Bach, JM Bach, JC Bach

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: Naïve Astrée
WORKS: Cantatas, BWV 53 (Hoffmann), BWV 54
PERFORMER: Gérard Lesne (countertenor); Il Seminario Musicale
This programme of vocal music by Bach and his two most gifted forebears, Johann Christoph and Johann Michael, offers almost an hour of uninterrupted pleasure. Gérard Lesne and Il Seminario Musicale go from strength to strength. The instrumentalists play with greater unanimity of thought and with a much more refined notion of ensemble than they used to, providing Lesne’s own sensitive vocal inflections with intuitively complementary support. It is nearly half a century since Alfred Deller made his immortal recording of Bach’s Weimar cantata ‘Widerstehe doch der Sünde’ (BWV 54). Many have followed since then, some of them, like that by Helen Watts, approaching Deller in their expressive puissance. But Lesne comes closest of all in realising the poetry of this deeply affecting piece which Deller understood so well. Lesne attends to every textual detail, is impeccable in his declamation and modestly virtuosic in the technically demanding second aria. Happily, he has included in his menu the evocative solo cantata ‘Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde’ (BWV 53). Once attributed to JSB it is now known as a family interloper, the work of Melchior Hoffmann. Lesne’s performance of it is animated and warmly textured. In short I have nothing but admiration and praise for a disc of such merit as this one deserves. Nicholas Anderson