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J.S. Bach: Christmas Cantatas
     

J.S. Bach: Christmas Cantatas

by Kevin Mallon
 
In composing his cycles of cantatas for the Lutheran church year, Johann Sebastian Bach naturally devoted some of his most joyous music to the Advent season. The prevailing mood is evident even from the titles of the three works featured on this disc: "Schwingt freudig euch empor," BWV 36 (Ring joyfully out to the stars on high); "Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn!

Overview

In composing his cycles of cantatas for the Lutheran church year, Johann Sebastian Bach naturally devoted some of his most joyous music to the Advent season. The prevailing mood is evident even from the titles of the three works featured on this disc: "Schwingt freudig euch empor," BWV 36 (Ring joyfully out to the stars on high); "Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn!," BWV 132 (Make ready the ways, make ready the path!); and "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland," BWV 61 (Now come, Saviour of the peoples). Toronto's Aradia Ensemble, led by Kevin Mallon, experiments with different period performance style options on this thoroughly enjoyable recording. Throughout, a single instrumentalist performs on each part, transforming the works into chamber music. On "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland," a small chorus is used, but "Schwingt freudig" is even more intimate, with one vocalist per part in the choruses. Naturally, the results are very different from what we usually hear: less robust, perhaps, but scarcely less spiritual. The approach, which puts every performer in the full spotlight, requires especially fine musicianship. This recording does not disappoint; most of the vocal soloists, especially soprano Teri Dunn and countertenor Matthew White, are more than up to the task, and Wash McClain plays the oboe d'amore solos with beautiful, expressive tone. An instrumental suite of Bach's treatments of the "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland" chorale is also included, and it's all recorded with a nice, churchlike touch of resonance to the sound. At a budget price, this is a lovely chance to hear Bach's cantatas in an intriguingly different way.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/17/2000
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0636943482520
catalogNumber:
8554825

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