REVIEWS:

Among the very best recordings (Buxtehude CD)

01.02.11, MusicWeb International

Scandinavian Cantatas, Dacapo Records

A welcome addition to the Buxtehude recordings which were issued or reissued in the anniversary year of 2007 and which still continue to come forth. This is well worth having for the quality of the music—not all of it ‘Scandinavian’, despite the title and the fact that two of the texts are in Swedish—the performances and the recording.

Bine Bryndorf’s complete recording of the organ works, also for the da Capo label, was one of the highlights of Buxtehude year and her contributions here are no less welcome—perhaps they will tempt listeners to explore one or more of those albums, on CD or from classicsonline. Passionato.com also have three of the volumes in lossless flac.

Paul Hillier is a real pluralist: not only has he recorded for a variety of labels, but his expertise stretches from the late-medieval Old Hall Manuscript (Virgin 5613932, download only, from Passionato.com) via William Billings (Harmonia Mundi HCX3957048 and 3957128) to Terry Riley (in C, da Capo 8.226049). These Buxtehude works with the Theatre of Voices are among the very best recordings which he has offered us.

The sound is mp3 only, but at the highest bit-rate, so little is lost, apart from the SACD layer on the parent CD, which, on the strength of the download, must be very good. Full marks to classicsonline for including the important booklet with this and so many of their recent downloads. It’s also available to Naxos Music Library subscribers.

Brian Wilson Download Roundup