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Desire - Bach: Cantatas / Ponseele, Il Gardellino

Release Date: 11/09/2010 
Label:  Passacaille   Catalog #: 956   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Christoph BachJohann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Lieven TermontPatrick Van GoethemCaroline WeynantsMarcus Ullmann,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Gardellino
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BACH Cantatas: Nos. 32 1-4 , 49 1,4 , 154 1-4. J. Christoph BACH Cantata, Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug hätte 2 Marcel Ponseele, cond; 1 Caroline Weynants (sop); 2 Patrick Van Goethem (ct); Read more class="SUPER12">3 Marcus Ullman (ten); 4 Lieven Termont (bar); Il Gardellino (period instruments) PASSACAILLE (67: 26 Text, no Translation)

I haven’t quite grasped the theme of this collection or the significance of its title, Desire . Two of the cantatas, Nos. 32 and 154—both composed for the first Sunday after Epiphany—tell the same story, but the third, BWV 49, for Trinity 20, is unrelated. Each cantata is scored for a different set of performers. To no one’s surprise, the oboe or oboes d’amore are prominent in all three, though the solo part in the sinfonia of BWV 49, borrowed from a lost oboe concerto, was rewritten for the organ. We now think that son Wilhelm Friedemann, not father J. S., was the intended beneficiary. All three cantatas are candidates for chamber-scaled performances; none have complex choral movements. The four voices are combined only for chorale settings in Nos. 32 and 154. Cantata 154 employs alto, tenor, and bass soloists, but Nos. 32 and 49 are dialogue cantatas, in which the soprano represents the Faithful Soul and the bass the voice of Jesus.

“Desire” may appropriately describe the Soul’s longing for Jesus in Cantata 49, but in the remainder of the program anxiety seems to set the tone. The Epiphany cantatas tell, in quite different ways, of the 12-year-old Jesus being lost in the Temple of Jerusalem, while the bonus track, composed by Sebastian Bach’s most distinguished ancestor, Johann Christoph, is a lament, scored for the unusual combination of alto, violin, three violas, and continuo. But all three cantatas end joyfully, with the union of Jesus and the Soul (No. 49) and the reuniting of Jesus and his family (32 and 154).

Ponseele’s direction is consistently on point, and his mastery of the Baroque oboe is, as always, unquestioned. The instrumental cohort—with a special nod to organist Shalev Ad-El for his virtuoso turn in BWV 49—is superb throughout. Soprano Caroline Weynants’s plaintive BWV 32 aria sets a high bar at the top of the disc, and other soloists respond in kind. It all adds up to a disc that is worth a hearing.

Unfortunately the booklet, which has notes in English, French, German, and Dutch, provides texts only in the original German. The notes and texts, incidentally, aren’t printed in program order, a minor annoyance.

Now here’s a puzzler. Weynants’s birth year (but only hers) is mentioned in the booklet. Decades of reading program notes and playbills had me convinced that there is some kind of a law that enjoins the writers of these documents from publishing any combination of dates and numbers that can be used to calculate the age of a performer (especially if female), unless said performer is younger than 10 or older than 90. But it’s right there! I shan’t reveal it; if you must know, you’ll have to buy the disc.

FANFARE: George Chien
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Works on This Recording

Ach, dass ich Wassers genug hätte by Johann Christoph Bach
Performer:  Lieven Termont (), Patrick Van Goethem (), Caroline Weynants (),
Marcus Ullmann (), Marcel Ponseele (Oboe)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Gardellino
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Venue:  AMUZ, Antwerp 
Length: 7 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen, BWV 32 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Lieven Termont (), Patrick Van Goethem (), Caroline Weynants (),
Marcel Ponseele (Oboe), Marcus Ullmann ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Gardellino
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  AMUZ, Antwerp 
Length: 20 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Ich geh' und suche mit Verlangen, BWV 49 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Marcel Ponseele (Oboe)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Gardellino
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  AMUZ, Antwerp 
Length: 23 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren, BWV 154 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Caroline Weynants (), Lieven Termont (), Marcel Ponseele (Oboe),
Patrick Van Goethem (), Marcus Ullmann ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Gardellino
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  AMUZ, Antwerp 
Length: 12 Minutes 32 Secs. 

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