About the album
"During Bach’s lifetime there were four different performances, each time with new modifications, some in response to the circumstances at the time, others influenced by which musicians and instruments he then had at his disposal. However Bach experimented to the greatest degree with the second version, dating from 1725: for instance, he used a different opening chorus (which was later to become the closing chorus of the first part of the St Matthew Passion, a work yet to be composed at this stage) and a couple of other arias near the end of the work. For the later performances he reverted to his first version from 1724, albeit with some differences in instrumentation. For instance, in the final version he includes a bassono grosso, but no one knows for certain which instrument he had in mind; possibly a 16-foot bassoon, i.e. a contrabassoon, a veritable chimney pot two metres in length. However, he scored this instrument in combination with the delicate sound of the lute and two violas d’amore, of all things! I cannot believe that Bach would opt for such an instrument in this passage; an 8-foot bassoon is more likely and the term bassono grosso probably indicates this more modern type of instrument rather than the earlier dulcian, although the latter had not totally fallen out of fashion at the time. However, I would not venture a definite opinion as to what bassono grosso means in this context. So we did not use this instrument: this was yet another reason to stick with the first version, since it raises fewer uncertain issues. Nevertheless, there are still various grey areas involved. Even prior to the first performance, before making the individual orchestral parts, Bach began to write out the score in fine calligraphy, a task he did not complete; and this score deviates in some aspects from the orchestral material used in the actual performance. The process of determining the most probable historical truth continues to have elements reminiscent of a detective novel; anyway, it will never be possible to clarify certain details." - Sigiswald Kuijken
De Johannespassion in een ander jasje
Deze uitvoering van Johann Sebastian Bachs Johannespassion is gemaakt door het Vlaamse ensemble La Petite Bande en zijn artistiek leidinggevende Sigiswald Kuijken. Het is uitgevoerd door een klein aantal zangeres en instrumentalisten, eenstemmig uitgevoerd door een koor.
La Petite Bande - samengesteld uit internationaal erkende specialisten in oude muziek - werd door Kuijken opgericht in 1972 in opdracht van het muzieklabel Harmonia Mundi om Lully's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme onder leiding van de, in 2012 overleden grootheid in de oude muziek, Gustav Leonhardt op te nemen. Het succes van de opname van Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme maakte dat er regelmatig concerten werden gegeven. Hoewel La Petite Bande oorspronkelijk bedoeld was als een tijdelijk gezelschap, is het repertoire door de jaren heen uitgebreid en omvat het nu ook muziek van Italiaanse componisten en bijvoorbeeld Bach, Händel, Gluck, Haydn, Mozart.
De Johannespassion is gedurende Bachs leven op 4 verschillende manieren uitgevoerd. Deze uitvoeringen werden beïnvloed door politieke omstandigheden of de musici en instrumenten die op dat moment voor Bach beschikbaar waren. Sigiswald Kuijken, dirigent en specialist op het gebied van oude muziek, koos na uitgebreid onderzoek voor de 1e versie van Bach's Johannespassion.
Solistische Besetzung mit La Petite Bande
In dieser Aufnahme übernimmt der solistisch besetzte Chor ebenfalls die großen und kleinen Solisten-Partien, wie meist bei La Petite Bande unter Sigiswald Kuijken. Dadurch entsteht ein faszinierend transparenter, direkter und purer Klang und extrem schlichter aber intensiver Ausdruck, der seinesgleichen sucht.
Pressezitate zu CC72316 Bach: H-Moll-Messe – La Petite Bande:
„Eine Einspielung, die Geschichte machen wird.“ Michael Wersin, RONDO 12.06.2009
„Kuijken gelingt eine in sich geschlossene, stellenweise betont geschmeidige und organische Lesart...Diese Musik fließt in ihrem natürlichen Bett, angenehm federnd, ohne unnötige dramaturgische Aufrauungen und ohne künstliche Affekte“ Christoph Vratz, SWR 2 27.06.2009
La Petite Bande (Belgium) was founded in 1972 by Sigiswald Kuijken at the request of the record company Deutsche Harmonia Mundi in order to record Lully's "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme", under the direction of Gustav Leonhardt.
The orchestra takes its name and constitution from Lully's own orchestra at the court of Louis XIV. All its members are internationally renowned specialists in the early music field.
Although originally La Petite Bande was not meant to become a permanent orchestra, the success of the recordings was such that they began to give concerts regularly. Having initially concentrated mainly on French music, the orchestra's repertoire has expanded over the years to include music by the Italian masters and that of Bach, Handel, Gluck, Haydn, Mozart and others.
La Petite Bande has recorded instrumental as well as vocal music, including operas and oratorios from the Baroque and Classical periods. La Petite Bande currently makes recordings for Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Denon , Accent and Hyperion.
La Petite Bande has performed in a multitude of international festivals and concert series, in Europe, Japan, Australia, South America and China.
Sigiswald Kuijken was born in 1944 close to Brussels. He studied violin at the conservatories of Bruges and Brussels, completing his studies at the latter institution with Maurice Raskin in 1964. He came into contact with early music at a very young age, together with his brother Wieland. Studying on his own, he gained a thorough knowledge of specific 17th- and 18th-century performance techniques and conventions of interpretation on violin and viola da gamba. This led to the introduction, in 1969, of a more authentic way of playing the violin, whereby the instrument was no longer held under the chin, but lay freely on the shoulder; this was to have a crucial influence on the approach to the violin repertoire and was consequently adopted by many players starting in the early 1970s.
From 1964 to 1972, Sigiswald Kuijken was a member of the Brussels-based Alarius Ensemble (with Wieland Kuijken, Robert Kohnen and Janine Rubinlicht), which performed throughout Europe and in the United States. He subsequently undertook individual chamber music projects with a number of Baroque music specialists, chief among which were his brothers Wieland and Barthold and Robert Kohnen, as well as Gustav Leonhardt, Frans Bruggen, Anner Bylsma and René Jacobs.
In 1972, with the encouragement of Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and Gustav Leonhardt, he founded the Baroque orchestra La Petite Bande, which since then has given innumerable concerts throughout Europe, Australia, South America, China and Japan, and has made many recordings for a number of labels (including Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Seon, Virgin, Accent, Denon, Hyperion, ...)
In 1986 he founded the Kuijken String Quartet (with François Fernandez, Marleen Thiers and Wieland Kuijken), which specialises in the quartets and quintets (with Ryo Terakado as first violist) of the Classical period. Recordings of quartets and quintets by Mozart and Haydn have appeared on Denon.
In 2004 Sigiswald Kuijken reintroduced in practical performance the Violoncello da spalla (shoulder cello, very probably the instrument Bach had in mind when writing his six cello solos): concerts and recordings of Bach , Vivaldi, ...
Since 1998, Sigiswald Kuijken occasionally conducts “modern” symphonic orchestras in romantic programs (Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn).
On 2 February 2007, Sigiswald Kuijken received an honorary doctorate of the K.U. Leuven.