Bach 2000: The Complete Bach Edition (154 CD box set, APE)
Bach 2000: The Complete Bach Edition (154 CD box set, APE)

Audio CD
Number of Discs: 154 CD box set
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Teldec
Size: 41.5 GB
Recovery: 3%
Scan: yes

The Bach renaissance–which began in earnest in the early 19th century thanks to the efforts of Felix Mendelssohn and others–inspired an endeavor of far-reaching significance. It led to the founding of the Bach Society in 1850, with the goal of gathering and publishing the composer’s complete works, and thus set into motion one of the great projects of musical scholarship. That effort has continued and been refined throughout the 20th century, ultimately influencing not only our perception of how to perform early music but fundamental ideas of musical history, evolution, and reception as well.

Teldec’s mammoth Bach 2000 box set represents a kind of culmination of that original attempt to come to terms with Johann Sebastian Bach’s unparalleled legacy. This set brings together performances recorded over the last several decades–a small percentage of the recordings are previously unreleased–of all the extant works determined by modern scholarship to be authentic. There are also some pieces the authorship of which is still in question and a few now deemed “inauthentic” but familiarly associated with the composer. Bach was a prodigious reviser of his compositions, and alternate versions of a particular work have been included “where the changes seemed sufficiently important,” such as the glorious Magnificat. No doubt manuscripts will continue to be unearthed here and there in various archives (Bach 2000 contains, for example, the “Neumeister chorales,” which were rediscovered in 1984), but the set does not represent the many fragments of music that consist of just a few bars; however, there are some reconstructions of lost concertos (such as one for three violins reconstructed by Christopher Hogwood from an extant concerto for harpsichords).

Of course a truly comprehensive recorded edition of every note Bach wrote remains a utopian impossibility–about one-third of his cantatas, for example, have not survived. Even so, the dimensions of Bach 2000 are staggering. With its 12 boxes comprising 153 CDs, the set can be compressed into fewer boxes to save shelf space yet is still about ten times as long as the Ring cycle. (It should be noted that the packaging–using thin cardboard sleeves for the CDs–is distinctively unattractive.) That adds up to just under 160 hours of music–but a lifetime of discovery. Each box (grouped according to genre) contains a booklet with excellent notes on individual works and–for all the choral works–texts and translations. Tracking indexes are useful and thorough. Also included is a profusely illustrated hardbound volume of 24 Inventions, in which journalist Wolfgang Sandberger uses the composer’s biography as a peg for some enigmatic and fascinating musings on the meaning of Bach today.

The presiding philosophy behind this project and its approach to musical interpretation can be largely ascribed to Nikolaus Harnoncourt, a true musical pioneer and galvanizing force of the “period performance” movement. Harnoncourt’s epoch-making recordings of the sacred cantatas (using, for instance, boy sopranos and choristers according to the practice in Bach’s time) with the Concentus musicus Wien and colleague Gustav Leonhardt comprise the first four volumes here (those who already own them can turn to the Bach 2000 Light edition, which contains everything sans the cantatas). These recordings–which were not remastered for this set–have long been controversial and are notably uneven, embracing some magnificent accounts as well as others that lack fire and seem clearly underrehearsed. But Harnoncourt is one of the most fascinating conductors of our era, and his interpretations amply bear out his assertion: “I have never felt that Bach worked in a routine manner, that he repeated himself in his works.” Harnoncourt–who has articulated many of his ideas in his book The Musical Dialogue–displays his gifts as a cellist in a remarkably probing performance of the Cello Suites (originally recorded in 1965) and in his concertizing for a number of chamber works. For the St. Matthew Passion, you get Harnoncourt’s groundbreaking earlier account from 1970, while his 1986 recording of the sublime B Minor Mass is also represented here (the St. John Passion included is Harnoncourt’s 1995 acount).

Other artists included are colleague Gustav Leonhardt, whose thoughtful if occasionally dry harpsichord artistry is heard in the Goldberg Variations as well as in the concertos and chamber music. The harpsichord is in fact used throughout in preference to piano for the keyboard works. Ton Koopman (himself the conductor of an ongoing complete cantata series and of the Easter Oratorio included here) performs the organ works, including some newly recorded offerings, while Il Giardino Armonico’s well-known high-energy account represents the Brandenburg Concertos. Violinist Thomas Zehetmair is exceptionally compelling in the unaccompanied sonatas and partitas, and the Concentus musicus Wien–again under Harnoncourt–perform a superb Musical Offering that richly repays frequent listening.

