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Bach: Cantatas Vol 21 / Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists


Release Date: 05/09/2006 
Label:  Soli Deo Gloria Records   Catalog #: 118   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Alex HoltonClaudia SchubertPeter HarveyNathalie Stutzmann,   ... 
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque SoloistsMonteverdi ChoirCambridge Trinity College Choir,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This eclectic selection covers works for Quinquagesima, the Annunciation, Palm Sunday and Oculi (the third Sunday in Lent) in arguably the least even of the seven releases so far. Yet there are significant contributions smattered throughout, not least Nathalie Stutzmann's purple-clad Widerstehe (BVVV54). This true contralto imparts a captivating resilience in the face of sin's devious tricks. Inspired by the chamber-like ecclesiastical works of Bach's Weimar period, the reduced string ensemble lends a similar intimacy to BWV182, though both works suffer from some scrappy playing that clearly could not be rectified simply by dropping in 'patches' from before or after. Stutzmann, however, projects just the right sense of involvement without Read more forcing the issue.

Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern (BWV1) is the major work here — a masterpiece of understated majesty and gentle celebration (for the Annunciation) where Bach appears to alight on the morning star as a direct resonance of Epiphany; such musical connections within the cantata oeuvre, throughout the church calendar, provide listeners with endless sources of fascination. Gardiner's performance is more an example of a splendid occasion captured rather than a notable addition to a distinguished discography.

BVVV22 and 23 were Bach's first cantatas to have been performed at Leipzig, audition pieces for the post of Thomascantor before his eventual appointment. Both were performed in the same service on the morning of February 7, 1723. Given the Lenten context, Bach hardly had a chance to flex his muscles in opulent displays of orchestration but he makes up for this with two pieces of subtle stylistic range. Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe (BWV22) is strikingly prescient of Passion narrative as Christ prepares for his death with melismas of distilled sadness and acceptance of destiny. Peter Harvey's is an affecting performance, as is the incrementally impressive Du wahrer Gott (BWV23), of which Gardiner completely has the measure.

One special movement to bottle? 'Es ist vollbracht' from BVVV159 arguably even better than the setting of the words at the end of the St John Passion. Heartfelt singing from Harvey is adorned by playing from oboist Marcel Ponseele which is as exquisite as you'll ever hear.

-- Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Gramophone [5/2006]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe, BWV 22 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Alex Holton (Soprano), Claudia Schubert (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Harvey (Baritone),
Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto), James Gilchrist (Tenor), James Oxley (Tenor),
Malin Hartelius (Soprano)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Cambridge Trinity College Choir  ... 
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Cöthen, Germany 
2.
Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott, BWV 127 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Malin Hartelius (Soprano), Alex Holton (Soprano), Claudia Schubert (Mezzo Soprano),
Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto), James Gilchrist (Tenor), James Oxley (Tenor),
Peter Harvey (Baritone)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Cambridge Trinity College Choir  ... 
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Leipzig, Germany 
3.
Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem, BWV 159 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter Harvey (Baritone), James Oxley (Tenor), Malin Hartelius (Soprano),
Alex Holton (Soprano), Claudia Schubert (Mezzo Soprano), Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto),
James Gilchrist (Tenor)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Cambridge Trinity College Choir  ... 
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1729; Leipzig, Germany 
4.
Himmelskönig sei willkommen, BWV 182 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Malin Hartelius (Soprano), Alex Holton (Soprano), Claudia Schubert (Mezzo Soprano),
Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto), James Gilchrist (Tenor), James Oxley (Tenor),
Peter Harvey (Baritone)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Cambridge Trinity College Choir  ... 
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Cöthen, Germany 
5.
Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  James Oxley (Tenor), Peter Harvey (Baritone), Malin Hartelius (Soprano),
Alex Holton (Soprano), Claudia Schubert (Mezzo Soprano), Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto),
James Gilchrist (Tenor)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Cambridge Trinity College Choir  ... 
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Cöthen, Germany 
6.
Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter Harvey (Baritone), James Oxley (Tenor), James Gilchrist (Tenor),
Malin Hartelius (Soprano), Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto), Alex Holton (Soprano),
Claudia Schubert (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Cambridge Trinity College Choir  ... 
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Leipzig, Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 If I could only Own one set of Cantatas July 10, 2012 By Clifford H C. (Thompson, MB) See All My Reviews "If I could only Own one set of Cantatas... This is It! I have always been a Gardiner Fan for three reasons. One is the amazing way he brings Bach to life. The energy and beauty that Gardiner brings to his cantata performances can take your breath away. Listening to Gardiners Cantata's, it doesn't matter whether it's authentic, to slow, to fast... it just is. You can feel the admiration, study and love for Bach's Music flow through the performance. The Second reason is the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists. These performers never cease to amaze me. The Monteverdi Choir can do the impossible and the incredible without ever sounding stressed or sharp. The third reason is the talent, Gardiner is able to draw on in these Cantata performances. The soloists on this series of recordings are top notch. This recording shows a freshness and energy that may other recordings lack. Gardiners idea of performing the Cantatas with only one week of preparation the way Bach would have, breathes life into the music. BWV 22 - features one of Bach's best duets "Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn" for soprano and alto. This has become the definitive performance of this duet for me. BWV 1 - Wei schon leuchtet der Morgenstern opening chorus is remarkable. The first time I heard this music performed by another group it left me cold. It dragged, the vocal lines were muddled. It completely lacked the clarity and transparency required. Gardiner's version is a revelation. The music swells and dances and shows the sheer joy Bach could bring to the "Art of music making". I have listen to this chorus almost every day since I purchased this recording." Report Abuse
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