J.S. Bach: Cantates célèbres BWV 4, 202 & 147

J.S. Bach: Cantates célèbres BWV 4, 202 & 147

by Karl Richter


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As collections of Bach's cantatas go, the three joined together on this disc are more than acceptable. Karl Richter was one of the best Bach conductors -- and, let us not forget, one of the better Bach organists -- of the postwar, prehistorically informed performance period, and his recordings for Deutsche Grammophon's Archiv label of a complete cycle of church-year cantatas with the Munich Bach Chorus and Orchestra were one of the most universally admired projects of its time. In the three cantatas coupled here, Richter's 1964 recording of "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147," is sumptuous and heartwarming; his 1969 recording of "Christ Lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4," is severe and awe-inspiring, especially with the sterling contribution of baritone nonpareil Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau; and his 1959 recording of "Weichet nur betrübte Schatten, BWV 202," is vivacious and joy inducing. Whether later listeners acclimated to the leaner sound of historically informed performances will be able to accept Richter's modern instruments, big orchestra, and bigger chorus is up to the individual, but even the most truculent of contemporary listeners won't deny the dedication and musicality of Richter and his forces. While listeners who already know Richter's work probably already have these performances, listeners who don't know his work may want to check this disc. It may be the start of a beautiful friendship. Deutsche Grammophon's sound is clean though shallow in the 1959 recording, but deep, warm, and radiant in the 1964 and 1969 recordings.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/27/2008
Label: Deutsche Gram France
UPC: 0028945917023
catalogNumber: 459170
Rank: 122092


  1. Cantata No. 147, "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben," BWV 147 (BC A174)
  2. Cantata No. 4, "Christ lag in Todes Banden," BWV 4 (BCA 54)
  3. Cantata No. 202, "Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten" ("Wedding Cantata"), BWV 202 (BC G41)

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