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Bach: Funeral Cantatas

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Seventeenth-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes defined human life as "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." Indeed, without being aware of the short life expectancies, high infant mortality rates, and ever-present threat of sickness and death during that period, it's impossible to fully understand the sacred music of J. S. Bach and his contemporaries. Functioning in tandem with religious faith, music was a comforting balm in the face of suffering. This volume of John Eliot Gardiner's cantata series, planned for the 250th anniversary year of Bach's own death, focuses specifically on mourning. "Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit," BWV 106 also known as the "Actus ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Seventeenth-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes defined human life as "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." Indeed, without being aware of the short life expectancies, high infant mortality rates, and ever-present threat of sickness and death during that period, it's impossible to fully understand the sacred music of J. S. Bach and his contemporaries. Functioning in tandem with religious faith, music was a comforting balm in the face of suffering. This volume of John Eliot Gardiner's cantata series, planned for the 250th anniversary year of Bach's own death, focuses specifically on mourning. "Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit," BWV 106 also known as the "Actus tragicus", and "Lass, Fürstin, lass noch einen Strahl," are odes for funeral services. Both are deeply moving works; the "Actus tragicus" extols in universal terms the paradise to be reached after death, while BWV 198 specifically commemorates the Electress Christiane of Saxony. The soloists in these recordings -- soprano Nancy Argenta, countertenor Michael Chance, tenor Anthony Rolfe Johnson, and bass Stephen Varcoe -- are all distinguished, though Rolfe Johnson's contribution is the most hauntingly eloquent. The Monteverdi Choir's singing in the cantatas has profound spiritual resonance, and they contribute a warm performance of Bach's motet "O Jesu Christ, mein's Lebens Licht," BWV 118/231 -- yet another work that looks forward to the happy promise of the afterlife. While Bach's music grew out of the theology of a specific time and place, the consolation it offers is not the least bit out of date.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/11/2000
  • Label: Archiv Produktion
  • UPC: 028946358122
  • Catalog Number: 463581
  • Sales rank: 126,387

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–4 Cantata No. 106, "Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit," ("Actus Tragicus"), BWV 106 - Johann Sebastian Bach & John Eliot Gardiner (18:51)
  2. 2 Cantata No. 118, "O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht," BWV 118 - Johann Sebastian Bach & John Eliot Gardiner (9:17)
  3. 6–15 Cantata No. 198, "Lass, Fürstin, lass noch einen Strahl," BWV 198 - Johann Sebastian Bach & John Eliot Gardiner (30:37)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
John Eliot Gardiner Primary Artist
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