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Only nine cantatas survive from the annual cycle Bach supposedly composed on texts published by Picander during 1728-29. Three of the four here are typical in their liberal use of parody: the Sinfonias that open BWV 188 and BWV 156 rework movements from lost concertos, while the ‘New Year’ cantata BWV 171 includes a jubilant soprano/violin dialogue (performed with cavorting elation by Rachell Nicholls and Natsumi Wakamatsu) that derives from the secular cantata Aeolus Appeased, BWV 205. The remaining work, BWV 159, a meditation on suffering and salvation, recalls the past in very different fashion: its bass aria, tenderly shaped by Peter Kooij and oboist Masamitsu San’nomiya, quotes Christ’s words, ‘Es ist vollbracht’ (‘It is finished’), as did the climactic alto aria in Bach’s Johannespassion. With Gerd Türk also beautifully expressive in the poignant ‘Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe’, Masaaki Suzuki’s series continues to impress and engage.

Graham Lock Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2011 - ©Rhinegold Publishing