JS Bach: Cantatas BWV 27, 84, 95, & 161

LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Cantatas BWV 27, 84, 95, & 161
PERFORMER: Dorothee Mields (soprano), Matthew White (countertenor), Hans J&ounl;rg Mammel (tenor), Thomas Bauer (baritone); Collegium Vocale Gent/Philippe Herreweghe
There has been something of a shake-up of Phillippe Herreweghe’s regular pool of soloists. The most conspicuous absence in this new recording is that of bass Peter Kooij who has sung in almost every previous volume of Herreweghe’s Bach cantata survey. The present team makes a favourable impression, though I regret the bsence of contralto Ingeborg Danz who has made several appearances in the series; on the other hand Matthew White makes a fine appearance, above all in BWV 61. Cantata BWV 84 for solo soprano falls to Dorothee Miels, an affectingBAch singer whose linear clarity and fresh, somewhat boyish vocal timbre enhances the music at every turn. Her partnership with oboist Marcel Ponseele places this piece above its current rivals; nd her contribution to BAch’s playful trio setting with two oboes d’amore of the chorale melody which we asociate with the hymn ‘All glory, laud and honour’ (BWV 95) is captivating. This cantata, together with BWV 27 and BWV 161, is included in volume 8 of John Eliot Gardener’s series, thus offering the more relevant direct comparison and the fiercest of rivals. Both series are accomplished, so making choices is difficult. Herreweghe places emphasis on elegant phrasing at times at the expense of expressive depth. So while there are delights to be savoured, it is on occasion to Gardiner that I turn with higher expectations.