Bach: Cantatas BWV 73, 105, 131

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LABELS: Virgin Veritas
WORKS: Cantatas BWV 73, 105, 131
PERFORMER: Barbara Schlick, Gérard Lesne, Howard Crook, Peter Kooy; Collegium Vocale, Ghent Chorus & Orchestra/Philippe Herreweghe
Bach’s 1707 setting of the ‘De Profundis’, Aus der Tiefe, is the earliest of these cantatas. It’s an astonishingly mature work, and Herreweghe coaxes some beautifully expressive singing from his Belgian choir in the slow fugue, ‘Meine Seele harret auf sein Wort’, which lies at the centre of the piece. His orchestra is also very good, with an outstanding oboist. I am less keen on the soprano Barbara Schlick, who sounds rather edgy in the extraordinary aria ‘Wie zittern und wanken’ in No. 105.


The later cantatas date from 1723 and 1724, and formed part of Bach’s first cycle of cantatas for Leipzig. They’re both fine works, full of dramatic and pictorial effects: in the bass aria of No. 73, for example, the lines about death bells are accompanied by pizzicato strings. Among the soloists it is Peter Kooy who stands out, with even tone and excellent diction. It’s worth pointing out that, in the declamatory tenor solo of No. 105, Herreweghe opts for obbligato oboe rather than the indicated horn (or cornetto). But these are good performances, well recorded with a fitting amount of resonance. Stephen Maddock