Tony Way

October 4, 2017
CD and Other Review

Review: Bach: Celebratory Cantatas (Bach Collegium Japan/Suzuki)

Masaaki Suzuki and Bach Collegium Japan have never been content to rest on their considerable laurels. Having completed the Herculean task of recording all of Johann Sebastian Bach’s sacred cantatas in 2013, they have continued to explore the master’s diverse range of secular cantatas, arriving at this volume of celebratory works. Along the way Suzuki and his forces have revealed the richness of Bach’s musical imagination and his sense of humour in these works. The very first volume of the series recorded back in 2003 contains arguably his most popular secular cantata, the so-called Coffee Cantata (BWV211), in a robust account with soprano Carolyn Sampson as the wayward, coffee-drinking daughter and bass Stephan Schreckenberger as her strict and exasperated father. In the fourth volume, the glorious wedding cantata, Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten (BWV202) is radiantly sung by soprano Joanne Lunn, while in the seventh volume the Peasant Cantata (BWV212) is given a lively and well-paced performance featuring soprano Mojca Erdmann and bass Dominik Wörner. Other volumes in the series neatly group together various works: academic cantatas, cantatas for birthdays and funerals; reminding us that most of these cantatas were written to order. The state events that occasioned the works in this…

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