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Bach: Cantatas Vol 7 / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan


Release Date: 08/07/2000 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 881   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Yoshikazu MeraMakoto SakuradaPeter KooyIngrid Schmithüsen
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Volume 7 of the Bach Collegium Japan's ongoing cycle includes three cantatas (BWV 61, 132, and 172) composed during Bach's final years at Weimar as well as one (BWV 63) written around the same time but likely not performed there. What we do know is that BWV 63, a cantata for Christmas Day, was used by Bach on several occasions, including his first Christmas in Leipzig in 1723. From the outset it's clear that Bach draws immense inspiration from his subject, with a jubilant opening movement featuring four trumpets, timpani, full woodwinds and strings, and one of his most lively chorales that thoroughly evokes if not proclaims the joy of Jesus' birth. Masaaki Suzuki and his forces rise to the occasion,
Read more delivering a powerfully charged performance that outclasses all others--highlighted by the musicians' remarkable ability to negotiate the wide range of expression required throughout the work.


Soprano Ingrid Schmithüsen and bass Peter Kooy's pensive third-movement aria (duet), with its haunting complementary oboe obbligato, couldn't be more lovely and passionately convincing. Likewise countertenor Yoshikazu Mera and tenor Makato Sakurada's sprightly fifth-movement duet set against a highly rhythmic momentum of strings and organ continuo vividly extols the text's message of thankfulness and grace. Add three highly dramatic, near-Italianate recitatives and a glorious spirited choral finale and you've got one extraordinarily auspicious first entry among Bach's numerous Christmas cantata settings.

The remaining three cantatas also feature many inspired moments. For instance, BWV 61 includes a brief though very suspenseful fourth-movent recitative--"Siehe, ich stehe vor der Tür und Klopfe an" (Behold, I stand before the door and knock)--where Bach imaginatively sets bass Kooy against a sharply delineated, austere "knocking" pulse of plucked pizzicato strings and organ. As well in the opening aria of BWV 132 "Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn" (Prepare the ways, prepare the road) Bach affords soprano Schmithusen numerous opportunities to display her prodigious talents; her deft ability to trill and sustain notes while remaining integral to the continuo line is simply a joy.


In the final cantata--BWV 172 Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! (Ring out, songs, resound strings!)--as the title suggests, back are the trumpets, timpani, and overall full orchestration heard earlier in BWV 63. While the rousing full-tilt opening and grand choral finale certainly impress, Kooy's bracing third-movement aria set against a heroic backdrop of brass, and the ravishing fifth-movement aria (duet) with Schmithüsen and Mera are equally inspiring. This is an impressive installment in a cycle that so far has done nearly everything right. Brilliant.
--John Greene, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 61 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Yoshikazu Mera (Countertenor), Makoto Sakurada (Tenor), Peter Kooy (Bass),
Ingrid Schmithüsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Kobe Shoin Women's University, Japan 
2.
Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Yoshikazu Mera (Countertenor), Makoto Sakurada (Tenor), Peter Kooy (Bass),
Ingrid Schmithüsen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1713-1715; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Kobe Shoin Women's University, Japan 
3.
Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn!, BWV 132 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Ingrid Schmithüsen (Soprano), Peter Kooy (Bass), Yoshikazu Mera (Countertenor),
Makoto Sakurada (Tenor)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1715; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Kobe Shoin Women's University, Japan 
4.
Lobe den Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget ihr Saiten!, BWV 172 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter Kooy (Bass), Ingrid Schmithüsen (Soprano), Yoshikazu Mera (Countertenor),
Makoto Sakurada (Tenor)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Kobe Shoin Women's University, Japan 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 An amazing performance and recording April 3, 2012 By Glen L Carroll (Seattle, WA) See All My Reviews "I purchased this CD namely for the Cantata BWV 172, but was overwhelmed at the outstanding performances and sound of the rest of the Cantatas listed. I had never heard of the Bach Collegium of Japan with their conductor, Masaaki Suziki. Every Cantata is sung with voices that seem to reach to the stars. The choirs and soloists all have world class voices and Suziki brings out the best of them. I will keep my eye open for other recordings to be released in the future. This CD is a "must have" addition to anybody's music library, especially if they treasure Bach's many Cantatas. The acoustic and the sound engineering is also "world class"." Report Abuse
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