WORKS: Schlage doch gewünschte Stunde, BWV 53; Ich habe genug, BWV 82; Bekennen will ich seinen Namen, BWV 200; Vergnügte Ruh, BWV 170
PERFORMER: Jochen Kowalski (alto)Academy of St Martin in the Fields/ Kenneth Sillito
CATALOGUE NO: 10 523 DDD
This is the second CD of Bach cantatas that Nancy Argenta has recorded with Ensemble Sonnerie. Like its predecessor (also on Veritas), the disc is an eloquent reminder that the cantatas include not only the magnificent choral pieces for which they are best known but also some exquisite works for solo voices.
BWV 202, the popular ‘Wedding Cantata’, is a sparkling success here, Argenta and Paul Goodwin’s obbligato oboe conjoined in delightful rapport as Monica Huggett proffers tender violin sighs. BWV 84, with its moving declarations of spiritual joy, and the captivating ‘Italian Cantata’, BWV 209, are equally winning, the performances as fluent and sensitive as they are technically impeccable. Argenta’s singing, coolly focused yet beautifully expressive, underlines her growing reputation as one of today’s pre-eminent soprano voices.
Jochen Kowalski’s disc comprises solo cantatas for alto and adds a thematic link in their texts’ eagerness to embrace mortality. The famous BWV 82, Ich habe genug, is better known in the version for bass, and the briskish tempi taken here further attenuate what some may consider a requisite sense of gravitas. Still, Kowalski sings throughout with thrilling conviction, and the ASMF maintains polished support. (NB: BWV 53, despite its attractions, is generally considered not to be Bach’s.) Graham Lock