Bach: Cantatas, BWV113,179 & 199; plus documentary

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: BBC Opus Arte
ALBUM TITLE: Bach
WORKS: Cantatas, BWV113,179 & 199; plus documentary
PERFORMER: Kozena.Towers, Padmore, Loges; Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner
CATALOGUE NO: OA 0816 D
The meat of this DVD is the concert that John Eliot Gardiner and his team gave during the course of their Bach Pilgrimage in 2000 at St David’s Cathedral, Wales. The three cantatas concerned, all composed for the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity, arc-all first-rate pieces (as, extraordinarily, most of the cantatas are). The added extra is a documentary- already broadcast on television – charting the progress of the Pilgrimage from places with Bachian associations (Weimar, Leipzig, Eisenach and Arnstadt) to atmospheric British locations — Blythburgh, Kirkwall and, most movingly, lona — and finally to New York for an emotional finale. Gardiner, as usual, holds forth eagerly and informatively on his subject, and we glimpse extracts from various concerts and rehearsals. In the concert itself, Magdalena Kozena is predictably wonderful, intense in voice and spirit, in the fine solo soprano Cantata No. 199, ‘Mein Herz schwimmt im Blut’. But the tenor Mark Padmore is far from upstaged by her in Cantata No. 179, ‘Siehe zu, dass deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei’, where each has an aria. There’s also crisply articulated singing from the Monteverdi Choir and excellent playing, both precise and expressive, from the English Baroque Soloists — a special plaudit for the oboists -making this DVD worth the money for the concert alone. Stephen Pettitt

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