Notes and Editorial Reviews
Entirely too little attention has been given in our time to the music of Johann Sebastian’s oldest son—and Carus is making a serious effort to correct that, with its series of cantatas, concertos, keyboard works, and chamber music. This program of four cantatas written by W.F. Bach for St. Marienkirche in Halle claims three world-premiere recordings. And there’s some very fine music here, from the opening movement of “Ach, dass du den Himmel zerrissest”—which must be one of the strangest cantata beginnings ever, with its marvelous belching horns and martial, unison chorus melody that declares: “Ah, that you would rend the heavens and come down to us.” Following is one of the more delightfully lovely, characterful tenor arias by anyone from the mid-18th century, showing a mastery of form and melody worthy of Friedemann’s father, his teacher.
Another highlight is the opening chorus of “Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen”, which again, with its trumpets and timpani and lively string figures, reminds of the great master’s technique; but throughout these works—especially in the arias—there is much evidence of Friedemann’s individuality and original ideas, which definitely push toward the more contemporary classical style. The soloists are uniformly fine, and the chorus and period-instrument orchestra have many distinguished recordings to their credit, and they prove particularly adept at bringing these neglected works to life.
-- David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com