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  BIS -
  Bach: Cantatas Vol. 38 - Suzuki
  Bach: "Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht" BWV 52, "Ich habe genung" BWV 82, "Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht" BWV 55, "Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid" BWV 58

Carolyn Sampson (soprano)
Gerd Türk (tenor)
Peter Kooij (bass)
Bach Collegium Japan
Masaaki Suzuki (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Vocal
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 1

Review by wehecht September 20, 2008 (4 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
If you don't already know BWV 52 you may be startled, upon hitting play, to discover something that sounds like it's on the wrong disc. No, it's not the Brandenburg concerto #1, but this introductory Sinfonia is based on an earlier version of music that ended up in that famous piece. After that initial surprise we're treated to superlative renditions of three of Bach's solo cantatas and a duet cantata (bass and soprano)all from the winter of 1726-27. The program notes speculate about possible reasons for this series of solo cantatas instead of the more common choral form. One of these possible reasons has always seemed most likely to me, namely that Bach was preparing the St. Matthew Passion for performance in 1727 and simply could not simultaneously produce a new choral cantata for each week's worship services. Whatever the reason all four of these pieces lend themselves particularly well to the intensely devotional style of Masaaki Suzuki whose personal spiritual life is firmly within the Lutheran tradition of which Bach's Passions represent the highest form of musical expression. To be sure the Cantatas are not the Passions, but soloists Carolyn Sampson, Gerd Turk, and Peter Kooij seem to be wholly committed to Suzuki's approach and the result is quite special.

While each of the pieces provides its own viewpoint on such weighty matters as sin and death, the fickleness of the world and the steadfastness of God, it probably bears mentioning that BWV 82, Ich habe genug (I am content), is among the most famous and popular of all of the church cantatas. The singer expresses not just contentment at the thought of impending death, but a longing to depart this life for the next (invoking the biblical song of Simeon, incorporated in various liturgical traditions as the nunc dimittis). Peter Kooij is fabulous in this piece, but there is an excellent alternative sacd on DG (00289 474 5052) with Thomas Quasthoff the impressive bass soloist. While honors between the singers are more or less equal I prefer the BIS version for its pairings, its superlative sound, and Suzuki's direction. Ich habe genug (or genung as BIS spells it) is also available in versions for mezzo and soprano. Given the theme of the believer's willing embrace of impending death, two rbcd versions have special meaning for me. William Parker (bass) and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (mezzo) each recorded the piece in the midst of grave illnesses from which both would die within a couple of years. Perhaps it's just the power of suggestion that comes with knowing the circumstances, but each of those recordings just seems to move me in a way no others quite manage

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Works: 4  

Johann Sebastian Bach - Cantata "Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid", BWV 58
Johann Sebastian Bach - Cantata "Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht", BWV 52
Johann Sebastian Bach - Cantata "Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht", BWV 55
Johann Sebastian Bach - Cantata "Ich habe genung", BWV 82