Bach: Cantatas, Vol. 54

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ALBUM TITLE: Bach: Cantatas, Vol. 54
WORKS: Cantatas, Vol. 54: Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, BWV 100; Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit, BWV 14; Gott ist unsre Zuversicht, BWV 197; Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe, BWV 197a
PERFORMER: Hana Blaziková (soprano), Damien Guillon (countertenor), Gerd Türk (tenor), Peter Kooij (bass); Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki


This penultimate disc of Masaaki Suzuki’s 18-year project to record all Bach’s cantatas includes three remarkably varied works. BWV 100 is brilliantly coloured; two unashamedly brazen horns and timpani; delicate flute, oboe d’amore and solo violin; and ripieno strings create contrasting groups dancing in and out of the phrases of the chorale. Suzuki balances detail sensitively, helped by the SACD sound. Every verse opens with the same unifying text but each is strikingly individual. Alto and tenor imitate each other over Suzuki’s subtly delightful continuo; the flute cascades over soprano and bass in verse three; off-beat bass and strings bound through the next verse; and the countertenor’s gently-flowing lines ease ‘all pains’ in the final aria.

BWV 14 opens in motet style, choral voices doubled by instruments creating five real parts of masterly counterpoint. Hana Bla‑íková duets exuberantly with trumpet in her aria. A trio of oboes and continuo flow round Peter Kooij’s bass with matchless fluency.

BWV 197 includes two notable high-spots: oboe d’amore and countertenor in canon through a glorious lullaby. The bass aria opening Part 2 is scored as nowhere else in Bach: for oboe, two muted violins, obbligato bassoon and continuo. It’s a magical sound. This is a superb disc, Suzuki at one with Bach – and both at their best.


George Pratt