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1.8.05

Dip Your Ears, No. 40 (Gardiner Bach Pilgrimage)

available at Amazon
J.S.Bach, Cantatas, vol. 24,
J.E. Gardiner
SDG

What was true for the two first issues of Gardiner’s Bach Cantata cycle on Soli Deo Gloria also goes for the third, volume 24. Bach CD-sets don’t come more magnificently than that (packaging, liner notes, ‘feel’), and Gardiner’s insight coupled with the spontaneity of these live recordings is an insurance policy for exquisite performances of cantatas BWV 12, 103 (Ihr werdet Weinen und Heulen), 146 (recorded at Altenburg), 166 (Wo gehest Du hin?), 108 (Es ist euch gut, dass ich hingehe), and 117 (Sei Lob und Ehr dem hoechsten Gut) (recorded at Warwick). In BWV 12 (Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen) I must again think of Philip Herreweghe’s recent, eponymous disc, and I am left marveling at both. This time, I find no flaws in Gardiner but must give the nod to the superb Herreweghe, in that particular cantata anyway. (I begin to suspect that that CD is going to prove itself one of the great cantata recordings of our time.)

On the SDG label, Julian Clarkson’s bass makes a very impressive and delightful contribution, especially in Weinen, Klagen. The spectacular Baroque organ at Altenburg gets to shine radiantly in the sinfonia of BWV 146 (Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen). If that cantata’s opening sounds a bit familiar, the harpsichord concerto BWV 1052a might provide the answer. An outstanding issue from Gardiner again and this time without quibbles on my part. (A BBC Music Magazine reviewer and Gramophone’s Andrew Farach-Colton, though very positive in their reception, think this volume a tad less convincing than volumes one and eight; in part due to the singers other than Messrs. Padmore and Clarkson.) If you can fit it into your Bach budget, “go get!”

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