Bach: Cantatas through the Liturgical Year, Vol. 7 - Kuijken

Bach: Cantatas through the Liturgical Year, Vol. 7 - Kuijken

Accent  ACC 25307

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Vocal

Bach: Cantatas BWV 2, 10 & 20

Siri Thornhill
Petra Noskaiova
Marcus Ullmann
Jan van der Crabben
La Petite Bande
Sigiswald Kuijken (conductor)

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Reviews (1)

Review by John Broggio - January 8, 2009

In common with earlier releases, this disc contains wonderful playing and singing of glorious music, containing the cantatas BWV 20 "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort", 2 "Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein" and 10 "Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn" for the 1st and 2nd Sundays after Trinity and Visitatio respectively.

BWV 20 is structured almost as two separate cantatas linked by a common text. Richly scored for strings and 3 oboes, the first movement chorale sees a dialogue started between wind and strings before being joined by chorus in the sustained material that is swapped between the instrumental groupings as an overlay for the dance-like figurations of the counter melody. Siri Thornhill (soprano), Petra Noskaiová (alto), Christoph Genz (tenor) and Jan van der Crabben (bass) provide the usual level of vocal expertise. A succession of recitatives and arias for tenor (with a wonderful word painting example: the flickering flames of hell depicted by running semi-quavers), bass and finally alto allow these artists to display their musicianship as soloists before the first part ends with another chorale. The second part opens with a wonderful aria for bass, joined by an extensive, martial solo trumpet - expertly played by Jean-François Madeuf - that pre-figures the vocal line above an accompaniment of paired oboe and string instruments. After a recitative, the tenor and alto parts sing a touching duet in which Bach is astonishingly sparse in his accompaniment, reflecting the woes of poverty in the text before a final chorale ends the work.

BWV 2 is even more extravagantly scored, requiring 2 oboes and 4 trombones in addition to the usual string forces. The use of trombones gives the music a solemn feeling in the opening chorale that is rhythmically much more simple than the comparable point of BWV 20. Recitatives for tenor and bass prefix arias for alto and tenor respectively that become progressively more dense in texture as the cantata progresses before entire ensemble is again employed in the finale chorale.

BWV 10 is relatively modestly scored, employing just 2 oboes and a trumpet in addition to the strings and continuo grouping. Here Thornhill finally gets a solo of her own (richly deserved and ravishingly well sung) as do all the other protagonists in an aria for bass and a duet for the alto and tenor (that is combined with a chorale). Containing most of the quicker tempi on the disc and
a large number of semi-quavers, this vigorous account highlights the flaws of the recording.

Made in the Predikherenker, Leuven (Belgium), the acoustic has a mammoth reverberation time - one can appreciate the resonance lapping around the listener during the recitatives as each phrase ending dies into silence over seemingly several seconds but it is hardly ideal for BWV 10 and other more densely orchestrated numbers. A great shame.

The comprehensive and highly illuminating notes from Kuijken himself are present in this volume and these are always a stimulating read.

Highly recommended apart from the sound.

Copyright © 2009 John Broggio and


Sonics (Multichannel):

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