- Cantata No. 211, "Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht," (Coffee Cantata), BWV 211 (BC G48)
- Cantata No. 212, "Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet," (Peasant Cantata), BWV 212 (BC G32)
- Cantata No. 203, "Amore Traditore" (doubtful), BWV 203 (BC G51)
auto-inserted 09-17-2014 15:56:46
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It sure doesn't sound like Johann Sebastian Bach -- this is lighthearted and laughing music of broad wit and human warmth -- and it sure doesn't sound like Ton Koopman -- this is goofy and giddy music-making with plenty of juice -- and yet it's both Bach and Koopman. Apparently even Bach had to lighten up sometimes -- how many cantatas with names like "My Heart Swims in Blood" and "I Stand with One Foot in the Grave" can anyone compose before they have to try something a bit more life affirming? And Koopman had to lighten up, too: after spending so much time recording Bach's every extant sacred cantata, most on similarly cheerless subjects, how could Koopman not turn to Bach's secular cantatas with palpable relief? This coupling of the famous and hilarious "Coffee" and "Peasant" cantatas along with the doubtful but delightful "Amore traditore Cantata" brings together three of Bach's most cheerful works in a performance recorded in vividly immediate digital sound in 1995 and 1996. Played as always on period instruments by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and sung as usual with historically informed intelligence by four of Koopman's best soloists, these performances are perhaps as most notable for their -- how else to put it? -- low humor as for their musicality. There's a broadness to the performances, particularly in the "Peasant Cantata," that would make Mozart blush and Beethoven fume. But surely in a work described by its composer as a "Cantante burlesque," unbuttoned fun ought to be permissible, particularly when the soloists are as obviously enjoying themselves as soprano Els Bongers and bass Klaus Mertens? While not perhaps for the most devout Bach listeners -- and for them there is always the Crucifixus from the "B minor Mass" -- anyone who enjoys the music of P.D.Q. Bach will enjoy this music by his nominal father, J.S. Bach.