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Jos van Veldhoven
Photo courtesy of Netherlands Bach Society



By Joel Kasow

NEW YORK, 9 APRIL 2007— The Netherlands Bach Society has undergone several metamorphoses in its more than 80 years of existence, from a large-scale group giving performances of Bach’s choral masterpieces that would make today’s purists shudder to its conversion to applying what is today understood as a "correct" musicological approach. A recent recording of the St. John Passion and a new recording of the B-Minor Mass use small instrumental and vocal forces, maximum three to a part and usually fewer. For those of us growing up in an earlier age where the approach tended to the monumental, it is sometimes difficult to accept this small-scale approach, but on its own terms it is clear that Jos van Veldhoven’s long acquaintance with the music pays off. Singers and instrumentalists are devoted to the cause, and their American appearances this spring should bring a welcome breath of air. But there is nonetheless a nagging demon in my subconscious that suggests that this is certainly a far more economical approach to performing these masterpieces, just as the current enthusiasm for the double-piano version of Brahms’ German Requiem or the chamber orchestra version of Mahler’s Lied von der Erde .

18  April at 8 pm        New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art 
19  April at 8 pm        Ann Arbor, Michigan    St. Francis of Assisi Church   
21  April at 8 pm        Berkely, California, First Congregational Church 
22  April at 8 pm        Seattle, Washington, Town Hall   
24  April at 8 pm        Richmond, Virginia, Modlin Center for the Arts

The spring tour of the United States coincides with the release tomorrow of the B-Minor Mass, the third installment in The Netherlands Bach Society's series of recordings of sacred works by J.S. Bach for Channel Classics.  Like the two previous releases in this series, Bach's Christmas Oratorio and his St. John Passion, the new production of the B-Minor Mass has been realized in collaboration with the Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht , one of the great repositories of Christian art.


J. S. Bach: B Minor Mass BWV 232 
Dorothee Mields, Johanette Zomer, Matthew White, Charles Daniels, Peter Harvey
Netherlands Bach Society
Jos Van Veldhoven, conductor
Channel Classics 2007
CCS 25007 SACD/hybrid pcm, stereo, multichannel


J. S. Bach: St. John Passion, BWV 245
Caroline Stam, Peter de Groot, Gerd Türk, Charles Daniels, Stephan MacLeod, Bas Ramselaar
Netherlands Bach Society
Jos Van Veldhoven, conductor
Channel Classics 2005
CCS 22005 SACD/hybrid pcm, stereo, multichannel


Joel Kasow is a senior editor at Culturekiosque.com

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