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Bach: Cantatas Vol 20 / Koopman, Amsterdam Baroque


Release Date: 02/14/2006 
Label:  Challenge   Catalog #: 72220   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret FaultlessJames GilchristKlaus MertensSandrine Piau,   ... 
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque OrchestraAmsterdam Baroque Choir
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 20 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



Carl Philippe Emanuel Bach reported that his father completed five annual cycles of cantatas at Leipzig. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of the fourth-cycle cantatas has survived, and we have no way of knowing which, if any, of the extant later cantatas actually belonged to the fifth cycle. Five fourth-cycle cantatas, Nos. 188, 171, 159, 145, and 174, appeared in Koopman’s Volume 19; two, Nos. 149 and 156, and a possible third, BWV 120, are included in the current set. Christoph Wolff wrote (in The New Grove ) that “the cantatas after 1729 contribute nothing essentially new,” meaning, I assume, that Bach was less concerned with innovation than with working in an Read more idiom that had served him well over the years. Be assured, though, that there is nothing tired about the late cantatas.


One need look no farther than Cantata 29, composed to honor the newly elected Town Council in 1731. It opens with one of Bach’s happiest inspirations, an orchestral sinfonia derived from the preludio of the third partita for unaccompanied violin, here scored for full orchestra with obbligato organ. One might be tempted to believe that the council and its cantor, frequently at odds, actually liked each other. But imagine my surprise when I heard Cantata 120a for the very first time—I’m not aware of any other recordings of it—and discovered that its fourth movement is the same sinfonia that begins BWV 29! BWV 120a, a wedding cantata from 1729, borrowed heavily from another Town Council installation cantata (No. 120) composed earlier in that year. The shared sinfonia was actually written for the newlyweds, but the bulk of their music was not. Could they have been unaware of that, or did they request something similar to what they had heard at the installation? In either case, the music of the opening chorus, shared by both cantatas, eventually turned up once more as the “Et expecto” of the Mass in B Minor. Meanwhile, Bach reused the first chorus of Cantata 29 not once, but twice in the B-Minor Mass.


If the BWV 120a/BWV 29 sinfonia was one of Bach’s happiest inspirations, the sinfonia to Cantata 156 was one of his most exquisite. Probably borrowed from a lost oboe concerto, it subsequently found a new home as the middle movement of the Keyboard Concerto in F Minor, BWV 1056.


Another highlight of the set is Cantata No. 11, the Ascension Oratorio of 1735. Bach’s oratorios are musically little different from his cantatas, the main distinction being that the Biblical narrative is told by the recitatives. In BWV 11, the opening chorus is balanced by a closing chorus, and the central movement is a simple four-part chorale. Once again, Bach tapped a movement of this cantata, the alto aria, this time substantially reworked, for the B-Minor Mass.


The rare, if not unique, recording of Cantata 120a should be sufficient to make this set indispensable, but there is another noteworthy bonus, a newly rediscovered strophic aria for soprano, composed in 1713 for the 53rd birthday of Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar. Strophic arias were popular at the time, but this is the only known example by Bach. The original has 12 strophes, each followed by an instrumental ritornello. Delighted as we are to welcome Lisa Larsson back into our living room, and as dedicated as we are to the memory of J. S. Bach, we are pleased (or perhaps relieved) to report that Koopman has chosen to record only four of the strophes, reducing the duration of the piece from nearly an hour (do the math) to just under 17 minutes. Please don’t get me wrong. This discovery, made by Michael Maul in the Herzogin Anna Amalia Library, Weimar, in May 2005, is an important one—not only for itself but also for the hope that not all lost Bach is irretrievably lost. The aria itself is a substantial work, but 12 repetitions, even for Bach, would be a little much.


Once again, Koopman, his players, and his crew have scored a triumph. Don’t look now, folks, but this epic marathon is entering the home stretch.


