JS Bach: Cantatas, Vol. 43

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COMPOSERS: JS Bach
LABELS: BIS
WORKS: Cantatas, Vol. 43: BWV 57, 110 & 151
PERFORMER: Hana Blazíková (soprano), Robin Blaze (countertenor), Gerd Türk (tenor), Peter Kooij (bass); Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki
CATALOGUE NO: SACD 1761 (hybrid CD/SACD)

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Bach Collegium Japan responds magnificently to such diversity of expression and contrasting forces.

Peter Kooij is particularly striking, singing with such uncontrived ease in two robust arias, ‘Laast uns jauchzen’ (BWV 16) and the duet with trumpet, ‘Wacht auf!’, of BWV 110. He’s fearsome in the rattling concitato of the ‘battle aria’ (BWV 57) in which Jesus assures the Soul the ‘Yes, I can smite the enemies…’

The added dimension of SACD sound clarifies the warm acoustic of the Shoin Women’s University Chapel in the densest of textures – the opening chorus of BWV 110, which is borrowed from the Fourth Orchestral Suite but with added trumpets and drums.

Recording balance could, perhaps, have aided Hana Blažíková, the soprano of Vol. 43. Alone in recitative she has a charmingly fresh voice but, in the rich texture of four string parts, its rather uneven tone disappears almost completely in the lowest register, only to burst forth as the pitch rises.

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Two excellent stages in Suzuki’s on-going Cantata project, with Vol. 42 particularly highly commended. George Pratt