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Bach: Cantatas Vol 20 / Suzuki, Bach Colegium Japan


Release Date: 01/28/2003 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1271   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The four cantatas of Volume 20, for Pentecost and Exaudi (the Sunday between Ascension and Pentecost) in 1724, presented here in reverse order, mark the end of Bach’s first year in Leipzig. Pentecost, like Christmas and Easter, was a three-day celebration with services sung at various locations. To meet the challenge, Bach adapted music from Cöthen for Monday (BWV 173) and Tuesday (BWV 184). The Sunday cantata (BWV 59) was apparently written for Leipzig, but in 1723, before Bach was officially installed as cantor. The surviving score has only four movements––a duet for soprano and bass, a soprano recitative, a four-part chorale setting, and a bass aria, leading to speculation that it may not be complete. For his performance, Suzuki has Read more attached a chorale, with music from Cantata 6 and an unused verse of the text. Both the Monday and Tuesday cantatas call for pairs of flutes; both uncharacteristically end, but do not start, with brief choruses. The one newly composed cantata (BWV 44) also dispenses with the first-movement chorus. Instead, there is a duet for tenor and bass that opens with an extended instrumental trio for two oboes and continuo. The chorus appears in the second movement and sings the concluding chorale.

Some general notes: after Maestro Suzuki himself, the closest thing to a constant in the series remains Peter Kooij’s steady bass. The leading soprano is now Yukari Nonoshita, whose clear, near white tone is entirely appropriate for Bach’s music. Tenors come and go; note that four different tenors, all satisfactory, appear on these four discs. Suzuki continues to alternate between male or female altos depending on the specific task at hand. The soloists participate in the chorus but do not sing alone. Western names have become quite rare in the list of performers, with Japanese musicians handling most parts, vocal and instrumental, with their by-now-accustomed excellence. The notes remain exemplary, but Klaus Hofmann now shares that task with Suzuki, whose function is generally to explain his decisions regarding problems with the performing editions. As always, BIS’s recordings are first-rate... Of course, I’m going to urge interested listeners to acquire [this disc]. Bach and Suzuki are still one of the best tandems going.

-- George Chien, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Erwünschtes Freudenlicht, BWV 184 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: German 
2.
Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut, BWV 173 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: German 
3.
Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten, BWV 59 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1723-1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: German 
4.
Sie werden euch in den Bann tun, BWV 44 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: German 

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