COMPOSERS: JS Bach
ALBUM TITLE: JS Bach
WORKS: Tombeau de Sa Majesté la Reine de Pologne; Missa à 4 Voci; Herzlich tut mich verlangen, BWV 727 etc
PERFORMER: Katharine Fuge (soprano), Carlos Mena (countertenor), Jan Kobow (tenor), Stephan MacLeod (bass), Francis Jacob (organ); Ricercar Consort/Philippe Pierlot
CATALOGUE NO: MIR 030
Philippe Pierlot and his Ricercar Consort have put together a rewarding programme of vocal and instrumental music by Bach in part to form a context for the beautiful Trauer Ode (BWV198). He wrote it for a memorial service in 1727 for Christiane Eberhardine, consort of Augustus the Strong and Electress of Saxony. While Augustus had converted to Catholicism in order to gain the Polish throne, his wife remained a staunch Lutheran thereby winning the hearts of her subjects. For her, Bach produced an elegy of quite outstanding tenderness much of whose music he was to include in his lost St Mark Passion (BWV247). Pierlot bookends the Trauer Ode with the organ Prelude and Fugue in B minor, BWV544, and punctuates its two parts with the organ chorale Herzlich tut mich verlangen, BWV727. The other vocal work on the disc is Bach’s Lutheran Missa in A major (BWV234), in which, like the Trauer Ode a single voice to a part practice is adopted.
Pierlot has already proved to be a sensitive and stylish Bach interpreter and in this recording his musicians illuminate Bach’s textures with elegant phrasing and a pleasing balance between voices and instruments. Their performance of the transcendently lyrical, concerto-like opening chorus of the Ode, though, is too robust and lacking in an elegiac spirit. That quality, has, perhaps, been captured more poignantly by Jürgen Jürgens (Teldec-Warner), whose seemingly more emotional responses achieve greater fervour. Nicholas Anderson