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Bach: Cantatas Vol 19 / Suzuki, Nonoshita, Blaze, Et Al


Release Date: 10/29/2002 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1261   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Robin BlazeYukari NonoshitaStephan McLeodMakoto Sakurada
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Ton Koopman’s Bach cantata series was set to complete well before Masaaki Suzuki’s, each Erato release containing three discs, leaving BIS to follow a more stately pace and perhaps encouraging a more circumspect approach from the Japanese Bachians. As Warner has now abandoned the hare-like Amsterdamers (one dearly hopes that a new company will take on the mantle for the remaining cantatas), the tortoises quietly go on producing highly polished and considered performances as they survey the post-Easter cantatas of Leipzig of 1724.

The first work on the CD is a little-known gem, No 86, Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch (‘Verily, I say unto you’). Succinct and imploring, the listener follows the doctrinal and attentive tone set
Read more so marvellously by a composer arrested by the intensity of Christ’s promise: ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.’ Suzuki, as ever, chooses exceptionally well-judged tempi throughout, leaves no stone unturned in his confident preparedness and also introduces a fine new bass to the series, Stephan MacLeod, as the ‘vox Christi’.

Of the other three works here, none is particularly long but each contains a central movement of special significance. In No 37, it is the chorale duet of a stanza from ‘How brightly shines the morning star’, sung with disarming fluency by Yukari Nonoshita and Robin Blaze, and in No 166, the tidy tenor Makoto Sakurada gives a sensitive, if somewhat under-nourished account of ‘Ich will an den Himmel denken’. This cantata also boasts a ravishing and peerless ‘Man nehme sich in Acht’ from Blaze, accompanied generously by the strings.

The only cantata here which appears constantly embedded in the given imagery of its text is No 104 Du Hirte Israel. Psalm 80 inspires Bach’s alluring pastoral backdrop, initially realised in a rocking triple-time chorus to convey the shepherd ‘that leadest Joseph like a flock’. Neither Suzuki nor Koopman quite explore the range of possibilities, and not just in terms of tempo or texture but in seeking expression through character of sound. Koopman seems strangely diffident while the squeaky clean chorus of Bach Collegium Japan convey little of the sombre gravitas in this bucolic masterpiece.

Ground is certainly made up in the great bass aria ‘Beglückte Herde’, where MacLeod gives a gentle and soft-grained performance (very much in the spirit of Suzuki’s usual bass, Peter Kooij) as Christ’s sheep are offered the rewards of faith. Some will wish for a more involving performance of this highly original work, as Richter provides (from 1973) – with a majestic Fischer-Dieskau – and the radiant spontaneity of Pieter Jan Leusink, which arguably boasts the best bass singing in recent years from Bas Ramselaar.

Suzuki’s latest volume will, however, satisfy a good number of tastes. These are consistently impressive performances, beautifully recorded and Suzuki communicates Bach with unalloyed joy. Only in the heady luminosity of it all does one sometimes yearn for a broader range of expressive ambitions.

-- Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Gramophone [2/2003]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Wahrlich, wahrlich ich sage euch, BWV 86 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Countertenor), Yukari Nonoshita (Soprano), Stephan McLeod (Bass),
Makoto Sakurada (Tenor)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: German 
2.
Wer da gläubet und getauft wird, BWV 37 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Countertenor), Makoto Sakurada (Tenor), Yukari Nonoshita (Soprano),
Stephan McLeod (Bass)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: German 
3.
Du Hirte Israel, höre, BWV 104 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Makoto Sakurada (Tenor), Stephan McLeod (Bass)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: German 
4.
Wo gehest du hin?, BWV 166 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Countertenor), Makoto Sakurada (Tenor), Stephan McLeod (Bass)
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: German 

Sound Samples

Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch, BWV 86: Arioso: Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch (Bass)
Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch, BWV 86: Aria: Ich will doch wohl Rosen brechen (Alto)
Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch, BWV 86: Chorale: Und was der ewig gutig Gott (Chorus)
Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch, BWV 86: Recitative: Gott macht es nicht gleichwie die Welt (Tenor)
Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch, BWV 86: Aria: Gott hilft gewiss (Tenor)
Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch, BWV 86: Chorale: Die Hoffnung wart' der rechten Zeit
Wer da glaubet und getauft wird, BWV 37: Wer da glaubet und getauft wird (Chorus)
Wer da glaubet und getauft wird, BWV 37: Aria: Der Glaube ist das Pfand der Liebe (Tenor)
Wer da glaubet und getauft wird, BWV 37: Chorale: Herr Gott Vater, mein starker Held! (Soprano, Alto)
Wer da glaubet und getauft wird, BWV 37: Recitative: Ihr Sterblichen, verlanget ihr (Bass)
Wer da glaubet und getauft wird, BWV 37: Aria: Der Glaube schafft der seele Flugel (Bass)
Wer da glaubet und getauft wird, BWV 37: Chorale: Den Glauben mir verleihe
Du Hirte Israel, hore, BWV 104: Du Hirte Israel, hore (Chorus)
Du Hirte Israel, hore, BWV 104: Recitative: Der hochste Hirte sorgt vor mich (Tenor)
Du Hirte Israel, hore, BWV 104: Aria: Verbirgt mein Hirte sich zu lange (Tenor)
Du Hirte Israel, hore, BWV 104: Recitative: Ja, dieses Wort ist meiner Seelen Speise (Bass)
Du Hirte Israel, hore, BWV 104: Aria: Begluckte Herde, Jesu Schafe (Bass)
Du Hirte Israel, hore, BWV 104: Chorale: Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt
Wo gehest du hin?, BWV 166: Aria: Wo gehest du hin? (Bass)
Wo gehest du hin?, BWV 166: Aria: Ich will an den Himmel denken (Tenor)
Wo gehest du hin?, BWV 166: Chorale: Ich bitte dich, Herr Jesu Christ (Soprano choir)
Wo gehest du hin?, BWV 166: Recitative: Gleichwie die Regenwasser bald vergliessen (Bass)
Wo gehest du hin?, BWV 166: Aria: Man nehme sich in acht (Alto)
Wo gehest du hin?, BWV 166: Chorale: Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende!

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