Bach - Magnificats
Conductor - Cohen, Jonathan Ensemble - Arcangelo
1) Magnificat for 4 voices, chorus, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 3 trumpets, 2 horns, strings & continuo in D minor, H. 772, Wq. 215, 2) Magnificat, for 4 solo voices, chorus & orchestra in C major, CW E22 (T. 207/3) 3) Magnificat, for 5 voices, 5-part chorus, orchestra & continuo in D major, BWV 243 (BC E14)
Three Bach Magnificats, three generations, three different aesthetic outlooks. The intricately wrought High Baroque idiom of J S Bach’s famous work was already outmoded by 1749, when his second son Carl Philipp Emanuel composed a Magnificat in which vestiges of the Baroque rub shoulders with the North German empfindsamer Stil (literally, ‘sensitive style’). The brief final stile antico fugue apart, the Magnificat of Emanuel’s younger half-brother Johann Christian breathes the language of Italianate galanterie, where the boundaries between sacred and profane are often blurred. Call it sibling rivalry, but Emanuel once reportedly complained that Johann Christian’s music ‘fills the ear but leaves the heart empty’: an unfair jibe, but understandable from a composer out of sympathy with the prevailing worldly galant style, whose credo was that music should not merely entertain but ‘touch the heart’ and ‘awaken the passions’.