- Audio CD (11 Feb 1997)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 3
- Format: Box set
- Label: Erato
- ASIN: B000005E4T
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,430 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Lass Furstin, lass noch einen Strahl BWV 198 - Chorus|
|2. Lass Furstin, lass noch einen Strahl BWV 198 - Recitative|
|3. Lass Furstin, lass noch einen Strahl BWV 198 - Aria|
|4. Lass Furstin, lass noch einen Strahl BWV 198 - Recitative|
|5. Lass Furstin, lass noch einen Strahl BWV 198 - Aria|
|6. Lass Furstin, lass noch einen Strahl BWV 198 - Recitative|
See all 19 tracks on this disc
|1. Schweig stille, plaudert nicht BWV 211 - Recitative|
|2. Schweig stille, plaudert nicht BWV 211 - Aria|
|3. Schweig stille, plaudert nicht BWV 211 - Recitative|
|4. Schweig stille, plaudert nicht BWV 211 - Aria|
|5. Schweig stille, plaudert nicht BWV 211 - Recitative|
|6. Schweig stille, plaudert nicht BWV 211 - Aria|
See all 24 tracks on this disc
|1. Ich bin mir vergnugt BWV 204 - Recitative|
|2. Ich bin mir vergnugt BWV 204 - Aria|
|3. Ich bin mir vergnugt BWV 204 - Recitative|
|4. Ich bin mir vergnugt BWV 204 - Aria|
|5. Ich bin mir vergnugt BWV 204 - Recitative|
|6. Ich bin mir vergnugt BWV 204 - Aria|
See all 23 tracks on this disc
The Bach cantatas encompass a wide range of themes and emotions, enough for anyone to find something of interest and something enjoyable. It is interesting to note that the sources of the extremely popular "Christmas Oratorio" are the secular, rather than the sacred, cantatas. The grand opening of the "Christmas Oratorio", for example, is taken from the music of Cantata BWV 214 "Tönet, Ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!."
This cantata begins with the words, "Sound ye drums! Ring out, trumpets!" In true Baroque fashion, Bach underscores these lyrics with drums and brass. In this recording of Cantata 214, the drums and trumpets are both jubilant, yet well-balanced with the choir and the orchestra. I, personally, did not enjoy the use of a Baroque guitar and lute rather than a harpsichord in the continuo since the guitar sometimes has a distinctly metallic sound, but I do have to admit that these surprising instruments added a vibrancy and energy to the music. The oboe solo in "Fromme Musen! meine Glieder!" and the bass aria of "Kron und Preis gekronter Damen" are especially superb and very sensitively accompanied by the orchestra.
The famous "Coffee Cantata" on disc two is very interesting. The tenor, Paul Agnew is humorous as he attacks his lines "growling like a bear."
The part of the helpless father, sung by bass, Klaus Merten, is equally good. Soprano Anne Grimm also sings very well and in her central aria, "Heute noch," she is especially good, singing with fervor and joy. The sensitivity of the instrumental accompaniment and the vivid characterizations of the male roles, makes this the best rendition of this aria I have yet to hear.
Soprano Lisa Larsson sings many of the central roles in this collection of cantatas, including the two cantatas for solo sopranos, BWVs 204 and 209. She has a wonderful voice that is both light in character but still quite strong and full and she is showcased to perfection in Cantata BWV 209 "Non sa che sia dolore (He who knows not what sorrow is)." There are also many parts for the wonderful flutist in this orchestra.
Disc three contains the lovely "Contentment Cantata," and the performances on this track are superb. Larsson's voice is, here, enchanting, sustained and perfectly in keeping with the theme and mood of the cantata. She is certainly a delight.
Disc three ends with Cantata BWV 201, "The Contest Between Phoebus and Pan." The "whirling wind" opening chorus is extremely well-done, but, overall, this cantata lacks the ferocity or emotion and drama found in some other recordings.
Phoebus's (Merten's) competition song is well-done and well-sustained, and he is, I think, the better bass, although Pan (Bentvelsen) has the more interesting aria ("Zu Tanze, zu Sprunge, so wackelt das Hertz").
The opening work of the first disc is Cantata BWV 198 "Lass Fürstin, Lass Noch Einen Strahl," the famous "Funeral Ode" written for the funeral of Queen Christiane Eberhardine of Poland, Electress of Saxony. This ode is a masterpiece of consistency and even one note should not be missed. It is beautifully-balanced and is melancholy without being overly-pessimistic. Alto Elisabeth von Magnus has an interesting recitative that depicts quivering bells and Larsson is also quite good and uses her vocal strength to full advantage.
Koopman's unobtrusive and sensitive accompaniment is always in beautiful harmony with the singers. His harpsichord renditions, particularly in the recitatives, were extremely enjoyable. The Amsterdam Baroque Choir is always unified in voice, as any choir should be, and very sensitive to the dynamics of the performance.
Overall, this is a very well-recorded and enjoyable set and should more than please any lover of J.S. Bach.
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