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Bach: Sacred Arias & Cantatas / Bicket, Daniels, The English Concert


Release Date: 09/16/2008 
Label:  Virgin Classics   Catalog #: 19037   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I first encountered the artistry of David Daniels though his exceptional 1998 Virgin Veritas CD of Handel operatic arias (5453262). Since then I’ve come to regard him as one of the finest counter-tenors of his generation, the possessor of a beautiful voice and a superb technique. This new Bach recital confirms that view. Incidentally, these same performers included several of these pieces in a recent London concert that was favourably reviewed by my colleague Robert Costin.

The arias have been well chosen to include the plums from Bach’s major choral works and some cantata excerpts. ‘Qui sedes’, with which proceedings open, flows beautifully, which is a tribute to Harry Bicket as well as to Daniels. The other excerpt from the
Read more B Minor Mass, ‘Agnus Dei’, is deeply felt and Daniels’ superb breath control enables him to spin long, eloquent lines.

Just as deeply felt is ‘Es ist vollbracht’. From Bach’s other surviving Passion setting comes the wonderful ‘Erbarme dich’. Here, as elsewhere, Daniels sings with a gloriously full tone and his singing of this poignant aria is expressive and eloquent.

The two arias from Cantata 82 are included and since these account for the bulk of the cantata part of me wishes that the whole work had been given, not least because the couple of recitatives from the St. Matthew Passion that are included show that Daniels is excellent in recitative. Daniels sings the fine aria from which the cantata takes its name very well, though in this work my personal preference is to hear either a female alto or a bass – the same applies to ‘Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen’.

In the whole recital I have but one interpretative niggle and that concerns the heavenly aria ‘Vergnügte Ruh, beliebete Seelenlust’. The first line, as translated in the booklet, speaks of “Contented rest, beloved inner joy.” For me, the pace of this performance is just a bit too fleet. I know that so much of Bach’s music is founded on dance and the last thing one wants is for this aria to drag but here there’s a little too much haste so that the aria is indeed joyful but I miss a sense of repose. Having said that, the singing is poised and lovely.

The artistry of David Daniels gives great pleasure throughout this disc. Equally pleasing are the accompaniments provided by Bicket and the OAE. The instrumental obbligati are all of a very high standard and though it’s slightly invidious to single out individuals I’d commend especially oboist Katharina Sprekelsen in ‘Qui sedes’, ‘Ich habe genug’ and ‘Vergnügte Ruh, beliebete Seelenlust’. Also demanding a mention are Jonathan Manson, who plays the gamba part in ‘Es ist vollbracht’, and Nadja Zweiner, the violinist in ‘Erbarme dich’.

The recorded sound is excellent as are the notes by Simon Heighes.

This is a fine disc. Admirers of David Daniels will need no prompting from me to invest but anyone who has not yet encountered this young American singer and acquires this recital will soon understand why his stock is so high.

-- John Quinn, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Mass in B minor, BWV 232: Qui sedes by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1747-1749; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
2.
Mass in B minor, BWV 232: Agnus Dei by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1747-1749; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 21 Secs. 
3.
Saint John Passion, BWV 245: no 11, Von den Stricken meiner Sünden by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 46 Secs. 
4.
Saint John Passion, BWV 245: no 58, Es ist vollbracht by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 18 Secs. 
5.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 9, Du lieber Heiland du by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 0 Minutes 52 Secs. 
6.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 10, Buss' und reu' by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 18 Secs. 
7.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 47, Erbarme dich by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 46 Secs. 
8.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 60, Erbarm' es Gott! by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 1 Secs. 
9.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 61, Können Thränen meiner Wangen by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 7 Minutes 2 Secs. 
10.
Ich habe genug, BWV 82: Ich habe genug by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1727; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 48 Secs. 
11.
Ich habe genug, BWV 82: Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen, fallet sanft und selig zu' by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1727; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 10 Minutes 8 Secs. 
12.
Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust, BWV 170: no 1, Vergnügte Ruh' by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 44 Secs. 
13.
Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!, BWV 208 "Hunt Cantata": Schafe können sicher weiden by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1713; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 20 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Qui sedes (ad dextram Patris) (Mass in B minor BWV 232)
Agnus Dei (Mass in B minor BWV 232)
Aria: Von den Striken meiner Sünden mich zu entbinder (St John Passion BWV 245)
Aria: Es ist vollbracht (St John Passion BWV 245)
Recitativo: Du lieber Heiland du (St Matthew Passion BWV 244)
Aria: Buß und Reu (St Matthew Passion BWV 244)
Aria: Erbarme dich (St Matthew Passion BWV 244)
Recitativo: Erbarmes Gott! (St Matthew Passion BWV 244)
Aria: Können Tranen meiner Wangen nichts erlangen (St Matthew Passion BWV 244)
Aria: Ich habe Genug (Cantata BWV 82a)
Aria: Schlummert ein (Cantata BWV 82a)
Aria: Vergnugte Rüh, beliebte Seelenlust (Cantata BWV 170)
Schafe Können sicher weiden (Cantata BWV 208)

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