Bach’s spectacular choral masterpiece, the Magnificat, remains one of his most popular works. An elaborate ceremonial piece, featuring five soloists, a five-part choir and large orchestral forces, it is the setting for the Virgin Mary’s praise to God on hearing news that she is to bear His son, taken from St Luke’s gospel. It is accompanied by the Missae breves – Bach’s quartet of short but beautiful Lutheran masses. These lively modern-instrument performances with the C.P.E. Bach Chamber Orchestra, recorded in 1993 at the Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, are led by the distinguished German conductor and former tenor Peter Schreier, a renowned performer of oratorio. He was the son of a church Kantor and a former member of the Dresden Kreuzchor, and the works of Bach are a major focus of his repertoire. The soloists include the fine lyric soprano Barbara Bonney, whose performance of ‘Quia respexit’ is described by Gramophone in their review as ‘wonderfully intimate’. She is joined by the great German baritone Olaf Bär and his compatriots mezzo-soprano Birgit Remmert and tenor Rainer Trost, all notable concert artists.