I am a Suzuki fan and have always enjoyed his cantatas series. Orchestra is always top notch and soloists and choir are always close to top notch. Soloists were especially top notch in the first three years when he had Suzuki and Mera doing the soprano and alto. I've never been a huge fan of Blaze but I do have to respect him for never sounding "female". I've never found him especially expressive, however this may be the fault of the conductor as well. This cd is worth the price for just the alto aria in BWV 42. I looked at the length before I listened to it the first time and grimaced: almost 14 minutes. I figured it was a slow pondering aria in which Blaze's catlike voice would penetrate unendingly for a quarter of an hour. I did, however, decide to withhold any big judgement until I heard it. After all, I thought, if its 14 minutes it better be good or else Bach wouldn't have written it. It was amazing. Subject matter was on the biblical passage stating that where 2 or 3 are gathered in Jesus' name, God will be in the midst of them. The penetrating high notes are whenever the soloist ways "2" and "3", which in German are the delightful dipthongs zwei and drei. Blazes' definite strong points are his high notes, technical acrobatics, and devotion to the music. Although he may not be the most lyric soloist around, he does manage to show respect to the sacredness of the text; of which this solo desperately requires.
The next cantata on the cd (I forget the number at this moment) starts with a wonderful chorus that the choir manages quite well. It is interesting because it deals with two emotions (fear turning to joy) and is sexed in half with a bass ariosa. Worner is the best soloist in this cd (Blazes' singular performance in 42 aside). He brings warmth, depth, and fantastic diction to the cd.
The only other general note is some mild disappointment with BWV 6. The opening chorus I felt was not done very well either technically or interpretively. There is a middle section the chorus, of which the primary theme is imploring the not yet ascendant Jesus to stay with them (the disciples), that is performed far to fast. Especially since the previous capo was done at a near dirge and unbelievably shared half of its text with the middle section! Nearly every conductor I've heard perform this cantata performs this middle section fast. Why? simply because its every counterpoints' dream? I may be wrong, but the interpretation was all wrong. To top it off, the singers' pronunciation and diction was awful (BAD!). Blaze was boring in his aria, Worner very good, and Gilchrist boring as well (he did better with his other arias in this cd and is generally a very good singer).
All in all, a great cd. Although I was slightly uninspired by BWV 6. Very happy with the rest on this cd. Do not miss 42!