What are the most obvious differences between Bach’s religious cantatas and these secular cantatas? 

The aim of the composition. That makes the essential difference of the character of work, but still it remains within Bach’s language.

Masaaki Suzuki Masaaki Suzuki. Photo supplied.

Has recording his secular cantatas taught you anything about his religious ones?

Our project of secular cantatas taught us that actually in Bach’s attitude toward composing there was no difference between sacred and secular cantatas, in spite of some technical differences derived from the different aim. And this is probably how he has felt about his life in – and outside of – the church.

Most of these cantatas were composed for a special event and never played again in Bach’s lifetime. Is this ever apparent from the music?  

I do not think so. He has done his best to make the music suitable for each case, whether or not they might ever be repeated.

Have any other musician’s interpretations of Bach influenced your own approach?  

Leonhardt and Harnoncourt’s versions of the complete cantata recordings are at all times a basic model to me, although in detail we...