WF Bach: Lasset tins ablegen die Werke der Finsternis; Es ist eine Stimme eines Predigers in der Wiiste; Dies ist der Tag; Erzittert und fallet

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COMPOSERS: WF Bach
LABELS: Capriccio
WORKS: Lasset tins ablegen die Werke der Finsternis; Es ist eine Stimme eines Predigers in der Wiiste; Dies ist der Tag; Erzittert und fallet
PERFORMER: Barbara Schlick (soprano), Claudia Schubert (alto), Wilfried Jochens (tenor), Stephan Schreckenberger (bass); Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert/Hermann Max
CATALOGUE NO: 10 425/10 426 DDD
Friedemann Bach’s compositional style is extraordinarily ambivalent, from some intensely Romantic keyboard polonaises to these church cantatas which look back almost wholly to his father – opening chorus, recitatives and arias, and a final chorale harmonisation. Brilliant trumpets and drums in choruses, and delicate woodwind duetting with voices in the arias reflect the technical excellence of Bach’s singers and instrumentalists at Halle during the late 1750s. He also takes to extremes his father’s cruel taxing of the voice, particularly in the choruses. The Rheinische Kantorei responds splendidly with spectacular, if sometimes rather vacuous, virtuosity. Set within pounding concerto-like rhythms, this is thrilling stuff.

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One cantata begins with a full three-movement instrumental Sinfonia-effectively a delightful pre-Classical symphony. The arias range from a love-duet between Christ and the Christian soul, to a virtuoso contest between soprano and violin. The solo team is excellent, with Claudia Schubert particularly striking.

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These cantatas are a delightful find – far more than merely a historical curiosity. George Pratt