3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Bach: 6 Favourite Cantatas (BWV 147, 80, 140, 8, 51 & 78) /Rifkin (Audio CD)
Joshua Rifkin leads The Bach Ensemble in this truly magnificent recording of some of the Cantatas by Bach. These recording date from the mid 1980s and the performance and digital sound are excellent.
Most of the sections are solo numbers. Rifkin has taken a refreshing look at the sources for these works. The resulting interpretational effort of the Cantata No 80 is different to other recordings. Rifkin gives the choruses to four voices only; and he applies the same practice to the instrumental parts.
Rifkin has chosen to use a female voice in the soprano register for the boy treble parts. This is a reasonable thing considering modern boy voices are unlikely to convey the expressive potential of Bach`s vocal writing.
For the alto register, Rifkin uses an adult male voice. This offers an expressive sensibility to do justice to the music.
The performance is lively and fresh. For example the brisk tempo of the chorale "Jesus bleibet meine Freude", more familiarly known to us as "Jesu, joy of man's desiring" from Cantata No. 147.
The fugal opening chorus also works well. In fact once again we get a rather unique interpretation of this part.
The instrumental playing is very enjoyable and the woodwind and brass players make strong contributions.
The whole recording is on authentic instruments. The oboe playing by Stephen Hammer, Virginia Brewer and Marc Schachman is very atractive. Jane Bryden is Soprono, Drew Minter is counter tenor, Jeffrey Thomas is Tenor and Jan Opalach is bass. In fact all that perform on this outstanding recording should be comended for their wonderful contribution. The resulting recording is one that shows off the beauty of Bach`s cantata output.
This is a very good release with strong performance and great sound engineering. It is a recording that should not be overlooked.