ANOTHER OUTSTANDING BACH RECORDING PERFORMED BY THE BEST!
Two CD's for the price of one. This two CD set with the Purcell Quartet and a distinguished group of soloists is the third of a series devoted to Bach's Early Cantatas and the second recording to be focused on the Weimar Period. Uniquely, but following historical precedent, the Purcell Quartet employs single voices, rather than a choir enabling individual vocal and instrumental lines to be heard fully, enhancing the impact and meaning of the cantata texts. This, indeed, is how they would have been performed originally, rather than the present and more conventional approach, which is the product of subsequent development of massed choral singing.
The program contains three cantatas dating from 1714, the year in which Bach was promoted to the post of Konzenmeister at the ducal court in Weimar. This post included the responsibilities of composing concerted sacred vocal music, including the writing of cantatas at regular intervals for Sundays and Feast Days of the Liturgical year. Bach performed all three works collected in this pair of discs several times, and they are presented herein as they would have been heard at that time in Weimar.
The first two works, 'Erschallent, ihr Lieder, BWV172' and 'Himmelskonig, rei Wellkomen, BWVi82', have much in common in tone and atmosphere: both are jublilant looking forward to the heavenly eternity awaiting the good Christian at the end of his life; to emulate the image of the Trinity, Bach used three trumpets (BWV172), whereas in BWV182, rather than trumpets and drums, he used the violin and recorder to affect an intimate conversation. The joyous mood of these two cantatas is juxtoposed with that of 'Ich hatte viel Bukummenis,BWV21', which portrays a feeling of despair until the end when Bach brings in the trumpet and drums as hope begins to dawn.
The sound of the Purcell Quartet is so attuned to the four soloists, both in interpretion and ensemble accompaniment, it's almost uncanny. But then, they have worked together a great deal. The soloists are:Emma Kirby(sop), Michael Chance (countertenor), Charles Daniels (tenor) and Peter Harvey (bass) all of whom are expert in performing Bach.
The Weimar Cantatas form an exceptional body of work and it is trememdously exciting to me to hear them performed in a way that Bach would have recognized, and by artists highly skilled, inspirational and respected in the Early Music genre.
There is a 42 page accompanying booklet that includes pertinent information as well as the text in French, German and English.