Bach: Cantatas, BWV 56, 82 & 158; Sinfonias from Cantata, BWV 35

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COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Cantatas, BWV 56, 82 & 158; Sinfonias from Cantata, BWV 35
PERFORMER: Matthias Goerne (baritone); Salzburg Bach Choir, Camerata Academica Salzburg/Roger Norrington
CATALOGUE NO: 466 570-2
In this year of Bach anniversary pilgrimages, it’s good to follow Weimar-born Matthias Goerne as he returns to his roots. Taking a break from Lieder, he turns to the three bass cantatas Bach wrote for Leipzig in 1726-7: their common theme of the calm and single-minded anticipation of death is most beautifully expressed in Goerne’s noble and sensitive baritone.

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For ‘Ich habe genug’, the great Nunc dimittis of Bach cantatas, the gently oscillating strings and filigree oboe of the Camerata Academica Salzburg, conducted by Roger Norrington, support Goerne’s lyrical phrasing as, meditating on the Song of Simeon, he breathes warmly through the aspirates of hope and heaven, and rests on the echoing vowels of that lullaby of the spirit, ‘Schlummert ein’.

Then ‘Der Friede sei mit dir’ (the greeting of the risen Christ) heralds Cantata 158’s central aria of farewell to the world. Here the fine gold thread of Rainer Schmidt’s solo violin and the boyish sopranos of the Salzburg Bach Choir weave their way through Goerne’s gently ardent singing.

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For ‘Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen’, Goerne gladly bears the cross through the cantata’s succession of metaphors: gamely riding the waves of the cello’s arpeggios on the sea of life, and soaring like an eagle with Albrecht Mayer’s thermalling oboe. Hilary Finch