WORKS: Complete Cantatas, Vol. 2: Cantatas, BWV 12, 18 (plus Appendix), 61, 132, 152, 172, 182 (plus Appendix), 199, & 203; Quodlibet BWV 524
PERFORMER: Barbara Schlick (soprano), Kai Wessel (alto), Christoph Prégardien (tenor), Klaus Mertens (bass); Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir/Ton Koopman
CATALOGUE NO: 0630-12598-2 DDD
Ton Koopman has elected to issue the cantatas of his projected complete edition in chronological order, which, of course, bears no relation at all to the familiar BWV catalogue numbers. Thus we should not be surprised to find BWV 199, for instance, among Bach’s earliest essays in cantata writing. It is beautifully sung here by soprano Barbara Schlick, though not without the slightest hint of
vocal strain and some occasional background distortion.
On balance, this second instalment of the series is more satisfying than the previous issue. One of Koopman’s many good ideas is to offer the listener some, but not all, of Bach’s variants of movements, where they are known. Among those featured here is an alternative scoring of the beguiling ‘Sonata’ of BWV 182. And, as if to underline the ‘completeness’ of the venture, Koopman includes the doubtfully authentic ‘Amore traditore’ (BWV 203), though this fact is not acknowledged in the booklet text.
Of greater interest and rarity value is a fragmentary wedding Quodlibet (BWV 524), whose robust character, enigmatic jumble of verbal conceits and saucy double entendres present a side of Bach all too seldom encountered and sometimes only grudgingly acknowledged by commentators. Solo contributions throughout are variable but the series looks all set to go from strength to strength. Nicholas Anderson