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Bach: Early Cantatas Vol 3 - Weimar 2 / Kirkby, Chance, Daniels

Release Date: 09/30/2008 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 752   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter HarveyTimothy HaywardNicolette MooenBenedict Hoffnung,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Purcell Quartet
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 28 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BACH Cantatas: No. 172; No. 182; No. 21 Emma Kirkby (sop); Michael Chance (ct); Charles Daniels (ten); Peter Harvey (bs); Purcell Qrt et alia (period instruments) CHANDOS 752 (2 CDs: 87:59)

This is the third volume of early Bach cantatas from Kirkby, Chance, Daniels, Harvey, the Purcell Quartet (Catherine Mackintosh and Catherine Weiss, violins; Richard Boothby, cello; Robert Woolley, organ) and their friends. Volume 1 was devoted to four Mühlhausen cantatas (BWV 4, 106, Read more 131, and 196), and Volume 2 to four cantatas composed in Weimar (BWV 12, 18, 61, and 161). Volume 3’s format is somewhat enigmatic, presenting three Weimar cantatas on two short discs with a cumulative running time just slightly over the limit of a single CD. There are other Weimar cantatas. Why not add one or two to the mix and market the resulting discs individually? Perhaps cantatas in which one or more of the singers have no part (e.g., BWV 54 or 152) were excluded. Cantata 31 poses an opposite problem—its opening chorus requires five voices.

That said, the Volume 3 mix is attractive. The three cantatas, all quite different, were performed over a relatively short span in 1714, though two (Nos. 21 and 182) may have been composed earlier. Two (Nos. 172 and 182) are celebratory in nature; the third is deeply introspective. Two (Nos. 21 and 172) are richly scored (three trumpets in each); the characteristic instrumental voice in the third is a solo recorder. Nos. 21 and 182 open with independent instrumental sinfonias. All three were deemed worthy by Bach of multiple performances, and BWV 21 is generally ranked among the best of all the cantatas.

Expectations for this volume have been established by its precursors: splendid vocal solos and equally accomplished instrumental playing by the Purcells and associates (including, among others, Rachel Beckett, recorder; Anthony Robson, oboe; and David Blackadder, first trumpet). The sticking point for this listener has been the ensemble singing. I initially wrote that the four voices tend to stand out in relief rather than blend into a homogeneous sound—more so than in some other one-to-a-part performances (e.g., Rifkin, Kuijken). I softened my position after listening to Volume 2. For listeners who prefer that esthetic, this set will provide much pleasure. For those who, like me, continue to favor the sound of a small chorus (as in Koopman’s and Suzuki’s performances), the pluses outweigh the minuses by a comfortable margin.

FANFARE: George Chien
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Works on This Recording

Lobe den Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget ihr Saiten!, BWV 172 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter Harvey (Bass), Timothy Hayward (Trumpet), Nicolette Mooen (Viola),
Benedict Hoffnung (Timpani), Anthony Robson (Oboe), Emma Kirkby (Soprano),
Charles Daniels (Tenor), Phillip Bainbridge (Trumpet), Michael Chance (Countertenor),
Rachel Byrt (Viola), David Blackadder (Trumpet), Rachel Beckett (Recorder),
Rebecca Stockwell (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Purcell Quartet
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Weimar, Germany 
Himmelskönig sei willkommen, BWV 182 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Nicolette Mooen (Viola), Rebecca Stockwell (Bassoon), Charles Daniels (Tenor),
Rachel Beckett (Recorder), Michael Chance (Countertenor), Peter Harvey (Bass),
Anthony Robson (Oboe), Benedict Hoffnung (Timpani), Rachel Byrt (Viola),
David Blackadder (Trumpet), Emma Kirkby (Soprano), Phillip Bainbridge (Trumpet),
Timothy Hayward (Trumpet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Purcell Quartet
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Cöthen, Germany 
Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis, BWV 21 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Blackadder (Trumpet), Benedict Hoffnung (Timpani), Rachel Beckett (Recorder),
Anthony Robson (Oboe), Emma Kirkby (Soprano), Peter Harvey (Bass),
Charles Daniels (Tenor), Michael Chance (Countertenor), Rachel Byrt (Viola),
Timothy Hayward (Trumpet), Phillip Bainbridge (Trumpet), Rebecca Stockwell (Bassoon),
Nicolette Mooen (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Purcell Quartet
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Cöthen, Germany 

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