CD 1-2: Christmas Oratorio BWV 248 (recorded 1987)
CD 3-5: St Matthew's Passion (recorded 1989)
CD 6-7: St John's Passion (recorded 1986)
CD 8-9: Mass in B Minor (recorded 1985)
This monster box set -- nine CDs -- is aimed at buyers in the process of doing what used to be called building a classical library. It contains four large Bach sacred works generally deemed critical to a classical collection aspiring to completeness: the "St. John" and "St. Matthew Passions," the "Christmas Oratorio," and the "Mass in B minor." The performances, recorded on period instruments by John Eliot Gardiner and his English Baroque Soloists with the Monteverdi Choir in the late '80s, are reliable classics, the kind of thing that a clerk at a CD store might tell you that you couldn't go wrong with. They take advantage of the clean sound and the clear separation between ensemble sections that come from performing Bach's music on the instruments for which he wrote it, but they're not radical experiments in re-creating 300-year-old music -- by this time, when most Bach enthusiasts think about his big choral pieces, what they tend to hear in their heads is something like what's heard on these recordings. There are more vivid, warmer, more passionate recordings of each of these pieces out there, but everything included here is consistent, clear, and convincing, with top-notch soloists. The bottom line: this is a lot of good Bach, for a very reasonable price. You might also, however, like to try out various approaches to these pieces to see what they might bring, rather than getting "Bachsed in." Two annoyances are the lack of texts (you can find them on the Internet) and the tendency of the booklet to fall apart in your hands. The late-'80s sound from Archiv is warm, without a trace of the harshness sometimes heard early in the CD era. - James Manheim, All Music Guide
Mr Gardiner and his ensembles need no introduction; these performances are available separately but if you don't have them, here's a chance to get them all at once. An apology is due here - I had intended to package each of the four works separately, but missed out on this somewhere, and due to the slow speed of my uploads, I'm afraid I'm not planning on doing it anytime soon. If any parts are broken please let me know and I will re-upload as soon as possible.
As always, if you like it, please consider buying it!
Links are Rapidshare.com, redirected through TinyUrl - as there are so many of them, links are clickable to save you copy-pasting everything.
Part 1: http://tinyurl.com/dzmbpv Part 2: http://tinyurl.com/c7uy7v Part 3: http://tinyurl.com/bc9dxb Part 4: http://tinyurl.com/ae3sgh Part 5: http://tinyurl.com/d7o94v Part 6: http://tinyurl.com/dy65r4 Part 7: http://tinyurl.com/b5gwvp Part 8: http://tinyurl.com/c5zhjh Part 9: http://tinyurl.com/acp63x Part 10: http://tinyurl.com/aaphk6 Part 11: http://tinyurl.com/b5nrly Part 12: http://tinyurl.com/c7sm3g Part 13: http://tinyurl.com/blvwz7 Part 14: http://tinyurl.com/atutxm Part 15: http://tinyurl.com/de8ue9 Part 16: http://tinyurl.com/bu6nc6 Part 17: http://tinyurl.com/dk6vpp Part 18: http://tinyurl.com/dy3tjn Part 19: http://tinyurl.com/d75pt9 Part 20: http://tinyurl.com/b7ezqc Part 21: http://tinyurl.com/c5xvdr