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Bach: Cantatas Vol 17 / Koopman, Amsterdam Baroque


Release Date: 03/15/2005 
Label:  Challenge   Catalog #: 72217   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Klaus MertensPaul AgnewSandrine PiauBogna Bartosz,   ... 
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque OrchestraAmsterdam Baroque Choir
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The cantatas in Volume 17 are drawn from Bach’s third cycle at Leipzig, which was spread over two years, unlike the first two cycles, which were annual affairs. Various reasons have been suggested for the expansion of the time frame. One plausible explanation is that Bach needed extra time to work on his Saint Matthew Passion. Another is that Leipzig’s musical resources at the time may have been strained. Bach borrowed 18 cantatas from his cousin, Johann Ludwig, over the span; Ludwig’s works were less demanding than Sebastian’s own. In support of the latter hypothesis, we might point to a significant dearth in this collection of the grand opening chorale fantasias that we normally associate with Bach’s cantatas. In six of the 10 cantatas, Read more the full chorus is limited to singing only the simple four-part closing chorale; in three instances, single sections of the choir intone the bare chorale melody, twice (in No. 58) against bass arias, and once (No. 13) above an independent orchestral setting. In Cantata 35, the choir makes no appearance at all.

Whether or not Bach’s hand was limited by circumstances, clearly his imagination was not. There’s something for almost everyone in this collection. There are solo cantatas for soprano (84), alto (169 and 35), and bass (56). Bach’s only extant tenor cantata, BWV 55, another product of this cycle, isn’t included here, but there are three dialogue cantatas (32, 58, 57), in which opposing characters, represented by the soprano and bass soloists, develop the lesson of the day. Opening chorale fantasias do appear in BWV 19 and 17, backed by trumpets and timpani in No. 19. There are even orchestral sinfonias in the two alto cantatas?presumably borrowed from existing concerto movements?in which Bach’s virtuosity must have deflected attention from the choir’s absence or near absence. I must say that the sinfonias are, collectively, the highlight of this set, a reminder that Koopman, like Bach, established his reputation as an organist before taking up the baton. If anyone is unhappy about this set, it could be the countertenors’ union, since both alto cantatas were given to female soloists, a decision that is justified by fine results.

Obviously, the burden in this set is carried by the soloists, and Koopman’s expanding roster includes both series veterans and relative newcomers. Undoubtedly the most familiar of the cantatas in the set, BWV 56 is assigned to the reliable Klaus Mertens, who also partners in the three dialogue cantatas. Although Mertens’s No. 56 is eclipsed by Thomas Quasthoff’s outstanding recent version on Deutche Grammophon, it is nevertheless well worth hearing. The two altos, Bogna Bartosz and Nathalie Stutzmann, give excellent accounts of Nos. 169 and 35, respectively. Sandrine Piau’s BWV 84 will not keep Nancy Argenta’s Virgin Veritas recording off my shelf, but she is more than adequate in it, as are the other featured singers in their assignments. It’s evident that Koopman and his associates have not wearied of their task, and collectors of the series will not be disappointed by this latest installment.

George Chien, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Meine Seufzer, meine Tränen, BWV 13 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Klaus Mertens (Bass), Paul Agnew (Tenor), Sandrine Piau (Soprano),
Bogna Bartosz (Alto)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland 
Length: 19 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland (2001 - 2003) 
2.
Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich, BWV 17 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Bogna Bartosz (Alto), Klaus Mertens (Bass), Sandrine Piau (Soprano),
Christoph Prégardien (Tenor)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland 
Length: 14 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland (2001 - 2003) 
3.
Es erhub sich ein Streit, BWV 19 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Klaus Mertens (Bass), Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Jörg Dürmüller (Tenor)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland 
Length: 17 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland (2001 - 2003) 
4.
Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen, BWV 32 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Klaus Mertens (Bass), Johannette Zomer (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland 
Length: 21 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland (2001 - 2003) 
5.
Geist und Seele wird verwirret, BWV 35 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto), Ton Koopman (Organ)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland 
Length: 25 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland (2001 - 2003) 
6.
Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen, BWV 56 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Klaus Mertens (Bass)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland 
Length: 17 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland (2001 - 2003) 
7.
Selig ist der Mann, der die Anfechtung erdulet, BWV 57 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sibylla Rubens (Soprano), Klaus Mertens (Bass)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Written: 1725 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland 
Length: 21 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland (2001 - 2003) 
8.
Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid, BWV 58 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Klaus Mertens (Bass), Johannette Zomer (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland 
Length: 12 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland (2001 - 2003) 
9.
Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke, das mir der liebe Gott beschert, BWV 84 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland 
Length: 13 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland (2001 - 2003) 
10.
Gott soll allein mein Herze haben, BWV 169 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Ton Koopman (Organ), Bogna Bartosz (Alto)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland 
Length: 23 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Notes: Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Holland (2001 - 2003)
This selection is sung in German and Greek. 

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