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Bach: Cantatas Vol 37 / Suzuki, Blaze, Et Al


Release Date: 11/27/2007 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1621   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Robin Blaze
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players. 3160190.az_BACH.html

BACH Cantatas: No. 169; No. 170; No. 35; No. 200 Masaaki Suzuki, cond; Robin Blaze (ct); Bach Collegium Japan (period instruments) BIS 1621 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 77:21 Text and Translation)


The three complete cantatas in this set, Nos. 170, 35, and 169, were composed at six-week Read more intervals in 1726 and followed in relatively short order by Nos. 56, 55, 52, 82, and 84—all solo cantatas, a genre that Bach had rarely visited before and would rarely do so again. BIS’s note speculates that this concentration of solo cantatas was a grand experiment by the Leipzig cantor, undertaken after he had established a reliable model, that is, the chorus/recitative and aria/chorale pattern that governs the bulk of the cantata catalog. In addition, that the prominent organ parts in all three cantatas may have been written not for Bach’s own use, as is usually assumed, but to display Wilhelm Friedemann’s burgeoning mastery of the instrument. One might pose a less charitable hypothesis: if, for some unknown reason, St. Thomas’s choir was experiencing temporary difficulties, they might have been masked by shifting the burden onto the soloists. Obviously, if you accept the one-to-a-part argument, this hypothesis falls completely apart. In fact, the chorus, which appears only in the concluding chorale of BWV 169, is represented here by four soloists.


So there is ample justification for deviating from a strict chronological presentation in order to combine these three cantatas on a single disc. (BWV 200 is an isolated movement from another composition, now lost, its function and origin unknown.) Blaze, who has become Suzuki’s alto of choice in recent installments of his series, handles the challenge with requisite tenderness, as in the opening aria of Cantata 170, and, when needed, steadfast resolve, as in the final aria of Cantata 35. Vocally, he maintains superb control throughout. Suzuki’s players, as ever, lend ideal support, with Suzuki himself providing obbligato fireworks in the vital organ solos. BIS’s state-of-the-art reproduction is a given.


Not counting BWV 200, Bach left four solo cantatas for the alto voice—one too many to fit on a single CD—and soloists have been curiously disinclined to duplicate each other’s programs. Topping my list—for male altos, that is—has been Harmonia Mundi’s Andreas Scholl, who, with Philippe Herreweghe conducting, recorded BWV 35, BWV 170, and (instead of No. 169) BWV 54. But, of course, there is also the gender factor. The Finlandia label put together the only other 169/35/170 combination (no BWV 200) that I know. It features mezzo Monika Groop, conducted by Juha Kangas. It’s an excellent option, but for the purpose of comparison it probably belongs in a separate category. Bottom line: I can recommend any of these three discs—Blaze, Groop, or Scholl—without reservation.


FANFARE: George Chien
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Works on This Recording

1.
Gott soll allein mein Herze haben, BWV 169 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Kobe Shoin Women's Univ. Chapel, Japan 
Length: 21 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: German 
2.
Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust, BWV 170 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  St. Crucis Church, Erfurt, Germany 
Length: 23 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: German 
3.
Geist und Seele wird verwirret, BWV 35 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Kobe Shoin Women's Univ. Chapel, Japan 
Length: 25 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: German 
4.
Bekennen will ich seinen Namen, BWV 200 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1742; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Kobe Shoin Women's Univ. Chapel, Japan 
Length: 4 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: German 

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