> Bach - Arleen Auger [KM]: Classical Reviews- February 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Arleen Augér sings Bach
Mein gläubiges Herze BWV 68
Bete aber auch dabei BWV 115
Ich esse mit Freuden mein weniges Brot BWV 84
Tief gebückt und voller Reue BWV 199
Wie zittern und wanken BWV 105
Höchster Tröster, Heilger Geist BWV 183
Ich bin herrlich, ich bin schön BWV 49
Meinem Hirten bleib ich treu BWV 92
Auch mit gedämpften, schwachen Stimmen BWV 36
Komm in mein Herzenshaus BWV 80
Ich wünschte mir den Tod, den Tod BWV 57
Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen BWV 127
Wie freudig ist mein Herz BWV 199
Arleen Augér, soprano
Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Helmut Rilling
Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn
Rec: 1983.
HAENSSLER CD 94.035 [67.20]
The late Arleen Augér was born in 1939 in California, and her career led her through a wide variety of music and composers until her untimely death in 1993. An excellent singer of lieder, such as that of Schubert and Schumann, a fine opera singer, especially of Mozart, she was a consummate Bach singer, and stands as one of the greatest soloists in Helmut Rilling’s complete recordings of Bach’s cantatas for Haenssler. This disc is an anthology of some of her finest arias from these Bach recordings.

Augér’s coloratura is gentle and subtle, and her humility makes her ideal for Bach’s spiritual soprano arias. In the slow, flowing aria Bete aber auch dabei from cantata BWV 115 she lets her voice follow the music without trying to lead it, and gives a fine performance. In the long Tief gebückt und voller Reue in cantata BWV 199, she is more expressive, and her energy comes to the fore, in fitting with the jubilant nature of the music.

Her expressiveness and musicality reach summits in the aria Wie zittern und wanken from cantata BWV 105. Few singers can inject such emotion into music as she does in this song. Her voice melds so perfectly with the obbligato oboe in this aria that the two melodies sound like intertwined vines.

Ich wünschte mir den Tod, den Tod from cantata BWV 57 has the drama of some of the profoundest movements of the St. Matthew Passion. Augér gives a visceral performance of this aria, using her full range and all the subtleties of here voice. This may be the most moving piece on this disc.

This is an excellent disc, one that shows how much Arleen Augér was at home with Bach’s cantatas. The selection of arias she recorded with Helmut Rilling is very good, although it would have been possible to choose many more. This is an essential recording for Bach lovers, and, at its bargain price, should be snapped up right away.

Kirk McElhearn

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