JS Bach: Cantatas, Vol. 36 (from Leipzig): BWV 6, 42, 103 & 108

COMPOSERS: JS Bach
LABELS: BIS
ALBUM TITLE: JS Bach
WORKS: Cantatas, Vol. 36 (from Leipzig): BWV 6, 42, 103 & 108

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PERFORMER: Yukari Nonoshita (soprano), Robin
Blaze (countertenor), James Gilchrist (tenor), Dominik Wörner (bass); Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki

CATALOGUE NO: SACD-1611(hybrid CD/SACD)
Bach first performed these four works at Leipzig during the 1725 Easter season. And what a season it was, for every one of these cantatas finds the composer on irresistible, heart-rending form. Happily, too, the responses of these excellent musicians leave little to be desired.

BWV 42 opens with a substantial da capo instrumental movement with a beguiling cantabile section. The Cantata’s contemplative heart lies in its extended concerto-like alto aria, whose tempo and dynamic is impeccably judged by Robin Blaze. James Gilchrist is as impressive in the opening recitative, the duet for soprano and tenor, and, above all in the demanding tenor aria of BWV 108 with its lyrical, violin obbligato; violinist Natsumi Wakamatsu contributes a lightly articulated performance both here and in the bass aria of BWV 42, where she is partnered by Azumi Takada. Dominik Wörner makes an authoritative showing in the solo bass movements. A stronger contrast hardly could be imagined between the opening chorus of BWV 103 and the elegiac, C minor one with which BWV 6 begins, and which Suzuki imbues with more gravitas than many of his rivals. Chorus and instruments blend sympathetically. Undeniably fine performances by John Eliot Gardiner (BWV 6), Philippe Herreweghe (BWV 42), and Karl Richter (BWV 108) must take second place beside readings

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of this order. Nicholas Anderson