FANFARE: George Chien
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Works on This Recording

1.
Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge, BWV 120a by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Faultless (Violin), James Gilchrist (Tenor), Klaus Mertens (Bass),
Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Ton Koopman (Organ), Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1729; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 29 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam (06/21/2001); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (03/06/2002 - 03/07/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (05/09/2002 - 05/14/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (09/25/2002 - 10/03/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (02/23/2003 - 02/25/2003); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (10/13/2003 - 10/19/2003) 
2.
Ich steh' mit einem Fuss im Grabe, BWV 156 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Bogna Bartosz (Alto), Margaret Faultless (Violin), Klaus Mertens (Bass),
Katharina Spreckelsen (Oboe)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1729; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 13 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam (12/03/2001); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (05/09/2002 - 05/14/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (09/25/2002 - 10/03/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (10/13/2003 - 10/19/2003) 
3.
Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn Ihn, BWV 1127 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Mike Fentross (Lute), Alberto Rasi (Double Bass), Jonathan Manson (Cello),
Katherine McGillivray (Viola), David Rabinovich (Violin), Alida Schat (Violin),
Lisa Larsson (Soprano), Ton Koopman (Organ)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1713; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/2005 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam 
Length: 16 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: German 
4.
Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg, BWV 149 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Bogna Bartosz (Alto), Wouter Verschuren (Bassoon),
Klaus Mertens (Bass), Christoph Prégardien (Tenor)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1728; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 17 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam (09/25/2002 - 10/03/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (10/13/2003 - 10/19/2003) 
5.
Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit, BWV 14 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Andrew [French Horn] Clark (French Horn), Klaus Mertens (Bass),
James Gilchrist (Tenor), Johannette Zomer (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 15 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam (05/09/2002 - 05/14/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (02/23/2003 - 02/25/2003) 
6.
Wir danken dir, Gott, BWV 29 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Ton Koopman (Organ), Margaret Faultless (Violin), Klaus Mertens (Bass),
James Gilchrist (Tenor), Bogna Bartosz (Alto), Sandrine Piau (Soprano),
Katharina Spreckelsen (Oboe)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1731; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 20 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam (05/09/2002 - 05/14/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (09/25/2002 - 10/03/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (02/23/2003 - 02/25/2003); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (10/13/2003 - 10/19/2003) 
7.
Nun danket alle Gott, BWV 192 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Klaus Mertens (Bass), Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1730; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 10 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam (09/25/2002 - 10/03/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (10/28/2002 - 10/29/2002) 
8.
Gott, mann lobet dich in der Stille, BWV 120 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Klaus Mertens (Bass), Bogna Bartosz (Alto), James Gilchrist (Tenor),
Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Margaret Faultless (Violin)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1728-1729; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 19 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam (06/21/2001); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (05/09/2002 - 05/14/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (09/25/2002 - 10/03/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (02/23/2003 - 02/25/2003); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (10/13/2003 - 10/19/2003) 
9.
Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen, BWV 11 "Ascension Oratorio" by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Klaus Mertens (Bass), James Gilchrist (Tenor), Bogna Bartosz (Alto),
Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 26 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam (05/09/2002 - 05/14/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (09/25/2002 - 10/03/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (10/13/2003 - 10/19/2003) 
10.
Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, BWV 9 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Wilbert Hazelzet (Flute), Margaret Faultless (Violin), Katharina Spreckelsen (Oboe d'amore),
Alfredo Bernardini (Oboe d'amore), James Gilchrist (Tenor), Klaus Mertens (Bass),
Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Bogna Bartosz (Alto)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1732-1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 17 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam (05/09/2002 - 05/14/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (10/28/2002 - 10/29/2002) 
11.
Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt, BWV 112 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Katharina Spreckelsen (Oboe d'amore), Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Klaus Mertens (Bass),
Bogna Bartosz (Alto), Christoph Prégardien (Tenor)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1731; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 11 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam (05/09/2002 - 05/14/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (09/25/2002 - 10/03/2002); Waalse Church, Amsterdam (02/23/2003 - 02/25/2003) 

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