Bach: Cantatas: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140; Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147

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COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: DG Archiv
WORKS: Cantatas: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140; Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147
PERFORMER: Ruth Holton (soprano), Michael Chance (countertenor), Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor), Stephen Varcoe (bass); Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner
CATALOGUE NO: 463 587-2 Reissue (1990)
John Eliot Gardiner’s Bach Cantata survey on disc continues with two of the best-known of them, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, which contains the famous chorale popularly known as ‘Sleepers, Wake’ and Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, which includes the even more celebrated chorale – thanks to Myra Hess – ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’. These performances were made just over ten years ago and, if I were choosing just one disc from Gardiner’s series so far, then it might well be this one. The Monteverdi Choir is on excellent form and the solo line-up by and large a strong one. Wachet auf needs a director with a good sense of theatre, and Gardiner is well able to convey the textual imperatives of its wonderfully evocative and stirring opening chorus. Few if any other available versions of the piece succeed better than this one, though one, made many years ago under the direction of Karl Ristenpart and no longer available, remains unsurpassed. Nicholas Anderson

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