Bach: Cantatas through the Liturgical Year, Vol. 11 - Kuijken
Accent ACC 25311
Classical - Vocal
Bach: Cantatas "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" BWV 12, "Halt in Gedächtnis Jesum Christ" BWV 67, "Ich bin ein guter Hirt" BWV 85
Jan Van der Crabben
La Petite Bande
Sigiswald Kuijken (conductor)
Review by John Broggio - November 3, 2010
A rather more cheerful set of Cantatas than recent volumes of this ongoing cycle have contained.
The opening work, "Halt im Gedachtnis Jesum Christ" BWV 67, contains some very virtuostic writing for the orchestra which is audibly taxed in the opening chorus (not just the horns but the violins) - an unusually poor standard for these forces. Fortunately the writing quickly settles and the vocal team of Gerlinde Samann, Petra Noskaiova, Christoph Genz and Jan Van der Crabben are on their expected good form and their musicianship is well up to the standards expected of them. Interestingly in the quartetto Aria "Friede sei mit euch", the orchestra seems to have upped its game which makes the tuning problems of the first movement even more frustrating.
The theme of this disc is the three Sundays after Easter ("Quasimodogeniti", "Misericordias Domini" and "Jubilate") and from the 8 works that could have populated this release, the choice made by Kuijken was made for "no particular reason". The cantata chosen for the second Sunday, Ich bin ein guter Hirt BWV 85, is interesting because it is particularly well balanced for each of the four singers; it opens with a succession of arias for each soloist before they finally sing together in the closing chorale. A wonderful display piece for them and they take full advantage; Kuijken also displays his instrumental prowess in the alto aria "Jesus ist ein guter Hirt" with some wonderful violoncello da spalla playing. Wonderful stuff in every respect.
The rather dolorous "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" BWV 12 concludes the disc, with some wonderful oboe playing that makes the most of the plaintive writing to wring every last drop of emotion from the score to the opening Sinfonia. It is the following quartetto Choral "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" that is the emotional core of the work and disc - beautiful singing and playing make for a heart-rending musical experience. All except the soprano (presumably too bright a sound for the subject matter at hand) then get arias which are delivered with the sensitivity that one has come to expect.
The recording was made in Rosario, Bever (Belgium) and is admirably well suited to the music, granting both a pleasing sense of atmosphere and yet it never overwhelms the details to be found in the scores (but some might justifiably feel there is too much acoustic information to cloud take the focus away from the musicians).
Recommended except for BWV 67.
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