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Bach: Cantatas For Solo Bass / Kooy, Herreweghe, Et Al


Release Date: 07/10/2001 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord Catalog #: 1951365   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter Kooy
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Chapelle Royale ParisLa Chapelle Royale Chorus Paris
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 52 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This new disc from Harmonia Mundi contains three profoundly expressive examples of Bach's craft in the composition of sacred cantatas. All three are Leipzig works belonging to the 1720s and 1730s. The Dutch bass, Peter Kooy, is a fine Bach singer and Philippe Herreweghe has been wise in engaging him for so many of his Bach recordings. His diction is clear and his tone resonant and warm, but with a pleasing edge which affords added focus and definition. Kooy starts with Ich habe genug which contains one of the most celebrated arias in the entire Bach canon "Schlummert em, ihr matten Augen" ("Sleep, weary eyes"). Bach left several versions of this inspired aria which differ from one another in significant respects. In what Read more we take to be his last thoughts on the piece he reinforced the first violin part with an oboe da caccia, whose melancholy sound perfectly matches the mood of the piece. Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Joshua Rifkin both opt for this version in their respective Teldec and L'Oiseau-Lyre recordings, Herreweghe, sadly, does not but the sublime beauty of the aria is captured none the less by Kooy's admirably sustained technique, his sensibility to music and text alike and his effectively chosen tempo. The latter is closely allied to RifIcin's choice, almost a minute longer than Harnoncourt and, of interest perhaps to all of us who thought we found Bach tempos intolerably slow in the bad old days, over two minutes longer than the earliest LP recording of the work with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Karl Ristenpart (Archiv, 11/54—nla).

lch will den Kreuzstab succeeds admirably with Kooy's resonant, open voice capturing the desolate, grief-laden message of the text, as well as bringing to life the arresting passages of wordpainting. A notable example of this is contained in the first of two recitatives where a metaphorical sea voyage is poetically evoked by lilting accompanying figures. The dance-like aria which follows is taken briskly but is always secure, both in the voice part and in the skilfully executed oboe playing. The remaining cantata, Der Friede sei mu t dir is possibly all that remains of a larger work. Two recitatives and a chorale frame a fine aria with chorale alternatively scored for bass and oboe (chorale melody), and bass with oboe and soprano (chorale melody). Both feature a lyrical violin obbligato affectingly played here by Monica Huggett. Herreweghe, unlike Leonhardt (Teldec) and Rifkin gives the chorale melody to the sopranos of his chorus rather than to a single voice.

To sum up: this is a splendid issue though I must add that the acoustic is more sympathetic to the bass soloist than to the instruments whose character, together with a modicum of detail, is lost in over-reverberant surroundings. I felt this above all in the opening movement of kh habe genug. That apart, the disc can be warmly commended.

-- Gramophone [10/1992]
reviewing the original release of this title
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Works on This Recording

1. Ich habe genug, BWV 82 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter Kooy (Bass)
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Chapelle Royale Paris
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1727; Cöthen, Germany 
Language: German 
2. Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen, BWV 56 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter Kooy (Bass)
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Chapelle Royale Paris,  La Chapelle Royale Chorus Paris
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: German 
3. Der Friede sei mit dir, BWV 158 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter Kooy (Bass)
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Chapelle Royale Paris,  La Chapelle Royale Chorus Paris
Period: Baroque 
Written: after 1723; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: German 

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