The result of Bach 2000 as a whole is an aptly encyclopedic grappling with the infinite legacy of this most compendious of composers, whose works are on one level a summation of all the styles available to him. Bach was once thought to represent a “terminal point” (to use Albert Schweitzer’s famous formulation), the end of an era; today he is at least equally recognized as a fertile source of inspiration for composers since. To be sure, individual recordings of particular works will be found to be preferable, and it would be misguided to consider Bach 2000 any kind of “final” or “definitive” word. Instead, it’s an indispensable starting point that represents a monumental achievement for our own contemporary understanding of Bach. –Thomas May

Performers:
Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Gustav Leonhardt
Concentus Musicus Wien
Ton Koopman
Il Giardino Armonico
Andreas Staier
Michele Barchi
Luca Pianca
Werner Ehrhardt
Bob Van Asperen
The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir
The Academy of Ancient Music
Christopher Hogwood
Ars Antiqua Austria
Tragicomedia
Musica Antique Koln
Reihard Goebel
Zuzana Ruzickova
Alan Curtis
Olivier Baumont
Glen Wilson
Christoph Pregardien
Klaus Mertens
Barbara Bonney
Thomas Hampson etc

Also available:  Brigitte Fassbaender - The Great Lieder Recordings (8 CD box set FLAC)

Volume 1, 15 Discs: Sacred Cantatas Nos. 1-14, 16-47; 15 CDs
Volume 2, 15 Discs: Sacred Cantatas Nos. 48-52, 54-69, 69A, 70-99
Volume 3, 15 Discs: Sacred Cantatas Nos. 100-117, 119-140,143-149
Volume 4, 15 Discs: Sacred Cantatas BWV 150-159, 161-188, 192, 194-199
Volume 5, 11 Discs: Secular Cantatas App. Sacred Cantatas
Volume 6, 14 Discs: The Sacred Vocal Works Masses, Magnificat, Passions, Oratorios
Volume 7, 7 Discs: The Motets, Chorales & Songs Kirnberger Chorales, Schemelli Songs, Quodlibet
Volume 8, 16 Discs: The Organ Works
Volume 9, 11 Discs: The Keyboard Works (I) The Well-Tempered Clavier, English & French Suites, Partitas etc
Volume 10, 11 Discs: The Keyboard Works (II) Goldberg Variations, Toccatas, Fugues, Italian Concerto, etc
Volume 11, 13 Discs: The Chamber Music Violin Sonatas & Partitas, Flute Sonatas, Works for Lute, Art of Fugue, Musical Offering
Volume 12, 10 Discs: The Orchestral Works The Concertos & Orchestral Suite

147 out of 153 ain’t bad!

Having listened to the complete set, I can confidently recommend it, if you would use a complete set of Bach’s works.
If you really like Bach, it is well worth getting. You will read disparaging reviews which will tell you that there are better performances of individual works. But this is a great opportunity for a Bach lover to get very good versions of his entire oeuvre.
In the set of 60 CDs of sacred cantatas, there are about 6 duds, which feature out of tune boy sopranos! If you are not crazy about sacred cantatas, you can buy a set which omits them, which may be advised!
I love the version of the Mass in B minor, though it is very different from our set by Munchinger [which we really enjoy].
The Brandenburgs are great. THe first movement of the first concerto is a knock out! Very brassy and bombastic: quite different from the 3 or 4 other versions I have previously enjoyed.
We are a piano family and have many CDs of Bach keyboard works played on piano [though we also have the Well Tempered Clavier on harpsichord and clavichord] The keyboard performances in the set are all on harpsichord and are lively and very enjoyable.
It takes some getting used to the authentic Baroque flute performances: especially occasional out-of-tuneness. But these are also interesting and musically played.
If you would use a set of all of Bach’s extant works, it is a great choice. It is competitively priced and I love the packaging.

