These three cantatas contain some heavy assignments for the three vocal soloists, challenges met with complete success. Robin Blaze offers steady tone and not a shred of countertenor "hootiness" in his duet-arias Wir danken und preisen from BWV 134 and Ich furchte zwar from BWV 66. Both numbers also feature Japanese tenor Makoto Sakurada, whose open sound and naturalness of phrasing allow the music's warmth and humanity to communicate effortlessly. Bass Peter Kooij makes similarly light work of the magnificently celebratory aria Lasset dem Höochsten from BWV 66, the longest solo number in all three works.
It goes almost without saying that Masaaki Suzuki pacesRead more these works to perfection, with flowing recitatives and secure, colorful instrumental contributions. The opening choruses of BWV 66 and 67 brim with inner rhythmic life, and Suzuki allows the whooping brass writing in the former's huge initial number (Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen) proper prominence. The same observations apply to the joyous conclusion (Erschallet, ihr Himmel) of BWV 134. These are in general cheerful pieces (the Easter theme of rebirth and resurrection features prominently), largely devoid of Bach's heavy-duty minor key "lamentation" style, and for this reason they run a certain risk of generalized blandness when heard in tandem. Fortunately, Suzuki & Co. never let the tension sag, and combined with BIS' state-of-the-art sonics the result is practically perfect, a bracing musical tonic: it's good for what ails you.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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