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This beautifully performed, recorded and presented 2-CD set gathers together all the surviving motets by three of Bach’s ancestors: Johann (1604-73), Johann Christoph (1642-1703) and Johann Michael (1648-94). Johann Sebastian took great interest in his forbears’ output, particularly that of his second cousin Johann Christoph, whom Sebastian thought a profound composer. He collected and performed it at Leipzig, but much of it vanished during the second world war and has only relatively recently emerged in a Kiev archive. While the focus of disc 1 is on sober funeral motets, disc 2 is more varied in theme and mood, with motets for Passiontide, Advent and Christmas; all the music is bound by

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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