28 Comments

    1. Author

      El comandante, I’m not a professional to check differences :) Sorry, I don’t know but you can find the information on the web

    2. This set was released in 2000 to commemorate 250 years from Bach’s death. This is the first complete Bach edition and it is played on mostly period instruments (A=415 not 440). It is a very nice set even though critics say that the Hanssler set is more consistent (it is all played on modern instruments). You get both and compare which you would like better. Thank you whatever

  1. @El comandante:
    I think the differences may only be in recording times.
    For example, the Christmas Oratorio on this set is on 2 CDs and most performances take 3 CDs.

    @whatever – many thanks for this – it gives me a chance to fill some gaps.

  2. El comandante, the difference is that the present set came from Teldec (now under Warner Classics) and the other is the Complete Bach Edition put out Hänssler – physically different recordings.

  3. Downloading,,,Is great,, I am really interested in the cantatas but indeed the whole colection is quite interesting,, Thanks a lot,, ( just wondering:all links are working? Hope so,,)

  4. Thank you very much! When I was a kid I wanted to listen to all of Bach’s repertoire. Now I can do it. Thanks to boxset.. I’ll do it in two diferent ways. Dear whatever, could you please share with us something about storing a collection, hard drives. Do you use RAID0/RAID1/RAID10? Wich is the safest way? Convetional backups? Online storage? Thank you in advance for any enlightment on the issue.

