Notes and Editorial Reviews
Following the Christmas festivities and to usher in the new millennium, we join John Eliot within the grand neo-Gothic Gethsemanekirche in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin for a programme consisting of Bach's four New Year's Day cantatas. The simple idea of a progression from beginning to end to new beginning permeate these cantatas. This theme conveyed beautifully in Bach's writing. **** [4 Stars] The revelatory enjoyment of John Eliot Gardiner's Bach cantatas cycle, recorded live during the Millennium Pilgrimage, continues apace. This timely volume contains four cantatas for New Year's Day and a pair for the next Sunday. Three of the new-year works are outstanding - the expansive and daring Cantata 16. A more troubled mood characterises the two eloquent Sunday pieces, Cantatas 153 and 58. All Are beautifully performed by the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists, with the tenor James Gilchrist outstanding for his stylish grace. 'The Sunday Times' Gardiner's epic cantata pilgrimage has reached New Year's Day and the following Sunday, for which Bach wrote contrasted music suitably festive on one hand, surprisingly stern on the other. The four New Year's Day cantatas include an early work, exuberant but of suspect authenticity, and the top-quality 'Jesu, nun sei gepreiset' from Bach's early Leipzig years. The performance typically clean and crisp, achieve a degree of spirituality only when Ruth Holton sings the central soprano aria in 'Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid'. 'The Financial Times'