- Sinfonia for violin, 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, strings & continuo in D major, BWV 1045 (BC A193)
- Cantata No. 129, "Gelobet sei der Herr," BWV 129 (BC A93)
- Cantata No. 187, "Es wartet alles auf dich," BWV 187 (BC A110)
- Cantata No. 39, "Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot," BWV 39 (BC A96)
The ongoing cycle of Bach cantata releases by conductor Masaaki Suzuki and his Japan Bach Collegium has been a major fixture of the historical-performance scene in the first years of the 21st century. The cycle neared its end with this trio of cantatas, each of which begins with a large chorus illustrating the theme and often the substance of the text before proceeding with arias for each of three soloists (soprano, alto, and bass) and ending with the usual chorale. Unlike competitors who have grouped the cantatas by external criteria, Suzuki presents sets of musically similar pieces, making for single discs that are more homogeneous and more likely to focus the listener's attention on close details. And close details there are aplenty in Suzuki's readings, which expose Bach's polyphony in precisely controlled choral singing (the Collegium consists of about 18 singers, handpicked and clearly extensively drilled) unlike any other performances on the market. If John Eliot Gardiner is the Brahms of historical Bach performance, with the warmth and humanism of his readings, Suzuki is perhaps the Webern. Suzuki excels in complex, detailed choruses such as the first movement of the "Cantata No. 39, Brich den Hungrigen dein Brot, BWV 39" (Break thy bread to the hungry), with its shifts in texture illuminating the breaking of bread, and his multinational group of soloists is nonpareil. If there's any complaint this time, it's that countertenor Robin Blaze is something less than full voice, but the BIS label's sound has, if possible, even more lifelike transparency than usual. Recommended; sample any one of the opening choruses, and you may be hooked on the "Suzuki method."