  5. I found this info, it coul be useful:

    Bach 2000 v01CD01 (Cantatas BWV 01-03)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD02 (Cantatas BWV 04-06)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD03 (Cantatas BWV 07-09)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD04 (Cantatas BWV 10-12)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD05 (Cantatas BWV 13,14,16)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD06 (Cantatas BWV 17-19)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD07 (Cantatas BWV 20-21)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD08 (Cantatas BWV 22-25)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD09 (Cantatas BWV 26-29)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD10 (Cantatas BWV 30-31)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD11 (Cantatas BWV 32-34)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD12 (Cantatas BWV 35-36)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD13 (Cantatas BWV 37-40)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD14 (Cantatas BWV 41-43)
    /Bach 2000 v01CD15 (Cantatas BWV 44-47)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD01 (Cantatas BWV 48-51)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD02 (Cantatas BWV 52,54-56)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD03 (Cantatas BWV 57-60)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD04 (Cantatas BWV 61-63)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD05 (Cantatas BWV 64-66)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD06 (Cantatas BWV 67-69a)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD07 (Cantatas BWV 70-73)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD08 (Cantatas BWV 74-75)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD09 (Cantatas BWV 76-78)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD10 (Cantatas BWV 79-82)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD11 (Cantatas BWV 83-86)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD12 (Cantatas BWV 87-90)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD13 (Cantatas BWV 91-93)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD14 (Cantatas BWV 94-96)
    /Bach 2000 v02CD15 (Cantatas BWV 97-99)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD01 (Cantatas BWV 100-102)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD02 (Cantatas BWV 103-105)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD03 (Cantatas BWV 106-108)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD04 (Cantatas BWV 109-111)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD05 (Cantatas BWV 112-114)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD06 (Cantatas BWV 115-117)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD07 (Cantatas BWV 119-120)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD08 (Cantatas BWV 121-124)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD09 (Cantatas BWV 125-127)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD10 (Cantatas BWV 128-130)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD11 (Cantatas BWV 131-133)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD12 (Cantatas BWV 134-137)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD13 (Cantatas BWV 138-140)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD14 (Cantatas BWV 143-146)
    /Bach 2000 v03CD15 (Cantatas BWV 147-149)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD01 (Cantatas BWV 150-153)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD02 (Cantatas BWV 154-157)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD03 (Cantatas BWV (158-162)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD04 (Cantatas BWV 163-166)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD05 (Cantatas BWV 167-169)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD06 (Cantatas BWV 170-173)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD07 (Cantatas BWV 174-176)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD08 (Cantatas BWV 177-179)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD09 (Cantatas BWV 180-182)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD10 (Cantatas BWV 183-185)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD11 (Cantatas BWV 186-187)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD12 (Cantatas BWV 188,192)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD13 (Cantatas BWV 194-195)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD14 (Cantatas BWV 196-197)
    /Bach 2000 v04CD15 (Cantatas BWV 198-199)
    /Bach 2000 v05CD01 (Cantatas BWV 134a,173a)
    /Bach 2000 v05CD02 (Cantatas BWV 201,204)
    /Bach 2000 v05CD03 (Cantatas BWV 202-203,209)
    /Bach 2000 v05CD04 (Cantatas BWV 206-207)
    /Bach 2000 v05CD05 (Cantatas BWV 205,211)
    /Bach 2000 v05CD06 (Cantatas BWV 207a,210)
    /Bach 2000 v05CD07 (Cantatas BWV 208,212)
    /Bach 2000 v05CD08 (Cantata BWV 213)
    /Bach 2000 v05CD09 (Cantatas BWV 214-215)
    /Bach 2000 v05CD10 (Cantatas BWV 190-191,193)
    /Bach 2000 v05CD11 (Cantatas BWV 63a,182a,36c,200)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD01 (Mass in Bm BWV 232)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD02 (Mass in Bm BWV 232)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD03 (Missae BWV 233-234,239-241)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD04 (Missae BWV 235-238,242)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD05 (Magnificat BWV 243,243a)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD06 (St.Matthew Passion BWV 244)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD07 (St.Matthew Passion BWV 244)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD08 (St.Matthew Passion BWV 244)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD09 (St.John Passion BWV 245)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD10 (St.John Passion BWV 45)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD11 (Christmas Oratorio BWV 248)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD12 (Christmas Oratorio BWV 248)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD13 (Psalm 51 BWV 1083)
    /Bach 2000 v06CD14 (Easter Oratorio BWV 249)
    /Bach 2000 v07CD01 (Motets BWV 225-230)
    /Bach 2000 v07CD02 (Chorales BWV 253-301)
    /Bach 2000 v07CD03 (Chorales BWV 302-342)
    /Bach 2000 v07CD04 (Chorales BWV 343-388)
    /Bach 2000 v07CD05 (Chorales BWV 389-438)
    /Bach 2000 v07CD06 (Musicalisches Gesangbuch)
    /Bach 2000 v07CD07 (Misc Chorales)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD01 (Organ Works)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD02 (Schübler & Leipzig Chorale Preludes)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD03 (Leipzig Chorale Preludes)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD04 (Organ Sonatas)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD05 (Organ Works)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD06 (Clavier-Übung III)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD07 (Organ Works)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD08 (Organ Works)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD09 (Organ Works)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD10 (Orgel-Büchlein)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD11 (Partite diverse)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD12 (Chorale arrangements)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD13 (Neumeister Chorales)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD14 (Chorale arrangements)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD15 (Organ Works)
    /Bach 2000 v08CD16 (Organ Concertos)
    /Bach 2000 v09CD01 (Inventions & Sinfonias)
    /Bach 2000 v09CD02 (English & French Suites 1-2)
    /Bach 2000 v09CD03 (English & French Suites 3-4)
    /Bach 2000 v09CD04 (English & French Suites 5-6)
    /Bach 2000 v09CD05 (Keyboard Works)
    /Bach 2000 v09CD06 (Partitas BWV 825-828)
    /Bach 2000 v09CD07 (Partitas BWV 828-830)
    /Bach 2000 v09CD08 (WTC Book I)
    /Bach 2000 v09CD09 (WTC Book I)
    /Bach 2000 v09CD10 (WTC Book II)
    /Bach 2000 v09CD11 (WTC Book II)
    /Bach 2000 v10CD01 (Keyboard Works)
    /Bach 2000 v10CD02 (Keyboard Works)
    /Bach 2000 v10CD03 (Keyboard Toccatas BWV 910-916)
    /Bach 2000 v10CD04 (Keyboard Works)
    /Bach 2000 v10CD05 (Keyboard Works)
    /Bach 2000 v10CD06 (Goldberg Variations)
    /Bach 2000 v10CD07 (Sonatas BWV 964-968)
    /Bach 2000 v10CD08 (Keyboard Works)
    /Bach 2000 v10CD09 (Keyboard Works)
    /Bach 2000 v10CD10 (Harpsichord Concertos)
    /Bach 2000 v10CD11 (Harpsichord Concertos)
    /Bach 2000 v11CD01 (Lute Suites)
    /Bach 2000 v11CD02 (Lute Suites)
    /Bach 2000 v11CD03 (Solo Violin Sonatas & Partitas)
    /Bach 2000 v11CD04 (Solo Violin Sonatas & Partitas)
    /Bach 2000 v11CD05 (Cello Suites 1-3)
    /Bach 2000 v11CD06 (Cello Suites 4-6)
    /Bach 2000 v11CD07 (Violin Sonatas)
    /Bach 2000 v11CD08 (Violin Sonatas)
    /Bach 2000 v11CD09 (Misc Chamber works)
    /Bach 2000 v11CD10 (Flute Sonatas)
    /Bach 2000 v11CD11 (Flute Sonatas)
    /Bach 2000 v11CD12 (A Musical Offering)
    /Bach 2000 v11CD13 (The Art of Fugue)
    /Bach 2000 v12CD01 (Violin Concertos)
    /Bach 2000 v12CD02 (Brandenburg Concertos 1-3)
    /Bach 2000 v12CD03 (Brandenburg Concertos 4-6)
    /Bach 2000 v12CD04 (Harpsichord Concertos)
    /Bach 2000 v12CD05 (Harpsichord Concertos)
    /Bach 2000 v12CD06 (Harpsichord Concertos)
    /Bach 2000 v12CD07 (Orchestral Suites 1-2)
    /Bach 2000 v12CD08 (Orchestral Suites 3-4)
    /Bach 2000 v12CD09 (Misc Concertos)
    /Bach 2000 v12CD10 (Chamber Works Addenum)

