And now I have heard them live too, Suzuki's Bach Collegium. The first word that came up was 'light', featherlight, sunlight, as light as open weave silk, translucently light. Each single instrument , each single voice in the sphere of its own sound, but no individualists. Suzuki creates and maintains the harmony of spheres. I cannot remember the names of the superb musicians, but will never forget Hana Blazikova's voice. Beautifully long tones without vibrato or with a tiny vibrato at the end, however, hardly noticeable then. For such a long time I have been looking for singer who have that ability. It reminds me of young Ella Fitzgerald or Barbara. Compared to Suzuki's style the traditional German interpretations I know sound like carpenters, expert carpenters yes, but carpenters that need force to get the nails in the right place. Suzuki plays Bach the way I love Him: never heavily sad, never zum Tode betrübt, no prostrate lament, never dragging, but LIGHTLY swinging, LIGHTLY tiptoeing, with a LIGHT sniff or a LIGHT cheer. More so than Kuijken or Koopman.
I bought nearly every released volume in this collection, and realized it is almost impossible to find in them a disappointing interpretation of a single piece of music. The cantatas, Masaaki Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan and its soloists were born to join their remarkable virtues with the purest sound that BIS, this so proficient Swedish company, is able to record. If, like me, you are interested to praise God baroquely, or if you just like Bach and is pondering which set of cantatas to buy, anyway, go with this.