- Cantata No. 9, "Es ist das Heil uns kommen her," BWV 9 (BC A107)
- Cantata No. 170, "Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust," BWV 170 (BC A106)
- Der Gerechte Kommt Um
- Cantata No. 186, "Ärgre dich, O Seele, nicht," BWV 186 (BC A108)
- Cantata No. 107, "Was willst du dich betrüben," BWV 107 (BC A109)
- Cantata No. 187, "Es wartet alles auf dich," BWV 187 (BC A110)
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Beginning in December 1999, England's Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, with conductor John Eliot Gardiner, undertook a complete cycle of Bach's cantatas in live performance. In addition to the use of period instruments, these concerts were doubly "authentic": they were matched as closely as possible to the Lutheran liturgical year, and they included a tour among the north German churches where Bach's music would have had some of its first hearings. There are Bach cycles that are more precise (those by Japanese conductor Masaaki Suzuki are unparalleled in their identification and highlighting of the contrapuntal complexities of Bach's music), and any number that are more virtuosic. Yet there's something compelling about Gardiner's readings, and it goes back to the nature of the entire project. It was and remains a major logistical undertaking, with His Royal Highness listed first among the sponsors. Gardiner moved a large group of musicians and singers around Europe, facing friendly and less-friendly audiences and critics, and learning and rehearsing the music in something like real time. He seems to be wrestling with it, a quality very well captured by his extensive booklet notes. This double-disc set, by some standards, doesn't quite hang together. The cantatas, written for the sixth and seventh Sundays after Trinity, were recorded in two different churches, one in Germany and one in Scotland, with completely different sets of soloists. The sonic ambience is different from one disc to the next, and the liturgical-year concept seems to have less to offer here than elsewhere. Yet somehow with Gardiner there are still any number of moments where the music takes flight. Chief among them here is the solo alto "Cantata No. 170, Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust" (Contented Rest, Beloved Soul's Joy), where countertenor Michael Chance (the alto part is sung by males on both discs) rises to the occasion in long-limbed arias. To experience Gardiner's entire set is a costly proposition, but it would be an experience offering great rewards as well. All texts are given in English and German.
|Label:||Soli Deo Gloria|