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Magnificat in D, BWV 243

New York Times, Zachary Woolfe

(...) The burst of the “Et resurrexit,” you learned, is more meaningful when the preceding two choruses have been so hauntingly understated. Mr. Koopman guided the ensemble with startling drive through the dense, slowly colliding harmonies of the “Confiteor,” and the second choral “Kyrie” ebbed and flowed like a breath over a carpet of velvety playing from the trumpets.

The orchestra played with flexibility and transparency in both concerts. Without distortion or overemphasis Mr. Koopman gave every detail its proper place: the pulsing in the woodwinds under the aria “Beglückte Herde, Jesu Schafe” in the Cantata No. 104 (“Du Hirte Israel, Höre”); the little flute chorale in the opening chorus of the Magnificat; the folksy lilt of the accompaniment to “Et in Spiritum Sanctum” in the Mass.

In the “Christe” duet that follows the Mass’s opening choral “Kyrie” Ms. Bartosz’s voice blended with the soprano Teresa Wakim’s with the combination of sensuality and purity that is the paradoxical ideal in Bach’s sacred works. The tenor Tilman Lichdi — who had raged through “Hilf, Jesu, hilf” in the Cantata No. 147 (“Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben”) — had a clear, earnest sound, and the bass-baritone Klaus Mertens sang on both Thursday and Friday with conversational naturalness and warm eloquence.

The choir was the glory of both performances, its sibilants crisp and its sound penetrating, particularly in the high voices. By the last sequence of the Mass, starting with the Sanctus, it was in a deep groove, with the orchestra joining it in a second “Osanna” that was as raucous as this ensemble becomes.(...)