Bach: Mass in B Minor

Bach: Mass in B Minor, Bwv 232
Cantata Collective, Nicholas McGegan
Avie AV2668
Recorded live at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, CA, March 20, 2023

I admire many recordings by Nicholas McGegan, particularly his volumes of Scarlatti cantatas with Arcadian Academy (Conifer, 6/97) and his first volumes of Bach cantatas with San Francisco-based Cantata Collective (Centaur). McGegan’s official biography describes his approach as being infused with joy and never dogmatic, and normally I would wholeheartedly agree, yet on this newest disc there is a slight disconnect between his gracious and joyful tempos and what is comfortable for the performers. Let’s consider the ‘Gloria’, where we have the best of McGegan’s style at the start: a sense of grandeur infused with a brisk and playful blaze of trumpets and drums. I admire the gentle transition into ‘et in terra pax’ but the fugal entries on ‘bonae voluntatis’ are a touch unstable, not helped by several cumbersome choral sibilants.


For the full text of this review please click here: Gramophone May 2024


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