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Bach: Cantatas, Bwv 4, 31, 67

Bach,J.s. / Gewandhausorchester / Biller
Release Date: 03/25/2014 
Label:  Rondeau Productions   Catalog #: 4045   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Hymnorum, Anonymous, F. sJohann Sebastian BachGeorg Christoph Biller
Conductor:  Georg Christoph Biller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  UK) Florilegium (Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BACH Cantatas Nos. 22; 1 23; 2 182. 3 3 Hymns Georg Christoph Biller, cond; 1 Paul Bernewitz, 2 Johannes Hildebrandt, 2 Jakob Feyer (trb); 1 Stefan Kahle; Read more class="SUPER12">2,3 Jakob Wetzig, 2 Henrik Weimann (alt); 1,3 Patrick Grahl, 2,3 Tobias Hunger (ten); 2,3 Gotthold Schwarz, 1,2 Matthias Weichert (bs); Thomanerchor Leipzig; Gewandhausorchester RONDEAU 4044 (70:14 Text and Translation)


BACH Cantatas Nos. 4; 1 31; 2 67 3. BILLER St.-Thomas-Ostermusik. 4 3 Hymns 4 Georg Christoph Biller, cond; 1 Paul Bernewitz, 2 Johannes Hildebrandt, 1 Friedrich Praetorius (trb); 1,2 Stefan Kahle; 3,4 Jakob Wetzig (alt); 2 Tobias Hunger, 1,3,4 Martin Petzold, 4 Robert Pohler (ten); 2 Andreas Scheibner, 1 Gotthold Schwarz, 3 Matthias Weichert, 4 Julius Sattler (bs); Thomanerchor Leipzig; Gewandhausorchester RONDEAU 4045 (76:15 Text and Translation)


By the time you read this, Rondeau’s 10-disc series of Bach’s cantatas should be complete and available, but it’s possible now to make a few generalizations about the set. First, the Thomanerchor: world-renowned, all-male, relatively large, superbly trained and disciplined. The Gewandhausorchester: world class; modern instruments, top-flight soloists, plays weekly concerts with the choir. Soloists: boys from the choir, men often have ties to the choir or to Leipzig. The men are excellent for the most part; the boys can be an uneven lot. Direction: Cantor Georg Christoph Biller, the current successor to J. S. Bach, is of necessity a Bach specialist. His interpretive outlook is current, but mainstream. Biller introduces each cantata with a congregational hymn (sung by a select choir). A cathedral ambience prevails in the recordings, which are individually and collectively worth hearing.


The current releases are representative of the series. There’s a historical oddity about their programming: Five of the six cantatas were written before Bach was established in Leipzig. Since Leipzig traditionally had its major musical event on Good Friday, Bach’s only existing Easter composition from Leipzig is the Easter Oratorio . BWV 4, one of his earliest and best-loved cantatas, was composed in Mühlhausen; Nos. 13 and 182 in Weimar. Cantatas 22 and 23 were test pieces for Bach’s application for the Leipzig post while he was still in Cöthen. Both had their first performances in Leipzig, and all of the earlier cantatas were eventually performed there as well.


Readers may recall that I’ve often had reservations about the boy sopranos in earlier reviews of this set. Surprise! I was transfixed by the singing of treble Paul Bernewitz and countertenor Stefan Kahle in their Cantata 4 duet. And treble Friedrich Praetoruis and tenor Martin Petzold were nearly as impressive in their duet. Both Bernewitz and Praetorius are veterans of this series, but neither has sounded quite as right as they are here, where they contribute substantially to the success of the enterprise. Christ lag in Todesbanden has long been one of my favorite cantatas, and this one is as good as it gets.


I must take note of another surprise—not so happy—on the Easter disc, namely Biller’s St.-Thomas-Ostermusik . It’s an 18-minute piece for soloists, choir, organ, three cellos, and percussion. Maybe you had to be there. Following immediately after Cantata 4, it seemed out of place, and I confess that the second time I listened to the disc I used the advance button to get to Cantata 31. With apologies to Cantor Biller, I’ll give it another try when I have a little more leisure time. Meanwhile, enjoy the Bach.


