Verbum caro factum est: A Christmas Greeting - Suzuki
Classical - Vocal
Works by Daquin, Bach, Gruber, Mendelssohn, Scheidt
Aki Matsui (soprano)
Hiroya Aoki (tenor)
Toru Kaku (bass)
Masato Suzuki (organ)
Bach Collegium Japan Chorus
Masaaki Suzuki (conductor)
Bach Collegium Japan and Masaaki Suzuki have sung of the wonders of Christmas a number of times, in Bach’s cantatas and Christmas Oratorio as well as in Handel’s Messiah. Here, instead, we hear the choir a cappella in a selection of classic Christmas carols. Masato Suzuki, son of the ensemble’s founder and director, has selected some of the best-loved songs of Christmas, such as Adeste fideles and Silent Night, as well as less familiar hymns, arranging them especially for these singers. A consummate organist, he also performs a number of Louis-Claude Daquin’s noëls variés – keyboard variations on Christmas songs which became a highly popular genre in 18th-century France.
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Recorded in February/March 2018 at Kobe Shoin Women’s University Chapel, Japan, 24/96
Producer and sound engineer: Thore Brinkmann (Take5 Music Production)
Recording equipment: BIS’s recording teams use microphones from Neumann and Schoeps, audio electronics from RME, Lake People and DirectOut, MADI optical cabling technology, monitoring equipment from B&W, STAX and Sennheiser, and Sequoia and Pyramix digital audio workstations.
Post-production: Editing and mixing: Thore Brinkmann
Executive producer: Robert Suff
Review by Adrian Quanjer - October 28, 2018
BIS released, season obliging, a selection of classic Christmas carols, well in time to not only buy it for yourself, but also to consider giving it to someone under the Christmas tree. Why? Because in the first place the selection is such that it will suit most tastes and, secondly, and perhaps more important, the sound quality will not fail to impress the receiver whilst lifting the giver into the ranks of being a real connoisseur.
Is it all that easy? Not quite. As said, the selection is wide and not all songs are on top of everyone’s carols list. That may be positive for those who want to explore uncharted territory, whereby the arrangements of the popular ones give extra stimulus to do so. But for the traditionalists amongst us that might as well be the downside: staple X-mas food for the spirit, like ‘Silent Night’, should not be tampered with.
Whatever the case, I would suggest to listen to available sound bites first and then give it a try. The choir is in top form and so are the soloists. The carols are intertwined with Masato Suzuki playing the 1983 Marc Garnier organ of the Shoin Chapel, Kobe, as depicted on page 33, with mostly ‘intimate’ stop settings, making it sound full of charm and joy. The Take 5 people have placed the choir up front with ambient surround, but the organ fills the room from all sides, giving the listener - in spite of the modern recording venue - a feel as if you are sitting in a candle lit country church.
Copyright © 2018 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net