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Complete works of J.S. Bach

December 30th, 2006
Marketing Advertising Blog — VuManhThang.Com

A friend pointed this out to me recently and I was skeptical, to say the least, since it seemed too good to be true. For years I’ve had my eyes on the Brilliant Classics complete recording of the works of J.S. Bach but have hesitated because of the price. Well, Daedelus Books, a huge remainder book and music seller, has this set now on sale for $113 (that price includes shipping). I received my order, very well packaged, in about a week. Read more…

That is still a lot of dough, but…you get all of Bach’s works, well
organized, on 155 CDs. That’s hard to beat. You can read reviews of the
Brilliant Classics recordings at JS Bach.org. They are of mixed quality, but in many cases quite good indeed. Here is where you may read more about the Daedelus sale. Be patient, the web site loads *very* slowly, but does eventually load. At least this morning it is loading s l o w l y. Here is a good review of the entire set.
Note: the set Daedelus sells does not include the 155 page book,
instead it includes this material on a CD-ROM that is the last disk in
the set.

Here is some promotional information on the set:

The Complete Works of J.S. Bach — 155 CD Set!

Now even more up-to-date: the COMPLETE BACH EDITION. The music by the
great J.S. Bach is timeless. Views on the interpretation of his works,
however, keep changing and evolving. So the complete Bach Edition is
evolving with it.

No less than 9 CD’s of this set have been replaced by new recordings by
prominent Bach performers such as the Sixteen, La Stravaganza Köln with
Andrew Manze, cellist Jaap ter Linden and Musica Amphion. They play the
Weihnachts Oratorium, Orchestral suites, cello solo suites, Brandenburg
Concertos and the Concertos for 2 and 3 harpsichords.

This Edition was first issued in 23 installments to celebrate the 250th
anniversary of the death of J.S. Bach. It contains every piece of his
known to exist at the time.

Including new recordings of all the 200 sacred cantatas on period
instruments and sung by a boys’ choir exclusively made for Brilliant
Classics. The entire Bach Edition has been very well-received
internationally and has become a standard in itself.

Now even better quality at a real bargain price! 155 CD’s in wallets
and one CD-Rom with all texts and liner notes in a single space saving


"Brilliant Classics embarked on a daring project in the year 2000, the
year of the 250th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach’s death: this
budget label decided to release a complete set of Bach’s works…some
65% of the 155 CDs in this set were newly recorded (the remainder was
licensed from other labels), including Bach’s almost 200 sacred
cantatas…I highly recommend this set. I have recordings of all of
Bach’s works and yet I was delighted and surprised as I listened to the
many pearls that I discovered here…if you like Bach’s music, you owe
it to yourself to get this – at its super-bargain price, even those
recordings you don’t like will not cause too much disappointment, but
the quality of the excellent ones is such that you will certainly be
delighted…If only to have the 60 CDs of sacred cantatas, and to
discover what is an incredible collection of moving and memorable
music, this set is worth having. Treat yourself to 160 CDs of Bach,
then, take a few weeks off to enjoy this music."
–  Kirk McElhearn, MusicWeb

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Categories: Bach
  1. Stonechurch
    December 30th, 2006 at 11:03 | #1

    Pastor McCain,
    This sounds great! Thanks for sharing it with us.
    Two questions: Since there isn’t a booklet, but instead the written material is on one CD-ROM, does it still contain all the liner notes (parts listings, performance notes, and the original German lyrics with English translation) that one would expect if purchasing these works from more expensive, high quality recording labels?
    McCain: Well, yes and no. The CD ROM in the box contains the liner notes and a wonderful little biography of Bach and all sorts of goodies, all in PDF. I can’t vouch for the quality of the translations. However, there are NO English translations of the libretti from his choral works, only the German words. But…despair not. If you go to the Bach Cantata discussion group in Yahoo groups, they have a wealth of information for free there. It is a wonderful resource that provides several different English translations for all his choral works. My favorite resource for the Sacred Cantatas is Unger’s “Handbook to Bach’s Sacred Cantata Texts.” It costs nearly as much as the Brilliant Edition! A very kind friend read me talking about the book on my blog a couple years ago and hauled off and bought it for me.
    Also, is it possible to print all the written material in order to assemble it in a three-ring binder and have ready access to the respective liner notes while listening to a particular work?

  2. January 1st, 2007 at 20:28 | #2

    Back in 1970, I found the complete organ works of Bach on 21 LP records for $19.99 in a bookstore in Milwaukee, but they were lost in a move. Looks like I may have to spring for this one…such a deal!

  3. Richard
    January 3rd, 2007 at 13:15 | #3

    Thanks for the info. Just purchased a set. Someone also pointed me to BBC Radio 3–for talks by John Eliot Gardiner on Bach’s Christmas music. Sounds as if it’s worth a listen.

  4. Richard
    January 5th, 2007 at 17:14 | #4

    Pastor McCain, the link to Gardiner’s concerts on Bach’s cantatas:

  5. Dan
    February 2nd, 2007 at 15:25 | #5

    There is a website that provides translations of Bach’s cantatas in various languages. It looks to be comprehensive. The website is http://www.bach-cantatas.com/. Hope this helps.

  6. Norman Teigen
    June 2nd, 2007 at 20:41 | #6

    I found this set at Best Buy and paid $125.00. The artists are superb. I am not able to use the accompanying CD to the set, probably because I am MacIntosh and not the other one.
    This would make a wonderful gift to a pastor from a confirmation class.

  7. Matthew J. Surburg
    August 5th, 2007 at 15:31 | #7

    Pastor McCain,
    Thank you for calling our attention to this inexpensive treasure. I received this as a birthday gift from my wife last month, and she is tired of listening to me rave about it incessantly. What a delight to look up the cantatas for a given Sunday (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lutheran-2006-2010.htm) and listen to them. Not to mention 17 CDs of organ works, plus the masses and Passions, concertos, suites, etc. It just never seems to end.
    A book I am reading alongside it (another birthday gift, incidentally) which dovetails nicely with it is “Evening in the Palace of Reason: Bach Meets Frederick the Great in the Age of Enlightenment” by James R. Gaines. The alternating chapters on the life of Bach with those on Frederick highlight what a remarkable life Bach lived and what an extraordinary person he was in many respects. Unfortunately, Gaines makes the claim that Bach was a Pietist – it seems that many who do not appreciate Confessional Lutheranism cannot conceive of true piety without wispy pietism. Nevertheless, the greatness of Bach’s music comes into sharper focus in this very readable volume.
    Ask any serous person who was the greatest composer ever, and there will be only three serious contenders – Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. What a great gift to have one of the shining examples of musical genius be also a true believer, who continues to proclaim the Gospel from a thousand mouths to this day!

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