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Bach Collegium Japan and Masaaki Suzuki recorded their 55 CDs of J.S. Bach’s church cantatas in the porcelain-egg-like purity of Kobe Shoin Women’s University Chapel. For this final disc in the secular part of their cantata series they chose Saitama Arts Theatre Concert Hall, where the warm, clear acoustics enhance Bach’s more worldly music with a gentler liveliness. Cantatas of Contentment includes Angenehmes Wiederau, BWV204, celebrating the manorial estate of Wiederau and composed for the occasion where a solemn oath was taken by subjects on the accession of a new lord in 1737 (Bach reworked much of this material for the church cantata Freue dich, erlöste Schar, BWV30). As ever, nimble choral singing and loveliness of line delights. Of the soloists, bass Dominik Wörner may not please all with his articulation so close to laughter, but universal praise must flow to soprano Carolyn Sampson, who not only graces this work, powering magisterially through her aria, but also takes sublime ownership of the solo ‘moral’ cantata Ich bin in mir vergnügt BWV30a. There’s glorious playing from the orchestra and a proper acknowledgement of the excellent obbligato soloists.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica

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