- Cantata No. 199, "Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut," BWV 199 (BC A120) - Johann Sebastian Bach - Jeffrey Kahane - Angeles Chamber Orchestra - Allan Vogel - Roland Kato - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - Roseline Seng
- Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049 - Johann Sebastian Bach - Margaret Batjer - Margaret Batjer - Angeles Chamber Orchestra - David Shostac - Brook Ellen Schoenwald - Roseline Seng
Lorraineby Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
American mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson died in 2006, just three years after the performance of Bach's "Cantata No. 199, Mein Herze schwimmt in Blut (My Heart Swims in Blood), BWV 199," heard here was recorded live with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Although one of the most highly regarded singers of her time, Hunt Lieberson did not leave a large recorded legacy. Live recordings of her are prized and have been trickling out since her death. This is a superb example. More known for Baroque opera than for Bach, Hunt Lieberson turned to Bach later in life, while she was suffering from the cancer that would eventually kill her. She took her operatic trademarks -- detailed, extremely sensitive response to the text and a great variety of unique vocal moves, including unusual tempo freedom, deployed in support of it -- and applied them to this darkest of Bach's solo cantatas, where the sufferings of the despondent sinner are relieved only at the very end by heavenly light. Even in rehearsals, recalls one of the annotators, the musicians were gripped by Hunt Lieberson's performance; in the actual concert it is extraordinarily powerful. There are a few complaints, of course. Opening the program is a very zippy "Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, BWV 1049," recorded in 2011; combining extreme speed with sharp, clear articulation of the solo instruments, it's not uninteresting, but it hardly makes a good pairing with Hunt Lieberson's performance. The remastered sound from Yarlung Records seems to strip the live ambiance from the music. But one can see why they did so. The basic sound environment of Royce Hall at the University of California at Los Angeles renders Hunt Lieberson's voice clearly, and the engineers have opted for a straight-on, close-up view of the diamond.
- Release Date:
- Yarlung Records
Performance CreditsLorraine Hunt Lieberson Primary Artist
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Moving performance serves as a tribute to the late soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson passed away from cancer in 2006. She was, by all accounts, an incredibly gifted artist with a clear, beautiful and unmannered timbre and whose every performance contained great emotion and a sense of personal connection to the music. Lorraine was also one of America's great singers; a home grown performer who specialized in art songs and who was equally comfortable with the music of the Baroque as she was with contemporary music (her husband was composer Peter Lieberson) It is also said that she was a perfectionist and if she noticed anything at all in an orchestra's rehearsal performance or that of her own it would truly rattle her and she would carry one but with an introspection; so deep was her need to do well. This recording of the Bach cantata "Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut" (My heart swims in blood) is easily one of the most beautiful I have heard. Bach's text is taken in large part from the letters of Paul and the mood covers a whole range from near despair at the inevitable to the elation of feeling forgiven; redeemed. Just knowing that this would be one of Lieberson's very last recordings and performance makes the listening incredibly poignant. The LA Chamber Orchestra, under Jeffrey Kahane, is one the nation's treasures; one of the greatest chamber orchestras we have and the very important oboe obligato is performed with beauty and dignity by Allan Vogel. This work is reason to buy this disc and experience the rare gift of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. According to booklet notes, Bach's original key for the cantata is C-minor but was later transposed to D-minor. Additionally, the Weimar ensemble of 1714 played to a low A of 412 vps or so. Kahane and Lieberson choose to perform the cantata in contemporary intonation but transposed to B-minor (so that the resultant sound is pretty close to the original "flat" C-minor and there is a weight to the performance) The "bonus" in the wonderful disc is the Brandenberg #4, (in the "Italian style" of fast-slow-fast) performed joyously and with great authenticity. Special kudos to Bob Attiyeh and to Yarlung Records for another superbly engineered recording.