach is a very good composer to walk through life together. 

He had integrated the music of his age, leaving masterpieces of his own in all genres of music performed in Germany of early 18 century. Especially among those, vocal music composed for Lutheran is the core of Bach’s creation. Ever since he started working on his first cantata in his 20’s, he proceeded with composing music for religious services though his career. These compositions some of which culminated in those Passions had reached enormous numbers including his posthumous composition the Mass in B minor which was composed in the form of Mass and constituted by the diversion of cantatas.

BCJ©Hikaru Hoshi

Bach Collegium Japan (hereafter BCJ) is the ensemble cerebrating 30th anniversary of its foundation this year, which has been performing and researching vocal music of Bach’s. It is well known fact that BCJ was the first ensemble in Japan who accomplished the recording and the performance of complete cantatas of his. However not so many attentions have been paid to another fact that they spent 18 years accomplishing this project to record and perform scrupulously Bach’s creative footprints along the chronological order of each composition, and such is never practiced all around world. The roadmap of the project tells the history of BCJ. Its story opened up with the countertenor whose skill was veiled then. Yoshikazu Mera was the first one on their stage and followed by internationally known singers. The improvements both in the choir and solo instrumentalists has increasingly obtained the worldwide recognitions as the prominent ensemble of early music. This history of BCJ is reflection of that of Bach performance in the world. And it is also shared by the listeners of BCJ who has walked same roadmap all the way and seen their footprints of their life there. No other composers could bring a such immeasurable sense of accomplishment to both the ensemble and listeners, but only Bach could. I believe Bach is such a composer.

Masaaki Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan J.S. Bach: The Complete Choral Works KING INTERNATIONAL(2019)

Finally, their roadmap of 30 years is compiled in the Box Set titled as J.S. Bach: The Complete Choral Works. This compilation (including a DVD of St. John Passion) of Church Cantata Series, Secular Cantata Series, Lutheran Masses, Oratorios, 3 major religious works, Magnificato, and Motets offers a magnificent perspective of Bach’s vocal music. It is interesting that compilations partially include other composers’ works as important resources of Bach’s works such as Magnificato. Providing as many referential points enables listeners of 21 century to understand this kind of unfamiliar genre, and gives them clear map of Bach and his associates.

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