American Record Guide Review

HANDEL: Dixit Dominus BACH & SCHÜTZ: Motets


The recent flow of recordings of Handel’s Dixit Dominus has brought the recognition that this Psalm setting of 1707 was the composer’s first great choral masterpiece.

I have lost track of how many recordings it has been given, but I can say that this new one is among the very best. The Ottawa Bach Choir, a 21-member mixed-voice group, digs into the work with wonderful enthusiasm and strength, capturing all its exuberance. With the addition of countertenor Daniel Taylor, the soloists come from the choir ranks and they are quite good.

Choices amid competition for this halfhour work will partly depend on what other material is paired with it. Here five brief Passion motets from the 1625 publication of the Cantiones Sacrae of Heinrich Schutz are offered. This entire program was recorded in May 2018, but the choir sounds different here—more dense and constricted. The composer’s use of post-Renaissance polyphony and madrigalian textures seems to dampen the performers’ precision and clarity.

For the finale, Canton and her choir turn to their namesake, JS Bach, with his Komm, Jesu, Komm, one of his unaccompanied motets. These musicians are beautifully attuned to the music’s richly contrapuntal eight-voice double choir texture.

There really was space for more music here, and I wish more had been added (like another Bach motet).

© 2019 American Record Guide  

Copyright © 2024 Ottawa Bach Choir. All Rights Reserved. Ottawa web design VanquishLA