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  • Bach: Solo Cantatas (BWV169/BWV170/BWV35) - Bernarda Fink
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Bach: Solo Cantatas (BWV169/BWV170/BWV35) - Bernarda Fink


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Biography

Bernarda Fink, daughter of Slovenian parents, was born in Buenos Aires and received her vocal and musical education at the Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Coln where she performed frequently.

Bernarda Fink is one of the most sought-after singers in concerts and recitals. She has been acclaimed for her musical versatility and invited by the leading orchestras and conductors in ... Read more in Amazon's Bernarda Fink Store

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
  • Conductor: Petra Mullejans
  • Composer: Bach
  • Audio CD (2 Feb. 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: harmonia mundi
  • ASIN: B001JHI78U
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 247,945 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Geist Und Seele Wird Verwirret, BWV 35 - Bernarda Fink/Freiburger Barockorchester
2. Gott Soll Allein Mein Herze Haben, BWV169 - Various Performers
3. Vergnugte Ruh, Beliebte Seelenlust, BWV 170 - Bernarda Fink/Freiburger Barockorchester

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BBC Review

Bernarda Fink had a good 2008, with her Schubert recital disc garnering widespread praise. Her new recording for 2009, of Bach Solo Cantatas, deserves just as many accolades for both her own and the Freiburger Barockorchester's performances.

These cantatas were written in 1726 and marked a new stylistic period for Bach's works in the genre. Between May 1723 and the Christmas of 1725/6, he had composed, rehearsed and performed a new cantata every week. It's hard to imagine how such a workload didn't send him over the edge. Duracel bunny or not, he was surely a man in need of a sabbatical by Christmas 1725. He did indeed give himself a break of around six months, and the works which appeared from June onwards are awash with creative renewal. Gone are the large-scale choral movements, replaced by solo arias. The instrumental accompaniment and the voice are in greater dialogue with each other, the organ shines as a soloist rather than being consigned to simple accompaniment, textures are intricately crafted, and some sections are recycled from secular works. Bach's Leipzig congregation must have had quite a surprise that first June Sunday.

Fink, with her versatile mezzo tone, meets the cantatas' challenges at all levels. The diction in clear, but her performance really stands out for it's control: vocal control, but also emotional. The feelings expressed are often passionate in the extreme, but her dramatically pared-down approach shuns any melodramatic temptations whilst still digging deep into the heart of the text. Meanwhile, Petra Mullejans and the Freiburger Barockorchester provide perfectly-judged accompaniments, and instrumental sections that hum with vitality. They capture the music's often semi-secular, pastoral mood, whilst retaining just the right amount of religious propriety. Beautiful. --Charlotte Gardner

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Isosoles on 27 Mar. 2009
Format: MP3 Download
This recording is a superb combination of voice and orchestra. The quality is such that you not only hear but also feel the intensity and passion of this music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Teemacs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 Sept. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bernarda Fink sang superbly in the Gardiner DVD of the "Christmas Oratorio", and here she does so again, giving a superb rendition of three of the Bach solo cantatas (strictly speaking, BWV169 isn't a solo cantata, as it has a chorale at the end, but anyway...). The singing is wonderful, the Freiburger Barockorchester provides an excellent accompaniment and the whole thing is very nicely recorded. Highly recommended.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Petpap on 18 Jun. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Bernarda Finks wobbling voice detracts from the fantastic music and great ensemble. I do not recommend this recording. Excessive vibrato should be used as an effect with this kind of music, and not be present all the time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Well known and never like that 31 Mar. 2009
By Herby Neubacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
These three solo Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach written for Alto (or Counter-Tenor) voice BWV 35 (Geist und Seele wird verwirret), BWV 169 (Gott soll allein mein Herze haben) and BWV 170 (Vernuegte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust) belong probably to the most recorded Cantatas of the Leipzig Master.

The reason - they contain some of the most fascinating Organ Concertos Bach wrote and the Arias seem to better belong to an Opera talking about the Conditions of the Soul than to use them in the Church. They are deeply felt Soul Characteristics and the Alto Voice - in Bach's world belonging to the allegory of the "Daughter of Zion:" is perfectly trimmed to make the live eternally clear for Jesus and for the Soul itself.

But what makes Bernard Finks Interpretation different than all the Alto and Falsetto Voices we heard with these cantatas from René Jacobs to Scholl?

In a few words - they are deeply felt like not experienced a long time.

It seems to be a genuine signature of the modern old music wave to be distant to the text and to the meaning of the sung words and only and intensively concentrate on the light and easy to consume harmonious beauty of the music that has sometimes a silk and glass character.

Bernarda Fink and her partner the violinist conductor Petra Muellejans of the Freiburg Barock Orchestra live Bach's Words and bring them back into the context of the music to give the listener a ride through the experiences of the souls probably never heard before.

Fink has "guts" in her voice - she feels what she sings and she is not afraid to express it. This is not a far away eternal angel's voice singing here but a full blooded woman expressing her feelings deeply and with all kinds of spectrum an Alto voice can show. It is simply great. Tears come to the eyes when she sings "Mir ekelt hier zu leben" the farewell to a disgusting world and believes that "Gott hat alles wohlgemacht" - God made everything well.

