Bach: Cantatas BWV 96, 122 & 180

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ALBUM TITLE: Bach Cantatas Vol 26
WORKS: Cantatas BWV 96, 122 & 180
PERFORMER: Yukari Nonoshita, Timothy Kenworthy-Brown, Makoto Sakurada, Peter KoojiBach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki
Masaaki Suzuki has maintained


the reduced choral strength first

encountered in Vol. 25 of Bach

Collegium Japan’s cantata series

(reviewed last November). The result

is an even greater linear clarity than

before and an additional luminosity,

too, which serves particularly well

the lyrical opening chorus of BWV

180. As Suzuki reminds us in his

introductory essay, this movement,

one of three in the cantata which

incorporates a stanza of Johann

Franck’s communion hymn with

Johann Crüger’s celebrated melody,

is among the most beautiful in Bach’s

vocal repertoire. The 12 voices of

the choir achieve an ethereal and

altogether magical effect in this

dance movement with its softly

coloured accompaniment of treble

recorders, oboe, oboe da caccia and

strings. But there is an important

contemplative dimension to this

hymn which is better understood,

perhaps, by Gustav Leonhardt

(Teldec) and Fritz Werner (Erato),

both of whom allow the music to

unfold at a much more leisurely pace. Having said that, Suzuki’s

overall performance of this satisfying

work, almost a dance suite, sets

a very high level indeed of Bach


BWV 122, a Christmas piece,

and BWV 96 for the Trinity season

come off comparably well with more

relaxed tempos than in BWV 180.

The solo vocalists, who also sing

in the choruses are excellent, with

outstanding contributions from

Yukari Nonoshita and Makoto

Sakurada, both of whom feature

in the previous volume. Timothy

Kenworthy-Brown is a newcomer to

the series who, though he has no arias

in these particular works, promises

well. The instrumental playing is,

as almost invariably, accomplished

with especially agile contributions

from Liliko Maeda (flute) and

Akimasa Mukae (sopranino


recorder). Nicholas Anderson