Bach: Cantatas Vol 21 / Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists

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This eclectic selection covers works for Quinquagesima, the Annunciation, Palm Sunday and Oculi (the third Sunday in Lent) in arguably the least even of the seven releases so far. Yet there are significant contributions smattered throughout, not least Nathalie Stutzmann's purple-clad Widerstehe (BVVV54). This true contralto imparts a captivating resilience in the face of sin's devious tricks. Inspired by the chamber-like ecclesiastical works of Bach's Weimar period, the reduced string ensemble lends a similar intimacy to BWV182, though both works suffer from some scrappy playing that clearly could not be rectified simply by dropping in 'patches' from before or after. Stutzmann, however, projects just the right sense of involvement without forcing the issue.

Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern (BWV1) is the major work here — a masterpiece of understated majesty and gentle celebration (for the Annunciation) where Bach appears to alight on the morning star as a direct resonance of Epiphany; such musical connections within the cantata oeuvre, throughout the church calendar, provide listeners with endless sources of fascination. Gardiner's performance is more an example of a splendid occasion captured rather than a notable addition to a distinguished discography.

BVVV22 and 23 were Bach's first cantatas to have been performed at Leipzig, audition pieces for the post of Thomascantor before his eventual appointment. Both were performed in the same service on the morning of February 7, 1723. Given the Lenten context, Bach hardly had a chance to flex his muscles in opulent displays of orchestration but he makes up for this with two pieces of subtle stylistic range. Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe (BWV22) is strikingly prescient of Passion narrative as Christ prepares for his death with melismas of distilled sadness and acceptance of destiny. Peter Harvey's is an affecting performance, as is the incrementally impressive Du wahrer Gott (BWV23), of which Gardiner completely has the measure.

One special movement to bottle? 'Es ist vollbracht' from BVVV159 arguably even better than the setting of the words at the end of the St John Passion. Heartfelt singing from Harvey is adorned by playing from oboist Marcel Ponseele which is as exquisite as you'll ever hear.

-- Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Gramophone [5/2006]


Product Description:


  • Catalog Number: SDG 118


  • UPC: 843183011827


  • Label: SDG


  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach


  • Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, Clare College Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir


  • Performer: Alex Holton, Claudia Schubert, James Gilchrist, James Oxley, Malin Hartelius, Nathalie Stutzmann, Peter Harvey



Works:


  1. Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe, BWV 22

    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ensemble: Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, Clare College Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir

    Performer: James Gilchrist (Tenor), Malin Hartelius (Soprano), Peter Harvey (Baritone), Alex Holton (Soprano), James Oxley (Tenor), Claudia Schubert (Mezzo Soprano), Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto)

    Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner


  2. Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott, BWV 127

    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ensemble: Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, Clare College Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir

    Performer: James Gilchrist (Tenor), Malin Hartelius (Soprano), Peter Harvey (Baritone), Alex Holton (Soprano), James Oxley (Tenor), Claudia Schubert (Mezzo Soprano), Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto)

    Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner


  3. Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem, BWV 159

    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ensemble: Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, Clare College Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir

    Performer: James Gilchrist (Tenor), Malin Hartelius (Soprano), Peter Harvey (Baritone), Alex Holton (Soprano), James Oxley (Tenor), Claudia Schubert (Mezzo Soprano), Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto)

    Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner


  4. Himmelskönig sei willkommen, BWV 182

    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ensemble: Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, Clare College Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir

    Performer: James Gilchrist (Tenor), Malin Hartelius (Soprano), Peter Harvey (Baritone), Alex Holton (Soprano), James Oxley (Tenor), Claudia Schubert (Mezzo Soprano), Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto)

    Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner


  5. Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54

    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ensemble: Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, Clare College Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir

    Performer: James Gilchrist (Tenor), Malin Hartelius (Soprano), Peter Harvey (Baritone), Alex Holton (Soprano), James Oxley (Tenor), Claudia Schubert (Mezzo Soprano), Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto)

    Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner


  6. Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1

    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ensemble: Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, Clare College Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir

    Performer: James Gilchrist (Tenor), Malin Hartelius (Soprano), Peter Harvey (Baritone), Alex Holton (Soprano), James Oxley (Tenor), Claudia Schubert (Mezzo Soprano), Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto)

    Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner