Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
BACH Cantatas: No. 52;1 No. 82; 3 No. 55;2 No. 581,3 • Masaaki Suzuki, cond; Carolyn Sampson (sop);1 Gerd Türk (ten);2 Peter Kooij (bs);3 Bach Collegium Japan (period instruments) • BIS 1631 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 66:00 Text and Translation)
The four cantatas on this disc belong to Bach’s fourth annual cycle, during which Bach wrote most of his solo cantatas. We don’t know why Bach deemphasized the choir during this period, but two plausible hypotheses have been put forward—first, that for reasons unknown to us the choir itself was underperforming, and second, more plausibly, that Bach was concentrating on the
composition of the Saint Matthew Passion. (If, as has been suggested, Bach was creating a numerological framework for Saint Matthew’s gospel narrative—729 measures in 27 segments—he had more on his mind than whether the altos hit C? where they should have sung a C?. For the numerologically impaired, 729=27x27; 27=33, i.e., 3x3x3, a Trinitarian slam-dunk.) Volume 37 was devoted to cantatas for alto voice; here, in Volume 38, the other three voices get their licks.
This disc presents the perennial favorite, No. 82 for bass; No. 55, Bach’s only cantata for solo tenor; Cantata 52 for soprano—you might call it the “Brandenburg Cantata,” since it opens with a version of the first movement of the First Brandenburg Concerto; and a dialogue cantata, No. 58, for soprano and bass. Peter Kooij, who knows more about the idiom than any bass other than Klaus Mertens, finally gets to do the most popular of all the cantatas, and he does it very well. Similarly, Turk, another Suzuki favorite, contributes a fine Cantata 55. Sampson is new to the BIS/Suzuki enterprise, but she, likewise, is in excellent form for her cantatas. (Incidentally, Robin Blaze, the featured artist in Volume 37, joins the party, singing the alto line in the chorales at the ends of Cantatas 52 and 55.) The superb sonics and presentation by BIS are givens, as are Suziki’s direction and the playing of Bach Collegium Japan.
Kooij’s excellence notwithstanding, Quasthoff retains the top spot on my burgeoning list of Cantata 82s. I don’t have particular favorites for the other cantatas, though I do recall fondly Arleen Augér’s BWV 52 in Helmuth Rilling’s edition. Overall, here is another winning entry in Suzuki’s ongoing Bach Cantata project.
FANFARE: George Chien
Works on This Recording
Falsche Welt, dir trau' ich nicht, BWV 52 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Gerd Türk (Tenor),
Peter Kooy (Bass),
Carolyn Sampson (Soprano)
Bach Collegium Japan
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany
Ich habe genug, BWV 82 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Written: 1727; Cöthen, Germany
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