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Cantatas for Soprano

 

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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Cantatas for Soprano Solo
Cantata Ich bin in mir vergnügt, BWV 204 (c. 1726/26) [29.53]
Cantata Mein Herze schwimmt in Blut, BWV 199 (Weimar version, 1714) [22.25]
Cantata Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn' ihn, BWV 1127 (1713) [15.02]
Dorothee Mields (soprano)
L'Orfeo Barockorchester/Michi Gaigg
rec. 9-10 December 2014, SWR Funkstudio, Stuttgart, Germany
CARUS 83.309 [67.46]

German soprano Dorothee Mields, a baroque specialist, has chosen to record these three cantatas; works written some thirteen years apart. Two of these are sacred works, products of his time at the Weimar Court and the third is a secular work written as Cantor at St. Thomas’s Church, Leipzig.
 
At St. Thomas’s Church Bach wrote more than just sacred works. Written in 1725-26 the secular cantata Ich bin in mir vergnügt, BWV 204 is a ‘moral’ cantata not, it seems, written for a specific occasion or person. Here Bach uses a text by Christian Friedrich Hunold. In this substantial work the soprano is accompanied by flute, oboes strings and basso. Notable are the two longest arias, the exquisite Ruhig und in sich zufrieden here engagingly sung and Meine Seele sei vergnügt moving performed and with some pleasant ornamentation.
 
Written in 1714 to a text by Georg Christian Lehms the church cantata Mein Herze schwimmt in Blut, BWV 199 was first performed at a church service on the 11th Sunday after Trinity at the Weimar Court. Here the accompaniment comprises oboe, viola obbligato, strings and basso. Outstanding is the middle of three arias Tief gebückt und voller Reue with Mields in reverential voice conveying remorse and imploring God for forgiveness.

A previously unknown work from 1713, the strophic aria Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn' ihn BWV 1127, was discovered by Bach researcher Michael Maul stored in a shoe box in a conservation workshop at the present Anna Amalia Library, Weimar in 2005. The setting of a text by theologian Johann Anton Mylius is based on the personal Latin motto of Bach’s employer and patron Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar Omnia cum Deo et nihil sine eo. This is tasteful and gracious although some may find it a touch monotonous. It is beautifully sung and Mields conveys both introspection and a soothing reverence.

Early music ensemble L’Orfeo Barockorchester under the sensitive direction of its founder Michi Gaigg plays compellingly and with considerable style. In the booklet there is a helpful essay by Klaus Hofmann translated from German. Gratifyingly sung texts and English translations are provided in the booklet. Recorded at the SWR Funkstudio the sound engineers have provided satisfying clarity although for my taste I prefer the soloist to be set further forward in the balance. J.S. Bach enthusiasts have no reason to hesitate with this Carus release. It is rewardingly performed with Mields in outstanding form.

Michael Cookson
 

 

 




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