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Bach: Saint Michel Cantatas
     

Bach: Saint Michel Cantatas

by Eric Milnes
 
This disc is an early entry in a complete recording of Bach's cantatas undertaken by the Montréal Baroque. Conductor Eric Milnes opts for Joshua Rifkin's controversial "B minor madrigal" approach, with the four soloists joining together in the choral movements -- there is no choir.

Overview

This disc is an early entry in a complete recording of Bach's cantatas undertaken by the Montréal Baroque. Conductor Eric Milnes opts for Joshua Rifkin's controversial "B minor madrigal" approach, with the four soloists joining together in the choral movements -- there is no choir. Many listeners, given the strong congregational resonances of the chorales on which most of the cantatas are based, may find this especially grating in the cantata repertory. Sample the tumultuous track 7 to see whether you like the effect. If you do, then you may wish to take note of new discs in the series as they appear. The cantatas are grouped intelligently; the three on this disc are big pieces for Michelmas, celebrating the final clash between the archangel Michael and Satan during the Apocalypse. They challenge the conductor with trumpets and drums that have to be balanced with the singers and kept clear in the texture. Milnes succeeds on both counts, and the soloists have medium-sized voices, without too much vibrato, that are right for this Sunday-morning repertory. One wishes for a bit more oomph from bass Stephan MacLeod in the aria "Der alte Drache brennt vor Neid," from the cantata "Herr Gott, dich loben alle Wir." One also wishes that the word "Drache" in the title of this aria had been accurately translated as "dragon" rather than as the archaic "serpent" (texts are in German, French, and English). In general, however, the liner materials do a good job of introducing Bach's world, and the spacious but temperate SACD sound design of the disc is top-notch. For listeners convinced on the issue of one-voice-per-part performance -- and Canada's Atma label obviously is, for they're planning to devote 15 years to this series -- this Canadian release will be welcome news.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/24/2006
Label:
Atma Classique
UPC:
0722056240123
catalogNumber:
22401
Rank:
146571

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Cantata No. 130, "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir," BWV 130 (BC A179)
  2. Cantata No. 19, "Es erhub sich ein Streit," BWV 19 (BC A180)
  3. Cantata No. 149, "Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg," BWV 149 (BC A181)

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