  6. Herzlichen Dank from Germany,
    Johann Sebastian Bach is a healer in the world of THOUGHT :evil:

  7. A little bit more info:

    Volume 1, 15 Discs
    Sacred Cantatas Nos. 1-14, 16-47; 15 CDs; Harnoncourt/Leonhardt
    Volume 2, 15 Discs
    Sacred Cantatas Nos. 48-52, 54-69, 69A, 70-99; 15 CDs; Harnoncourt/Leonhardt

    Volume 3, 15 Discs
    Sacred Cantatas Nos. 100-117, 119-140,143-149; 15 CDs; Harnoncourt/Leonhardt

    Volume 4, 15 Discs
    Sacred Cantatas BWV 150-159, 161-188, 192, 194-199; 15 CDs; Harnoncourt/Leonhardt

    Volume 5, 11 Discs
    Secular Cantatas App. Sacred Cantatas; 11 CDs; Koopman, Harnoncourt, Koopman, Goebel and others

    Volume 6, 14 Discs
    The Sacred Vocal Works Masses,Magnificat, Passions, Oratorios; 14 CDs; Harnoncourt, Koopman, Corboz and others

    Volume 7, 7 Discs
    The Motets, Chorales & Songs Kirnberger Chorales,Schemelli Songs, Quodlibet

    Volume 8, 16 Discs
    The Organ Works; 16 CDs; Ton Koopman

    Volume 9, 11 Discs
    The Keyboard Works (I) The Well-Tempered Clavier, English & French Suites, Partitas etc; 11 CDs; Curtis, Ross, Wilson, Ruzickova

    Volume 10, 11 Discs
    The Keyboard Works (II) Goldberg Variations, Toccatas, Fugues, Italian Concerto, etc; 11 CDs; Staier, Barchi, Leonhardt, von Asperen, Baumont, and others

    Volume 11, 13 Discs
    The Chamber Music Violin Sonatas & Partitas, Flute Sonatas, Works for Lute, Art of Fugue, Musical Offering, etc; 13 CDs; Harnoncourt, Pianca, Tachezi, Brggen, Zehetmair, and others

    Volume 12, 10 Discs
    The Orchestral Works The Concertos & Orchestral Suite; 10 CDs; Il Giardino Armonico, Harnoncourt, Leonhardt

  8. Thank you! It has been an old dream of mine to get my hands on this collection, ever since I was very young and saw it on a store for the first time. Thanks for making dreams come true.

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