Bach – Magnificat

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The Magnificat is maybe Bachs best known works. In name. How many have actually listened to it? It was first performed at Christmas 1723 in the Thomas Kirche in Leipzig. That is also Bach’s first year in the city. He made some very ambitious works that year, and this is one of them.

The text for the Magnificat comes from the gospel of Luke. Already in Bach’s time, it was regularly used in Mass. The Magnificat is biblical canticle, spoken by Maria, mother of Jesus, when she was visiting her pregnant cousin Elisabeth. Elisabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist. When Maria visited her, John the Baptist was moving inside Elisabeths womb. Elisabeth praised Maria’s faith and Maria responded with what later became known as the Magnificat, saying how special she felt that she was allowed to carry the Lord.

The performance on this record is done in what is now called historically informed style. In that it must have been one of the first. Earlier in the fifties this was still done with larger orchestras, but this one is performed by the number of musicians as prescribed by Bach, including the famous Marie-Claire Alain on organ. The recording of this is good, but the quality of the record is not. No amount of cleaning will help this damaged record I’m afraid.

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