Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Johann Sebastian BACH (1695-1750)
No. 64, Sehet, welch eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget a
No. 25, Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Liebe b
No. 69a, Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele c
No. 77, Du sollst Gott, deinen Herren, lieben d
No. 50, Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft.

Ab Yukari Nonoshita, cd Yoshie Hida (sopranos);
aRobin Blaze (counter-tenor),
cd Kirsten Sollek-Avella (alto);
bGerd Türk, cdMakoto Sakurada (tenors);
Peter Kooij (bass);
abConcerto Palatino Brass Ensemble;
Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki.
BIS CD-1041 [DDD] [70.58]
Crotchet    Amazon UK    Amazon US

Masaaki Suzuki's excellent Bach Cantata cycle on BIS continues with this well-chosen programme, which presents pieces written for Leipzig in 1723.

Suzuki is alive to the moods and demands of the individual cantatas, lavishing each with equal amounts of care and losing nothing to already established performances of these works. Cantata No. 64, for example, brings him up against the likes of Richter, Rilling, Harnoncourt and, most recently, Koopman (part of a three-disc set), but Suzuki's conception is entirely convincing in its own right.

The role of the chorus in Bach's cantatas is vital: they provide the all-important chorales that act as a life-blood. The Bach Collegium Japan's chorus excels, imbuing them with life whilst simultaneously respecting the devotion at the heart of the music. The chorus that opens Cantata No. 69a ('Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele'), a cross between the openings of the Christmas Oratorio and the D major Magnificat, is infectiously joyful and celebratory.

In addition, recitatives are elevated from mere linking passages to real musical entities within themselves: the short tenor recitative from Cantata No. 25 ('Die ganze Welt ist nur ein Hospital'), delivered by Gerd Türk, is a shining example of just what level of expression can be achieved in a short space of time.

The soloists are almost uniformly excellent. In particular, Yukari Nonoshita possesses a remarkably pure voice (entirely apt for this repertoire) and Peter Kooij seems to feed on Bach's considerable demands: his aria, 'Mein Erlöser und Erhalter' from Cantata No. 69a is a model of precise articulation, clear runs and appropriate phrasing. Only the soprano Yoshie Hida is occasionally not quite focused.

The Cantata fragment Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft, with its spirited imitation and pointed orchestra, provides an uplifting end to a thoroughly enjoyable disc.


Colin Clarke

Visit the Bach Collegium Japan webpage for reviews of other releases in this series 

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