Bach: Cantatas, BWV 8, 51, 78, 80, 140, 147

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LABELS: L’Oiseau-Lyre Double Decca
WORKS: Cantatas, BWV 8, 51, 78, 80, 140, 147
PERFORMER: Bach Ensemble/Joshua Rifkin
CATALOGUE NO: 455 706-2 1987/89
Six popular Bach cantatas are given Rifkin’s radical one-to-a-part treatment. Though lacking the grandeur available to larger forces, Rifkin’s small ensembles offer admirable clarity of line and texture plus a charming sense of intimacy. They’re especially effective here in BWV 8 and 80, the former’s gently rocking first chorus among Bach’s loveliest creations. Still, these performances can also sound rather threadbare – remember, Bach himself was distinctly unhappy about the meagre numbers with which he had to work. Graham Lock