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Bach: Dialogue Cantatas / Quasthoff, Röschmann, Et Al

Release Date: 11/13/2007 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 4776591   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Thomas QuasthoffDorothea Röschmann
Conductor:  Rainer Kussmaul
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Baroque SoloistsBerlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BACH Dialogue Cantatas: No. 57; No. 152; No. 49 Rainer Kussmaul, cond; Dorothea Röschmann (sop); Thomas Quasthoff (bbar); Berlin RIAS CCh (James Wood, dir); Berliner Baroque Soloists DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 001005202 (61:00 Text and Translation)

The surprising title of Dorothea Schröder’s introductory essay is “A Delight in Dying and the Joys of Heaven.” Her subject is a relatively unfamiliar subset of Bach’s cantatas in which the relationship between Savior and believer is expressed Read more allegorically in conversations between Christ, the bridegroom, sung by the bass (as in the Passions), and his bride, the faithful Soul (or, collectively, the church), sung by a soprano. The number of these so-called “dialogue” cantatas is fairly small. Bach apparently applied the designation only five times (Cantatas. 32, 49, 57, 58, and 60), but others (Nos. 66, 145, 152, 172, and, by extension, Nos. 21 and 140) also qualify. It is in these cantatas that Bach, whose job description enjoined him from writing music that his congregation might deem “too operatic,” was able to depict in musical terms a heaven that, to the disinterested listener, might sound very much like a garden of earthly delights. Bach, as we all know, never wrote an opera, but his dialogue cantatas can be taken as evidence that he was capable of doing so.

Cantata 57, composed for St. Stephen’s Day in 1725, opens sternly, but Jesus’s invitation to the Soul in the central recitative causes an abrupt change of mood. The soprano’s second aria, rapturously anticipating the union of Soul and Savior, leads to the affirming chorale, the only appearance of the chorus on the disc. BWV 152, first performed December 30, 1714, in Weimar, is a marvel of inspiration and economy, scored only for recorder, oboe, viola d’amore, viola da gamba, continuo, and the two soloists. After a series of short homilies, the soloists are joined in dialogue in the concluding duet. Cantata 49, composed for November 1726, begins with a sinfonia derived from a lost oboe concerto, later transformed into the finale of the harpsichord concerto BWV 1053. Presumably Bach himself played the organ, which is employed prominently throughout. The central theme, the wedding of Jesus and the Soul, allowed Bach to write some of his most romantic (or “operatic”) music, culminating in the joyous, dance-like finale duet.

The present release is a logical successor to Quasthoff’s outstanding disc of solo cantatas, and, in Röschmann he has a superb partner. The two make beautiful music together (and individually). In a secular setting, you’d be tempted to call this program a love-fest, and—guess what?—that might not be at all inappropriate in the current context. Kussmaul and his band provide splendid support, with special mention due to organist Raphael Alpermann. DG’s sound is clean and clear. This is a triumph all around.

FANFARE: George Chien
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Works on This Recording

Ich geh' und suche mit Verlangen, BWV 49 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Thomas Quasthoff (Baritone), Dorothea Röschmann (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rainer Kussmaul
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Baroque Soloists
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 24 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: German 
Selig ist der Mann, der die Anfechtung erdulet, BWV 57 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Dorothea Röschmann (Soprano), Thomas Quasthoff (Baritone)
Conductor:  Rainer Kussmaul
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus,  Berlin Baroque Soloists
Written: 1725 
Length: 20 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: German 
Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn, BWV 152 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Dorothea Röschmann (Soprano), Thomas Quasthoff (Baritone)
Conductor:  Rainer Kussmaul
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Baroque Soloists
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 16 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: German 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Dissappointing May 18, 2012 By JAMES M. (PHILADELPHIA, PA) See All My Reviews "Ithese had hoped these cantatas would help close a small gap in my collection of Bach Cantatas. Unfortunately, the dialogue of love sounded more like a dirge between two entering into hades; according they went into the rubbish heap. In the future I will stick with cantatas performed by ensembles conducted by shuch as Helmuth Rilling, Fritz Werner, and John Eliot Gardiner." Report Abuse
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