Bach: Cantatas: Ich habe genug, BWV 82; Ich armer Mensch, Ich Sündenknecht, BWV 55

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LABELS: Virgin
WORKS: Cantatas: Ich habe genug, BWV 82; Ich armer Mensch, Ich Sündenknecht, BWV 55
PERFORMER: Ian Bostridge (tenor); Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi
CATALOGUE NO: VC 5 45420 2
Tenor Ian Bostridge has joined forces with the orchestra Europa Galante in a programme of two cantatas (both of which they performed during the 2000 Proms season), a varied selection of arias and two of Bach’s instrumental sinfonias. Bach wrote only one cantata for solo tenor, Ich armer Mensch, ich Sundenknecht. Bostridge gives an eloquent, sensitively articulated performance of it, together with the much better known cantata Ich habe genug. The booklet, which prints only the text of the first aria of the latter, is wrong in identifying it as BWV 82a. Bach made several versions of this deeply satisfying piece, in which he rang the changes between solo bass voice, solo soprano and solo alto. What he did not leave, however, is one for solo tenor, though it makes perfect sense, with requisite transposition, for a tenor to appropriate it. Bostridge has done so, following Bach’s version for soprano in which the oboe of the other version is replaced by a flute. Perhaps it’s because my ear has become accustomed to it, perhaps not, but neither the soprano nor tenor register mirrors the spirit of the text as trenchantly as the customarily encountered bass and this, above all, in the celebrated lullaby ‘Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen’. The remaining vocal items are tenor arias from the cantatas punctuated by two stylistically contrasting instrumental pieces from Bach’s Weimar period (Sinfonia to BWV 18) and his last Leipzig decade (Sinfonia to BWV 212, the Peasant Cantata). Nicholas Anderson