INKPOT#88 CLASSICAL MUSIC: BACH Cantatas Vol.8: BWVs 40, 46, 60, 64, 65, 77, 81, 83, 89, 89a, 90, 109, 167. Various/Amsterdam Baroque/Koopman (Erato)
Complete Cantatas Volume 8
| BWV 40 Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes
BWV 46 Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgend ein Schmerz sei
BWV 60 O Ewgkeit, du Donnerwort
BWV 64 Sehet, welch eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget
BWV 65 Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen
BWV 77 Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben BWV 81 Jesus schlft, was soll ich hoffen
BWV 83 Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde
BWV 89 Was soll ich aus dir machen, Ephraim?
BWV 89a (Aria) Was soll ich aus dir machen, Ephraim? (Appendix)
BWV 90 Es reiet euch ein schrecklich Ende BWV 109 Ich glaube, lieber Herr, hilf meinem Unglauben
BWV 167 Ihr Menschen, rhmet Gottes Liebe
DOROTHEA RSCHMANN soprano BOGNA BARTOSZ ELISABETH VON MAGNUS altos
JRG DRMLLER tenor KLAUS MERTENS bass
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir directed by TON KOOPMAN
performing on period instruments
Includes full libretto in German, English and French
ERATO (Warner Classics) 3984-25488-2
3 discs [61:27 + 65:44 + 63:36] full-price
by Chia Han-Leon
This volume is full of treasures. The Singapore distributors took so bloody long to bring this in (not they couldn’t; they refused on account of their conception that it won’t sell) that I had almost given up. Having read a not-so-enthusiastic review elsewhere, I was expecting nothing from Vol.8. Maybe it was these lowered expectations, but whatever the case, I was surprised by the amount of appealing invention and melodism that this set brought. Every disc in this volume is simply gorgeous.
There is the cheerful Bach, opening immediately in the festive chorus of BWV 65, with horns and recorders added to the orchestra. Bach’s music is so simple it confounds even genius – who else can take such innocent looking material, and turn it into such divine sounds? The two arias in this cantata, one for bass with oboes and continuo, and the tenor with full orchestra, are marvellously fresh and appealing. A very auspicious start to this volume, I must say.
The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, as they say, goes from strength to strength. This time I must highlight the stupendous, wonderful contributions of the horn people Andrew Clark and Franois Mrand – try the Brandenburgian opening aria of BWV 83, horns and strings in celebration of the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary. Such cheerful nobility, inspiring even the solo alto of Elisabeth von Magnus, herself also singing from strength to strength in the series (either that or I’m used to her dark voice).
The invention hardly ends: Cantata BWV 89 hosts serious but always lyrical arias for bass, in the best Bachian mould, articulating words, flowing melisma. The reliable presence of Klaus Mertens continues to be a boon to this series, as is the alto of Bogna Bartosz. The soprano Dorothea Röschmann is associated with many Harmonia Mundi recordings (as is Andreas Scholl who sang in Vol.3 of this series). Her presence here is a welcome surprise, easily demonstrated in her passionate (yet light) delivery in this cantata – beautiful round high notes, liquid melisma.
The sunnily majestic opening chorus of BWV 60, with strings and oboes, includes solos for alto and tenor, almost always a brilliant touch. But speaking of the tenor, here’s Vol.8’s main fault. Unfortunately, although I admire Jrg Drmller’s committed tone, I can’t say I agree with his rather thrown-forward, heady voice, which sounds oddly “off”. It reminds me of the style of English tenors, but it just doesn’t work for me in Bach. More worrisome are some of the running passages, which often find Drmller rather smudgy – I can’t tell at all whether he is trying to sing staccato or legato. Then there is the classic Bach
Dave’s J.S. Bach Page | Bach Cantata Listeners’ Guide