As perfect and impressive is even the single Choral sung by the Vocal consort Berlin - one has to hear several times to feel the inspired dynamics this well tuned consort gives even a "simple" choral " You sweet Love, give us your blessing" - this record will be for sure one of the m most loved and played in everyone's record collection. Indeed well known but never heard like that before...
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Vocal beauty, musical brains, and religious conviction 26 Mar. 2009
By Larry VanDeSande - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The last time I heard Bach's famous solo cantatas for alto, a countertenor was doing the singing. In fact, countertenors have pretty much owned this repertory the past decade or so, with Andreas Scholl's famous recording with Herreweghe getting most of the plaudits internationally. Monica Groop's 1999 recording of these same three cantatas is the last female recording that has drawn much international interest. Now, a decade later, Argentinian alto Bernarda Fink is likely to win as many awards for her recording as Groop did a decade ago.

Right from her first exclamation of "Doch nein!" in the arioso of BWV 169, "Gott soll allein mein Herze haben" (My heart shall possess God alone,) you know this woman means business when she gets involved with Bach's magnificent texts. Fink's deep and resonant instrument is perfectly suited for Bach's vocal exhortations on God, love, death, and committment to everlasting Christian life. The message from this trio of cantatas is likely best stated in a single life of BWV 170, "Vergnugte Ruh! beliebted Seelentust!" (Contented rest, beloved heart's desire) when Fink sings, "To be alive is irksome to me, therefore, take me, Jesus, undo you!"

If you've never heard Fink, she is a veteran of choral recordings lead by John Eliot Gardiner and Rene Jacobs and owns a string of solo recordings that include famous lieder from Berlioz, Brahms, Schubert and Schumann. Fink's vocal mechanics and ideologically attuned Bach style suit this music perfectly. She understands the music, the score, and transcends the two to create moments of great beauty that adorn the meaning of Bach's texts. Listen to her longing in the "Stib in mir" (die within me) aria of BWV 169 to know a complete realization of Christian fulfillment through vocal acrobatics. If you're not convinced by that, press ahead to the famous first aria from BWV 170 and hear what awaits you there. The third aria, "Wie jammern mich doch die verehrten Herzen" (How do I pity the wayward hearts), is another defining moment in this collection where soloist and Bach are one in their quest for redemption, forgiveness and everlasting life.

Fink sings wonderfully and idiomatically throughout and she is marvelously abetted by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under the baton of Petra Mullejans. Even a lean and sometimes wiry period string sound fails to dampen this wonderful band's Bach playing. Here is sentiment mated to senstivity wiht expressiveness, all supporting Fink's glorious vocalizations. The packaging is equally as abudnant, which a hard cardboard box encasing a multilingual 40-page booklet with texts and translations in three languages. The realistic recording captures everything in DDD sound in this well-filled (76:20) disk.

Harmonia Mundi's publicity department wrote a fitting description of this recording on the back cover, saying: "In 1726 Bach entered a new period of creative innovation in Leipzig; renouncing the chorus, he built up a constant dialogue between solo arias and finely sculpted instrumental parts. The three cantatas presented here represent the culmination of this development, and have established their place as a peak of the recorded repertoire."

That last line applies equally to these performances. There's no question this is going to be on some "best of 2009" lists. It's the best recording I've heard this year and the best Bach cantata recording I've heard in at least a decade. If you love Bach's alto cantatas, you need to get this. If you've never heard them, this CD expresses everything there is to say and hear in these angelic creations. It is a small slice of heaven come to earth that we can enjoy repeatedly.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lovely, almost TOO lovely! 12 Jun. 2011
By voracious reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I can't say enough about this CD, for finally presenting these incredibly difficult, unbelievably beautiful cantatas with a WOMAN'S voice...not a man pretending to be an alto, and not the awful, hooty-pseudo operatic womens voices of past recordings...but a woman, intelligent, vibrant, with extraordinary technique and artistry, with a voice so lovely that I never tire of hearing it. And vibrato! Mezzos with too much weight on the bottom won't like it. "Purists" probably won't either, because Ms. Fink doesn't force her lush voice into a tight, false, emotionless caricature. We know Bach was earthy. His vocal music can be so seductive. I refuse to believe that it was written for a 12 year old boy, or a grown person of either sex who sounds like one. We will never know for sure WHAT his music sounded like, or what he really intended, but this is sublime!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Acceptable singing, fine musical group, excellent sound 10 May 2010
By Scoglio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This fulfills a certain need for this repertoire on a single disc and everything apart from the singing is well above-average. Unfortunately, Fink is pretty much true to form (I've heard her live several times): conscientious but never inspired. Part of the problem is her voice, which is generally pallid, not very strong at either end of the range, and rather colorless. However, most of the difficulty is interpretive. You can't imagine how superficial these readings are until you've heard others, such as the BWV 170 in the classic recording on L'Oiseau-Lyre with Janet Baker -- this is music that combines passion and devotion and it requires great artistry to achieve this combination.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An outstanding recording 6 Sept. 2009
By Teemacs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Bernarda Fink sang superbly in the Gardiner DVD of the "Christmas Oratorio" and in some of Gardiner's cantata pilgrimage performances, and here she does so again, giving a superb rendition of three of the Bach solo cantatas (strictly speaking, BWV169 isn't a solo cantata, as it has a chorale at the end, but anyway...). The singing is wonderful, the Freiburger Barockorchester provides an excellent accompaniment and the whole thing is very nicely recorded. Highly recommended.
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