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Released 2006

CD19Richard Burdick, horn
J. S. Bach’s Easter Oratorio, BWV 249


This is a multi track recording. All tracks were performed by Richard Burdick on his Double French horn made by Dietmar Dürk.

Mr. Burdick read from the original score while recording. Each part from the flute to the basso continuo was played at written pitch, reading the score as if it were written for F horn. The range of this composition is from Pedal C to high e (for horn in F) with countless (hundreds) notes above high C in . Recorded at A = 440 hertz.

The original score was written for 2 flutes, 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, four soloists (Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Bass) Chorus, bassoon & continuo.

1. Sinfonia   3:43
2. Adagio   3:17
3. Chorus: Kommt, eilet und laufet (Come make haste and run.)   4:27
4. Recitative: O kalter Männer Sinn (O cold Men’s minds! )   1:01
5. Aria: Seele, deine Spezereien (Soul, your spices.)   12:50
6. Recitative: Hier ier die Gruft (Here is the sepulcher)   0:48
7. Aria: Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer (Softly now my fear of death)   6:34
8. Recitative: Indessen seufzen wir (Meanwhile we sigh.)   0:58
9. Aria: Saget, saget mir geschwinde (Tell me, tell me quickly)   7:48
10. Recitative: Wir sind erfreut (We rejoice)   0:44
11. Chorus: Preis und Dank bleibe (May praise and thanks remain.)   2:39

Total time: 45:12

Johann Sebastian Bach first composed this work in 1725. The four solo vocal parts were assigned to principal characters from the Gospel: Mary the mother of James, Mary Magdalene, and the apostles Peter and John. In the early 1730's, Bach revised the score of the sacred version, titled it Oratorio and gave us this incredible composition which premiered on Easter Sunday in 1735.

The work begins with a large scale Celebration (1) and a contemplative Adagio (2).

3. Then wakes us up: “Come, hasten and hurry, ye fleet-footed paces, Make haste for the grotto which Jesus doth veil! Laughter and pleasure, Attend ye our hearts now, For he who saves us is raised up.”

4. In the first recitative, Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of Jesus), Peter and John bemoan their loss.

5. Jesus's mother continues her expression of loss in her quietly beautiful aria.

6. In the next recitative, Peter , John and Mary Magdalene find the stone moved aside and the sepulchre, leading Mary Magdalene to understand what has happened.

7. This is one of the highest points of Bach's inspiration: Peter's aria Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer (Softly now my fear of death). Sometimes called the "slumber-aria", this has been described as “one of the most gloriously beautiful pieces of music ever written. A gentle and evocative melody woven through with delicate tendrils of accompaniment.” This celebrates the Christian hope of triumph over death, Here, the music touchingly portrays the believer's assurance that the pain of death is now merely a sleep with glorious reawakening.

8. The next recitative sees the two Mary's sighing in thirds and a short and amazing fugue takes about half a minute. A contrast that makes the entire work even more amazing.

9. Mary Magdalene asks where Jesus is in her more urgent, upbeat aria.

10. John affirms Jesus's resurrection in the final recitative.

11. Final chorus ends the oratorio with a glorious song of praise recalling the start of the oratorio in a vigorous affirmation of Christian faith.

The story behind this CD: Near the beginning of 2006 Mr. Burdick had been working over his Christmas break from his job as first horn of the Regina Symphony on a recording of natural horn music. When getting his valve horn out he found his valves stuck and the type of performance “shape” was not up to the high standards needed as a first horn player of a Symphony orchestra. So, having always wanted to record an Easter CD he thought of this. He then went and recorded the entire eleventh movement, hearing that this worked for horn ensemble he continued with the entire project. Half way through the project the Burdicks found they were qualified for a home loan and were able to buy a house. Not wanting to record the CD in two different studios, this project was completed in six weeks.



Thank you also for the bonus of the Easter Oratorio.
This sounds really impressive and the horn choir you have created with the multitracking has a magnificent resonance.
Yours, F. F.

I've listened to your CD about 50 times. Still love it. And it's awesome
that a first horn job is so cushy that you need to do extra work to get
in shape. When's your version of the B Minor Mass coming out?
I'm really glad you're playing an Alex (copy). Your sound is fantastic.
What kind of mouthpiece are you playing? You know, I've played around
with so many but I keep coming back to that funky old, huge, gold-plated
mouthpiece that came with my 190? Alex. I think a big mouthpiece is a
big part of a big sound--Baumann's mouthpiece is only a little smaller
than his head!

Hi Richard
Thank you for sending the amazing CD of the Bach Easter Oratorio excerpts. It is an incredible accomplishment, both from the amount of labor involved and the virtuosity displayed in all of the voices. Congratulations on yet another tremendous horn CD.
Every good wish for continued success, L. G.

Wow. Richard, Got your package in the mail, out of the blue and I'm honestly at a loss for words. By any measure your Easter Oratorio is nothing short of astonishing. What blew me away the he first time I listened to it was what you were physically accomplishing with the horn--not just the highs and lows (as impressive as they are), but the perfect intonation, the wonderful balance between the piccolo parts and the basso parts, the incredible speed and agility--and the fact that you play phrases that go on for days without taking a breath. After a few listenings, it's what a complete musical statement you're making. I don't miss the choir, the orchestra--like an organ concert, this is a complete performance. But unlike an organ, this has all the warmth, the dynamic range and the phrasing of voices.
You're not brassy like Tuckwell or as round as Baumann--like Dennis Brain or Glen Gould you've always had an unique sound. And for me, this recording is like Brain's Brahms Horn Trio or Berkeley Trio; a perfect showcase for an incredible talent. So when did you become a virtuoso, Richard? Does that just happen. Did I just miss it for all those years? Did my relative flat-footedness as a player mask it? Or have you "found your groove?"
I also really like the Dauprat though it's more of an intellectual kind of like, if that makes sense. I think Lowell Greer's comment was exactly right; though I'm no Lowell Greer, I can understand what you're doing, how bloody hard it is, and appreciate it. And your hand-horn playing is spectacular--don't get me wrong--but Dauprat isn't quite Bach, if you know what I mean.Thank you, Richard, for the CDs. You're amazing--and I'm proud to know you.



Regarding your new project. There are not words in an e-mail to express how moved and impressed I am with this work. I am very, very proud to say that I know you!!!!!!!!
This sounds incredible, I am only on track 2 but I wanted to say thank you, thank you for sending this to me!!!!!!!!!!
I have never heard anything like this.

You must chops of steel, at this point, to hit all those high notes....

Who did your mixing? It is wonderful. The intonation is unbelievable...the whole thing is unbelievable.

if I ever see you again I will fall down.....

thank you for making this into a very special day.


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