COMPOSERS: JS Bach
ALBUM TITLE: JS Bach: Cantatas BWV 70, 9 & 182
WORKS: Cantatas, BWV 70, 9 & 182
PERFORMER: Gerlinde Sämann, Petra Noskaiová, Christoph Genz, Jan van der Crabben; Le Petite Bande/Sigiswald Kuijken
CATALOGUE NO: ACC 25318 (hybrid CD/SACD)
As Sigiswald Kuijken chooses the best of a single liturgical year from JS Bach’s 199 extant Church Cantatas, you can be sure of gems in each successive disc. Recording quality, too, gains from the added dimension and spaciousness of SACD for those equipped to enjoy it. There are some striking high-spots here: the second part of BWV 70 opens with uplifting springy instruments accompanying the optimistic tenor aria of Faith in Everlasting Life. The following bass recitative is extraordinary: accompanied by strings, but then with obbligato slide trumpet playing, wordlessly, a chorale melody, its familiar text to be imagined by the Leipzig congregation. I was left breathless by the flute/oboe d’amore quasi-trio, opening BWV 9. The orchestra accompanies discreetly, and the soprano finally presents the choral ‘Es ist das Heil’ above lower voices’ contrapuntal warp and weft. BWV 182 also opens with a trio, charmingly accompanied by pizzicato strings.
Of the one-to-a-part voices, Gerlinde Sämann has a lovely quality but sacrifices sustained tone to diction. Christoph Genz’s upper range glows brightly and Jan van der Crabben displays a fine dramatic sense. The double-trio, two wind instruments alternating and combining with soprano and alto, in BWV 9 is particularly effective. But all are occasionally masked in their lowest registers by careless balancing with instruments, and the close intimacy of the very opening chorus conceals the warming ambience of a Belgian church.
Bach at his best, performed with great commitment.