J.S. Bach: Weimar Cantatas 2

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
As the forces named on the cover imply, this is a one-voice-per-part and also a one-instrument-per-part, performance, with the quartet of soloists taking choruses, chorales, and solo sections alike, and the string parts also reduced to a single instrument each. The jury is still out on this American-originated approach, which has gained adherents as well in the Bach heartland of northern Germany. Now a group of well-known English Baroque players and singers has put its own national spin on the procedure in a series devoted to the cantatas from early in Bach's career. This release, the third in the series, is also the second of a pair devoted to Bach's years in Weimar. ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
As the forces named on the cover imply, this is a one-voice-per-part and also a one-instrument-per-part, performance, with the quartet of soloists taking choruses, chorales, and solo sections alike, and the string parts also reduced to a single instrument each. The jury is still out on this American-originated approach, which has gained adherents as well in the Bach heartland of northern Germany. Now a group of well-known English Baroque players and singers has put its own national spin on the procedure in a series devoted to the cantatas from early in Bach's career. This release, the third in the series, is also the second of a pair devoted to Bach's years in Weimar. Although there are two discs, the program is barely longer than what would have fit on a single disc. The order of events makes sense, with two large-ensemble works enclosing the more intimate "Cantata No. 182, Himmelskönig, sei willkommen" King of Heaven, be welcome, BWV 182. The one-voice-per-part mode comes off as particularly radical in a work like the opening "Cantata No. 172, Erschallet, ihr Lieder" Resound, ye songs, BWV 172, with its three trumpets and drums. The evidentiary problem with this way of performing Bach is that records showing the works were at times performed like this don't prove, especially in music stylistically rooted in congregational singing, that such a performance was ideal. The case is easier to make in cantatas consisting of a couple of arias flanked by a modest chorus and a chorale; in the massive "Cantata No. 21, Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis" I had many worries, BWV 21, with its two large sections each subdivided into smaller movements, the constant madgrialian texture begins to wear. Soprano Emma Kirkby's voice is not as pearly at the top as it once was, and the result in many passages is a rather pinched quality in the articulation of the text -- as if the many worries of BWV 21 related to gasoline prices, perhaps -- not only in Kirkby's voice but with the entire quartet. There's still plenty of fine singing on display, especially from countertenor Michael Chance and tenor Charles Daniels, and there's a case to be made for the one-voice-per-part procedure even here. Further, the virtuosity in balancing these small forces against a complement of trumpets and drums is impressive. But listeners other than fans of these singers may find that there's something about these performances that doesn't quite jell.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/30/2008
  • Label: Chandos
  • UPC: 095115075227
  • Catalog Number: 752
  • Sales rank: 116,538

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Cantata No. 172, "Erschallet, ihr Lieder," BWV 172 (BC A81) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Philip Bainbridge (20:26)
  2. 2 Cantata No. 182, "Himmelskönig, sei willkommen," BWV 182 (BC A53) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Philip Bainbridge (28:29)
  3. 3 Cantata No. 21, "Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis," BWV 21 (BC A99) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Philip Bainbridge (38:50)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Purcell Quartet Primary Artist
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