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Bach: Cantatas Vol 3 / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan


Release Date: 07/09/1996 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 791   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Yumiko KurisuYoshikazu MeraPeter KooyMakoto Sakurada
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Volumes 1 and 2 of the Bach Collegium Japan's Bach cantata cycle concentrated on the composer's earliest cantatas, written during his two-year tenure as organist at Mühlhausen. These cantatas include many memorable moments that clearly indicate how the youthful Bach was experimenting with different instrumental combinations and determining how effective they could be in reinforcing the texts. After Mühlhausen Bach moved to Weimar to assume the post of court organist. His cantata output nearly ceased and didn't fully resume until six years later. To put it bluntly, he was a bit rusty--and although they're well crafted, the four Weimar cantatas offered here generate little of the excitement and display only a trace of the Read more risk-taking exhibited by the works performed in the previous volumes.


Nowhere in these pieces does Bach score for percussion, and only twice (in BWV 12) is a trumpet utilized--and even then its potential is relatively downplayed. With very few exceptions, the arias and recitatives tend to be more linear, even-keeled, and ultimately undramatic. Regardless, even low-key Bach is still grand if perhaps not glorious, and Suzuki's heartfelt renderings of these cantatas are sure to please.

One of the best things about this third volume is that we hear much more of countertenor Yoshikazu Mera, who was featured only infrequently on Volume 2. Here he sings in all four cantatas, and his seamless, luminous voice is as irresistible as it is convincing. With its many subtle sustained vocal runs, the opening aria of BWV 54 affords Mera ample opportunity to display his remarkable talent. In his duets with bass Peter Kooy and tenor Makoto Sakurada in BWV 162, Mera beautifully complements his colleagues. It's well known that at this time Bach was becoming more influenced by Italian style, which explains why he began to include more countertenor arias in his cantatas. And with a countertenor of Mera's caliber, we can appreciate both Bach's affinity for the voice and a first-class realization of its expressive possibilities.

It should also be noted that in BWV 162 Suzuki has reconstructed the third-movement soprano aria because of a missing obbligato part (which incidentally didn't stop Nikolaus Harnoncourt from performing what remains of the piece in spite of how undernourished it sounds). Here, after much consideration (painstakingly outlined in the notes), Suzuki opts to supplement the soprano's role with a recorder obbligato as well as a cello to heighten the organ continuo. The results couldn't be lovelier, with Yoshimichi Hamada's lilting recorder beautifully complementing Yumiko Kurisu's light soprano.


BIS's sound continues to be first rate, with everything superbly integrated in a dry, believably proportionate acoustic space. Likewise, the thorough notes by Tadashi Isoyama and Suzuki remain as erudite and informative as they were in previous volumes. While less than top-drawer Bach, performances of these Weimar cantatas simply don't get any better.
--John Greene, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Yumiko Kurisu (Soprano), Yoshikazu Mera (Countertenor), Peter Kooy (Bass),
Makoto Sakurada (Tenor)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Venue:  Kobe Shoin Women's University, Japan 
Length: 23 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Language: German 
2. Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Yoshikazu Mera (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Venue:  Kobe Shoin Women's University, Japan 
Length: 10 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: German 
3. Ach, ich sehe, itzt, da ich zu Hochzeit gehe, BWV 162 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter Kooy (Bass), Yoshikazu Mera (Countertenor), Yumiko Kurisu (Soprano),
Makoto Sakurada (Tenor)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1715; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Venue:  Kobe Shoin Women's University, Japan 
Length: 15 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: German 
4. Himmelskönig sei willkommen, BWV 182 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Makoto Sakurada (Tenor), Yoshikazu Mera (Countertenor), Yumiko Kurisu (Soprano),
Peter Kooy (Bass)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Venue:  Kobe Shoin Women's University, Japan 
Length: 28 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: German 

Sound Samples

Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12: Sinfonia
Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12: Weinen, Klagen (Chorus)
Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12: Recitative: Wir mussen durch viel Trubsal (Alto)
Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12: Aria: Kreuz und Krone sind verbunden (Alto)
Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12: Aria: Ich folge Christo nach (Bass)
Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12: Aria: Sei getreu (Tenor)
Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12: Chorale: Was Gott tut
Widerstehe doch der Sunde, BWV 54: Aria: Widerstehe doch der Sunde (Alto)
Widerstehe doch der Sunde, BWV 54: Recitative: Die Art verruchter Sunden (Alto)
Widerstehe doch der Sunde, BWV 54: Aria: Wer Sunde tut (Alto)
Ach! ich sehe, itzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe, BWV 162: Aria: Ach! ich sehe (Bass)
Ach! ich sehe, itzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe, BWV 162: Recitative: O grosses Hochzeitfest (Tenor)
Ach! ich sehe, itzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe, BWV 162: Aria: Jesu, Brunnquell aller Gnaden (Soprano)
Ach! ich sehe, itzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe, BWV 162: Recitative: Mein Jesu (Alto)
Ach! ich sehe, itzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe, BWV 162: Aria Duet: In meinem Gott bin ich erfreut! (Alto, Tenor)
Ach! ich sehe, itzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe, BWV 162: Chorale: Ach, ich habe schon erblicket
Himmelskonig, sei willkommen, BWV 182: Sinfonia
Himmelskonig, sei willkommen, BWV 182: Himmelskonig, sei willkommen (Chorus)
Himmelskonig, sei willkommen, BWV 182: Recitative: Siehe, siehe, ich komme (Bass)
Himmelskonig, sei willkommen, BWV 182: Aria: Starkes Lieben (Bass)
Himmelskonig, sei willkommen, BWV 182: Aria: Leget euch dem Heiland unter (Alto)
Himmelskonig, sei willkommen, BWV 182: Aria: Jesu, lass durch Wohl und Weh (Tenor)
Himmelskonig, sei willkommen, BWV 182: Chorale: Jesu, deine Passion
Himmelskonig, sei willkommen, BWV 182: So lasset uns gehen in Salem der Freuden (Chorus)

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