FANFARE: George Chien
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Works on This Recording

1.
Vita sanctorum by Hymnorum, Anonymous, F. s
Orchestra/Ensemble:  UK) Florilegium (Ensemble
Length: 1 Minutes 8 Secs. 
2.
Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Georg Christoph Biller
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708; Weimar, Germany 
Venue:  Thomaskirche Leipzig 
Length: 20 Minutes 37 Secs. 
3.
St. Thomas Ostermusik, for soloists, chorus & orchestra by Georg Christoph Biller
Conductor:  Georg Christoph Biller
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Thomaskirche Leipzig 
Length: 16 Minutes 2 Secs. 
4.
Vox angelorum nuncia by Hymnorum, Anonymous, F. s
Orchestra/Ensemble:  UK) Florilegium (Ensemble
Length: 1 Minutes 2 Secs. 
5.
Der Himmel lacht! die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Georg Christoph Biller
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1715; Cöthen, Germany 
Venue:  Thomaskirche Leipzig 
Length: 19 Minutes 28 Secs. 
6.
Chorus novae Ierusalem by Hymnorum, Anonymous, F. s
Orchestra/Ensemble:  UK) Florilegium (Ensemble
Written: Europe 
Length: 1 Minutes 0 Secs. 
7.
Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ, der auferstanden ist von der Todten, BWV 67 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Georg Christoph Biller
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Thomaskirche Leipzig 
Length: 13 Minutes 4 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Hymn: Vita sanctorum I: Vita sanctorum I
Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4: Sinfonia
Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4: Versus 1: Christ lag in Todes Banden (Chorus)
Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4: Versus 2: Duet: Den Tod niemand zwingen kunnt (Soprano, Alto)
Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4: Versus 3: Jesus Christus, Gottes Sohn (Tenor)
Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4: Versus 4: Es war ein wunderlicher Krieg (Chorus)
Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4: Versus 5: Hier ist das rechte Osterlamm (Bass)
Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4: Versus 6: Duet: So feieren wir das hohe Fest (Soprano, Tenor)
Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4: Versus 7: Chorale: Wir essen und leben wohl (Chorus)
St. Thomas Ostermusik: Der schone Ostertag!
St. Thomas Ostermusik: Als aber der Sabbat um war
St. Thomas Ostermusik: Christ ist erstanden von der Marter alle
St. Thomas Ostermusik: Und sie gingern eilend zum Grabe hinaus
St. Thomas Ostermusik: Gott ist mir auferstanden
St. Thomas Ostermusik: Aber die elf Junger gingen nach Galilaa auf einen Berg
St. Thomas Ostermusik: Christus hat keine Hande, nur unsere Hande
Vox Angelorum nuncia
Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31: Sonata
Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31: Der Himmel lacht! (Chorus)
Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31: Recitative: Erwunschter Tag! sei, Seele (Bass)
Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31: Aria: Furst des Lebens, starker Streiter (Bass)
Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31: Recitative: So stehe dann, du gottergebne Seele (Tenor)
Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31: Aria: Adam muss in uns verwesen (Tenor)
Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31: Recitative: Weil dann das Haupt seiner Glied (Soprano)
Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31: Aria: Letzte Stunde, brich herein (Soprano)
Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31: So fahr ich hin zu Jesu Christ (Chorus)
Chorus novae Jerusalem
Halt im Gedachtnis Jesum Christ, BWV 67: Halt im Gedachtnis Jesum Christ (Chorus)
Halt im Gedachtnis Jesum Christ, BWV 67: Aria: Mein Jesus ist erstanden (Tenor)
Halt im Gedachtnis Jesum Christ, BWV 67: Recitative: Mein Jesu, heissest du (Alto)
Halt im Gedachtnis Jesum Christ, BWV 67: Chorale: Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag
Halt im Gedachtnis Jesum Christ, BWV 67: Recitative: Doch scheinet fast (Alto)
Halt im Gedachtnis Jesum Christ, BWV 67: Aria: Friede sei mit euch! (Bass, Chorus)
Halt im Gedachtnis Jesum Christ, BWV 67: Chorale: Du Friedefurst, Herr Jesu Christ

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