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J.S. Bach: Cantates pour basse
 
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J.S. Bach: Cantates pour basse

31 July 2007 | Format: MP3

5.49 (VAT included if applicable)
Buy the CD album for 6.81 and get the MP3 version for FREE. Does not apply to gift orders.
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These cantatas have been made famous by the Fischer-Dieskau /Richter recording on DG, but if you want to hear a period performance approach to the solo bass works by Bach, I would recommend this one. Peter Kooy had a very rounded sound and his phrasing are beautiful and perfectly suited to the style. Especially the yearning, lamenting cantata "Ich habe genug" is really moving. (Harmonia Mundi has for some reaon labelled this cantata "Ich habe genung" throughout the inlay card, which is wrong...strange??). Phillippe Herreweghe uses a small orchestra and chorus to back the bass soloist and he (Herreweghe) and the Chapelle Royale is up to their usual, very high, standards in baroque interpretation. I can't bring myself to putting down the wonderful recording with Fischer-Dieskau, but given the recent Period Performance movement, this really is the one to go for. You simply get the most Bach for your money without losing the "narration" of the texts that are so pronounced in the F-D recording. If you have any interest in the solo bass repertoire, get this. Now.
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By Jon Chambers VINE VOICE on 17 Jan. 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The most famous work on this disc is, of course, the moving and profound 'Ich habe genug' (or 'genung', if you prefer this variant). It is performed here in its original version written in 1727 for bass and choir (in c) and features oboe obbligato. (But annoyingly, the notes don't tell us whether it's the standard C18 oboe or the oboe da caccia, specified by Bach in the late 1740s. I assume it's a Baroque oboe here.) Peter Kooy is a superb solo bass and, equally praiseworthy, Marcel Ponseele features as oboist. Tonal hues are appropriately dark, with double bass and organ providing the lower layers in what is, after all, a cantata in which the soul looks forward to departing the world after a toilsome life. To my mind, this bass version seems to offer a more convincing evocation of world-weariness than that for soprano (BWV82a) where the soloist's higher register in combination with the flute (although perhaps even more sublime) is too bright to suggest physical exhaustion and spiritual resignation. Fittingly, Kooy holds longer notes without vibrato (like the tied minim + breve 'stille Ruh' near the end of 'Schlummert ein') as if this would require an energy he no longer has.

The other cantatas on this short disc (TT: 52'20) should not be underestimated. Soloist and instrumentalists combine to enhance the charms of BWV56, the central aria (iii) of which is immediately captivating. And Monica Huggett plays a lengthy arabesque violin solo in BWV158ii. Even some of the recitatives in these cantatas are surprisingly melodic and engaging.

If a style which recalls Baroque simplicity, discipline and innocence is to your taste, then this may well be the disc for you. Vocalist and instrumentalists all perform with minimum vibrato, artifice and acting. They manage to do something that is all too rare in my fairly limited experience of Bach cantatas: they let the beauty of the music sing for itself.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Just let this music enter your soul. Utterly transfixed from first hearing. As other reviewers have said, 'Ich habe genug' is the highlight. That first aria, of the same name - I can hardly think of anything more profound in the whole of music.

However, I think that it communicates so much more than world-weariness and resignation, and desire for peace. As we know, Bach's faith was the primary inspiration of his art. The cantata was composed for the feast of the Presentation - when the parents of Jesus bring the child to the temple, where they meet the elderly priest Simeon. I am going to quote what he says to them (cf Gospel of Luke), because that is exactly, exactly, what Bach has somehow, miraculously, managed to translate into the universal language of music.

"Now, Master, you give your servant go in peace, according to your promise; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all nations: the light to enlighten the gentiles, and the glory of your people, Israel."

Somehow, Bach manages to find - to my ear - perfect musical expression for Simeon's canticle. He manages to evoke, in this aria, that indefinable territory between Old and New Testaments. It speaks to us of twilight, and it speaks to us of dawn. It speaks to us, yes, of age, of weariness, of longing, and of death - but it also repeats with Simeon, in absolutely unmistakeable tones, "my eyes have seen your salvation". I have seen! Ich habe ihn erblickt!

Herreweghe of course does full justice to all these shifting insinuations, as do the excellent vocals of Peter Kooy. But Bach - Bach! How did you do it??
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