ELLY AMELING - Elly Ameling: Bach Edition (Box) [Limited Edition] (Aus) | RECORD STORE DAY

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Limited Edition 20CD Box Set. Compiled here for the first time are all of Elly Ameling's Bach recordings for both Decca and Philips: an 'original jackets' treasury of Cantatas, Passions and oratorios which would make a first-rate introduction to the composer's sacred music, but which for the more experienced listener holds vocal glories in store, and also takes the changing temperature of Bach performance practice during it's span. 'Radiance, then, radiance of tone and personality, that is Elly Ameling's gift, and as she smiles, sweetly, we hear the smile in the voice.' So John Steane wrote in his essay on the Dutch soprano in Singers of the Century, and her recordings of Bach preserve and communicate that radiance as much as her celebrated albums of Schubert Lieder. The earliest recording here is the St. Matthew Passion conducted by Karl Münchinger from 1964, in which Ameling sings all the arias (no double-soloist division to match the double choir and orchestra) as well as the smaller parts such as Pilate's wife, and she does so with not only a poise but a communicative urgency that seized the attention of countless listeners hearing her for the first time (though by then she had been singing professionally for more than a decade). Before this recording, she recalled in a later interview, Münchinger had heard her on a German radio broadcast, 'and said to himself, "There is a Bach singer!" So he told [Decca] that if he was to record any more Bach for them, he must have me as his soprano.' She went on to bring her special qualities of serenity and pathos to his recordings of the St. John Passion, Easter Oratorio, Magnificat and several cantatas. Münchinger brought a lighter touch to this music than other German Bach conductors, and his graceful rhythmic feeling paired well with Ameling's voice, but then so did the more clipped and extrovert, French style of Ernest Ansermet (a single tantalising album of cantatas), the pacier, punchy but compact approach of the oboist-turned-conductor Helmut Winschermann (three albums of cantatas, including a legendary account of Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen), and finally the warmer, more relaxed legato cultivated by Raymond Leppard (two cantata albums). Both of her Christmas Oratorio recordings (led by Münchinger and Eugen Jochum) feature, dating from 1966 and 1972 respectively, and in both she sings with an ideal voice for the part: bright, a little cool, not exactly forward but with plenty of body, absolutely pure and effortless in coloratura. As another critic remarked, one can no more tire of Elly Ameling in her most congenial repertoire than complain about the regularity of the return of spring: 'Sure, it's the same as last time, but the response (like Ameling's to her songs) is always new.' This set features a new appreciation of Elly Ameling's artistry in Bach by the Dutch critic René Seghers, based on a new interview with her, which he conducted at her home in July 2022. Ameling herself contributes an introduction to the set, which will enhance it's appeal to all lovers of great (Bach) singing.