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Bach: Aus Der Tiefe Bwv 745, Etc / Pierlot, Fuge, Mena, Mammel, Macleod, Ricercar Consort


Release Date: 03/03/2009 
Label:  Mirare   Catalog #: 057   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Carlos MenaHans Jörg MammelKatharine FugeStephan Macleod
Conductor:  Philippe Pierlot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ricercar Consort
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BACH Cantatas: No. 131; No. 182; No. 4 Philippe Pierlot, cond; Katherine Fuge (sop); Carlos Mena (ct); Hans Jörg Mammel (ten); Stephan MacLeod (bs); Ricercar Consort (period instruments) MIRARE 57 (68:08 Text and Translation)


This disc, which bears the title, “Aus der Tieffen,” of Cantata 131, is intended to show how Bach’s approach to the cantata developed from his earliest efforts, strongly influenced by Buxtehude, Schütz, and—not least—his distinguished ancestors, Read more toward the more mature style he was to perfect in Leipzig. BWV 131 (1707) is thought to have been Bach’s first cantata, though Gilles Cantagrel’s notes suggest that it is not actually a cantata at all, and might more profitably be described as a “sacred concerto.” (Bach, himself, never used the term “cantata.” One suspects that he was too busy with his various duties to bother with such details.) BWV 182, Himmelskönig sie wilkommen (1714), was the first of Bach’s cantatas performed in, and presumably composed for, Weimar. And, indeed, it more closely resembles the later pattern, with choral movements at the beginning—after an instrumental sonata—and end, enclosing a series of solos (a recitative and three arias). Of course, the miraculous Cantata No. 4, Christ lag in Todesbanden , stands apart. Gerhard Herz once raised the possibility that it might have been a test piece and Bach’s very first cantata, but that distinction is now almost universally bestowed on No. 131.


These are one-to-a-part performances. I’m not always enamored of the practice, but it usually works quite well in the early cantatas and does so here. In Cantata 4, in particular, having capable soloists sing the choral movements is a better option than entrusting the arias to the choir. Ricercar’s soloists are capable and then some. Fuge is a frequent participant in Gardiner’s Pilgrimage project and MacLeod is a regular contributor in Eric Milnes’ Atma series. Both know the idiom well. Mena and Mammel are not as familiar to me, but both acquit themselves with distinction on this disc. Incidentally, as a bass, I couldn’t help being impressed by the apparent ease with which MacLeod negotiates the two-octave plunge in Cantata 4’s bass aria. The excellent period-instruments ensemble, Ricercar Consort, has been around for two decades or more, but only François Fernandez, first violin, and Philippe Pierlot, viola da gamba, remain from the original roster. Pierlot has assumed the leadership of the consort. His direction tends to be lively, and he manages to find the dance rhythms that underlie much of the music.


Another term that Bach undoubtedly never used is “swing”—as in “It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that . . .”. But his music most assuredly had it, and, when appropriate, so do these performances. I’ll listen to them again, probably more than once.


FANFARE: George Chien
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Works on This Recording

1.
Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Carlos Mena (Countertenor), Hans Jörg Mammel (Tenor), Katharine Fuge (Soprano),
Stephan Macleod (Bass)
Conductor:  Philippe Pierlot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ricercar Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1707; Mühlhausen, Germany 
2.
Himmelskönig sei willkommen, BWV 182 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Carlos Mena (Countertenor), Hans Jörg Mammel (Tenor), Katharine Fuge (Soprano),
Stephan Macleod (Bass)
Conductor:  Philippe Pierlot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ricercar Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Cöthen, Germany 
3.
Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Carlos Mena (Countertenor), Hans Jörg Mammel (Tenor), Katharine Fuge (Soprano),
Stephan Macleod (Bass)
Conductor:  Philippe Pierlot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ricercar Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708; Weimar, Germany 

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