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Retrospect Ensemble / Bach, Johann Sebastian. Easter And Ascension Oratorios
Album:Bach, Johann Sebastian. Easter And Ascension Oratorios Collection:Classical
Artist:Retrospect Ensemble Added:05/2011
Label:Linn Records 

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Album Review
Larry Koran
Reviewed 2011-05-31 
Retrospect Ensemble / Bach JS – Easter & Ascension Oratorios
Linn Records

Larry K.
Reviewed: 2011-05-28

RETROSPECT ENSEMBLE: Johann Sebastian Bach, Easter & Ascension Oratorios
Linn Records, 2011

The Easter Oratorio and the Ascension Oratorio tell stories through four characters: Mary Mother of James, Mary Magdalene, Peter and John. The stories celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter. Bach's oratorios were employed to celebrate the central Lutheran religious festivals in Leipzig's chief churches during 1734-5. The Easter Oratorio comprises a two-movement instrumental Sinfonia, followed by alternating choruses, recitatives and arias. It lacks an evangelist figure, biblical passages, or chorales. Instead it utilizes an entirely poetic text organized in rhyming verse, and delivered by the four characters. The Ascension Oratorio was probably performed on the 19th of May 1735. In contrast with the Easter Oratorio, biblical passages (Luke 24: 50-2 Mark 16: 19 and Acts 1: 9-12) delivered by the tenor Evangelist create a narrative sequence. Original poetic verses are presented as choruses, accompanied recitative and arias, and two chorales take prominent positions as the central and final movements of the work. The liner notes explain how Bach used musical rhetorical devices to express the emotional content of the events in these recitations.

Easter Oratorio, BWV. 249
1. Sinfonia (3:52). Upbeat, strings, horns
2. Adagio (3:39). Aching melody. Oboe and strings
3. Chorus and Duetto (4:41). Return to opening Sinfonia, with chorus
4. Recitative (0:52). Soprano, Tenor, tenderly beseeching
5. Aria (10:49). Flute, soprano, slow, sad narrative
6. Recitative (0:37). Tenor, Bass, Alto, narrative
7. Aria (7:15). Organ, calm songful
8. Recitative (0:51). Soprano, alto
9. Aria (5:40). Alto, quick, looking forward
10. Recitative (0:33) Bass, exclamatory
11. Chorus (2:27) with horns, drums, upbeat, march-like

Ascension Oratorio, BWV. 11
12. Chorus (4:31) with horns, strings, upbeat, dance-like, praising
13. Evangelist (4:31). Tenor. Sadly narrating
14. Recitative (1:07). Bass, sadly narrating
15. Aria (8:12). Alto. Slow, sad. Stay my dearest life
16. Evangelist (0:28). And while they beheld, he was taken up
17. Chorus (1:15). The angels must come. Major, upward path
18. Evangelist (0:56) Two men came and said, why stand ye
19. Recitative (0:34). Ah yes! So come back soon again. Sad
20. Evangelist (0:39). And they worshipped him. Enlightened.
21. Aria (6:56). Soprano floats. Jesus I can see your mercy
22. Chorus (4:01). Brass flourishes, major, 6/8 pace rise to glory

Track Listing
1.Easter Oratorio, Bwv. 249 Sinfonia (3:52) 12.Ascension Oratorio, Bwv. 11, Chorus - Lobet Gott . . (4:30)
2.Adagio (3:39) 13.Evangelist - Der Herr Jesus Hub Seine Hande Auf (0:26)
3.Chorus & Duetto, Kommt - Eilet Und Laufet (4:41) 14.Recitativo -Ach, Jesu, Is Dein Abschied Schon So Nah? (1:07)
4.Recitativo - O Kalter Manner Sinn (0:52) 15.Aria - Ach, Bleibe Doch, Nein Liebstes Leben (8:12)
5.Aria - Seele, Deine Spezereien (10:49) 16.Evangelist - Und Ward Aufgebehoben Zusehends (0:27)
6.Recitativo - Hier Ist Die Gruft (0:37) 17.Chorale - Nun Lieget Alles Unter Dir (1:15)
7.Aria - Sanfte Soll Mein Todeskummer (7:15) 18.Evangelist - Und Da Sie Ihm Nachsahen Gen . . . (0:55)
8.Recitativo - Indessen Seufzen Wir (0:50) 19.Recitativo - Ach Ja! So Komme Bald Zuruck (0:33)
9.Aria - Saget, Saget Mir Geshwinde (5:40) 20.Evangelist - Sie Aber Beteten Ihn An (0:38)
10.Recitativo - Wir Sind Erfreuet (0:33) 21.Aria - Jesu, Deine Gnadenblicke (6:56)
11.Chorus - Preis Und Dank (2:16) 22.Chorale - Wenn Soll Es Doch Geschehen (4:01)
 23.Total Time 70:26