Bach: Secular Cantatas, Vol. 9 - Contest of Phoebus & Pan / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan

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Most of Johannes Sebastian Bach’s secular cantatas were written for specific political, academic or private festive occasions. In the case of Geschwinde, ihr wirbelnden Winde,...

Most of Johannes Sebastian Bach’s secular cantatas were written for specific political, academic or private festive occasions. In the case of Geschwinde, ihr wirbelnden Winde, BWV 201, however, it may well be that Bach composed it for his own sake: the message conveyed in the work can be interpreted as a defence of Bach’s own artistry and musical attitudes against the trend of the time towards easier fare.

Subtitling the cantata ‘dramma per musica’, Bach sets an episode from Greek mythology in which Phoebus (Apollo) and Pan enter into a musical contest. Phoebus, the god of the arts, presents a beautifully balanced and technically accomplished aria, while Pan sings a rustic dance tune. The judges offer Phoebus the prize, but the verdict isn’t unanimous – King Midas prefers Pan’s catchy ditty, for which Phoebus punishes him by giving him donkey ears. On this amply-filled disc Bach’s praise of high art is followed by another tribute, now to Augustus III, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. It is likely that Augustus never knew that the same music had been used 10 years earlier to congratulate a Leipzig academic on his promotion: Auf, schmetternde Töne… BWV 207a is based almost entirely on Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten, BWV 207. But Bach was something of the recycler’s recycler, and already BWV 207 included music from the First Brandenburg Concerto, with a choir added to the forces, and trumpets and timpani replacing the horns.

REVIEWS:

BWV201 is an enormous piece lasting over three-quarters of an hour...The score is packed with imaginative passages describing the landscape, the characters and the events of the preposterous mythological scenario. It is, needless to say, utterly superb music.

BWV207a...like the companion piece on this disc, is indulgently scored with trumpets and timpani in addition to the usual woodwind and strings. A grand and exciting sound it all makes too. Thirty minutes of the most glorious music.

It is almost superfluous to mention that the performers are excellent, the notes are detailed and scholarly and the recording is spectacular in its clarity and spaciousness but still a realistic sound picture of the recording space.

-- MusicWeb International



Product Description:


  • Release Date: January 05, 2018


  • UPC: 7318599923116


  • Catalog Number: BIS-2311


  • Label: BIS


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: Baroque


  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach


  • Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Bach Collegium Japan, Bach Collegium Japan Chorus


  • Performer: Joanne Lunn, Katsuhiko Nakashima, Nicholas Phan, Dominik Wörner, Masamitsu Sannomiya, Kiyomi Suga, Christian Immler, Robin Blaze



Works:


  1. Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan, BWV 201

    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ensemble: Bach Collegium Japan, Bach Collegium Japan Chorus

    Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki


  2. Auf, schmetternde Töne, BWV 207a

    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ensemble: Bach Collegium Japan, Bach Collegium Japan Chorus

    Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki