Notes and Editorial Reviews
Cantatas Nos. 82, 158, 56, 203
Dominik Wörner (bs); Ryo Terakado, cond; Il Gardellino (period instruments)
PASSACAILLE 997 (71:03
You might think of cantatas 82 and 56 as the equivalents of Olympic events for bass recitalists. The challenges are extreme, and the competition is fierce—and, we hope, friendly. So basses enter the fray, aware of both the competition and the challenge. Of course, an inconsistency in the analogy is that the competition is not only contemporary but also historical. Another difference is that there’s no limit on winners; listeners make their own judgments and sometimes change their minds. Yet another difference, I suspect, is that the participants are more focused on the challenges than the competition.
Dominik Wörner’s versions, in my very subjective opinion, will not put him on the medal stand—those spots go to Thomas Quasthoff, Hans Hotter, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, but that may change. Wörner’s handsome voice and sensitivity definitely put him in the race, thus worthy of your consideration. His recording has some extras that should attract attention. Including Cantata 158 with Nos. 56 and 82 is common enough, but Passacaille provides two versions of its central aria. Interestingly, the version with obbligato flute is given in the Cantata proper, while the version with violin, much more common, is relegated to an appendix. Wörner also sings the secular Cantata No. 203.
whose authenticity has been questioned, is not what one normally expects from Bach. It’s a tale of lost love, in Italian and accompanied by continuo alone. The four cantatas also appear on a disc extracted from Ton Koopman’s cantata edition and sung by Klaus Mertens, who would be, incidentally, another medal contender.
Il Gardellino, founded by oboist Marcel Ponseele and flutist Jan De Winne, enlists elite period instruments players from around the world to explore a mostly Baroque repertory. It should have come as no surprise that the flute version of the BWV 158 aria was favored. Ponseele’s exquisite oboe playing graces cantatas 82 and 156. The chorale of Cantata 56 requires a quartet of singers, from top to bottom: Franz Vitzthum, Beat Duddeck, Satoshi Mizukoshi, Wörner. It’s most intriguing that the soprano part was given to Vitzthum, a countertenor. Vitzthum sings the chorale melody in the aria of No. 158. It may be no coincidence that four (of 12) instrumentalists, including leader Ryo Terakado and harpsichordist Masato Suzuki, and one singer, Mizukoshi, also participated in Volume 54 and/or 55 of Maasaki Suzuki’s cantata series for BIS.
*I should mention one peculiarity about the attached booklet. The principal language for the roster seems to be English. The notes, by a French writer, appear first translated into English, followed by the French original, and translated into German, but the texts are translated from the German and Italian originals only into French. What’s that all about? Recommended nonetheless.
FANFARE: George Chien