This review is intended to be a contribution to some of the views and material written in the previous reviews of this recording.
But firstly it must be said that any question of translation is moot unless the music is well done. Well, es ist vollbracht! (it is accomplished!). Sorrell is a wonderful conductor who knows tempos, dynamics, drama, and clarity. And to have one of the great countertenors, Daniel Taylor, performing in Cleveland, is a tremendous coup. (note: I would love also to have heard the performance with the contralto Kirsten Sollek-Avella!). Sandra Simon was also tremendous.
Secondly, and I wish for the last time, the reason for period instruments is fundamentally one of clarity: the "lighter" voices of the baroque would be swamped by modern orchestras, particularly by their size. If Wagner & Verdi singer Jane Eaglen were signing the delicate soprano arias - and I'm not saying she couldn't do it - then bring on the big band sound! and I hope you enjoy the result. And I mean that sincerely. There are 30+ recordings of this regularly-performed piece; let each find his pleasure therein. The fact that Cleveland has a baroque orchestra and can support these sort of performances is a source of great honor and joy to that community.
Thirdly, the text.
Translated by the conductor and singers themselves (!!!) this is a rare gift in and of itself. The careful matching of English to German by singers who have sung those texts in Geman so many times is a beautiful labor of love. As the liner notes mention, this is a Luthern text and at the core of Luthern theology is the notion that the service is preached in the language of those who worship.
Whether or not one "worships" this music is an individual matter, naturally.
Lastly, I cannot disagree more with the notion that listeners of music cannot discern the words - and I know every singer who has worked so hard to be understood will agree here. Any and every song in any language MUST be comprehensible - or it is not well sung.