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V 17: Bach Cantatas

Monteverdi Choir Gardiner English Baroque Soloists , Bach J.S. Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 39.09 & FREE Shipping. Details
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5.0 out of 5 stars As Good As It Gets May 13 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
These Bach Cantatas are truly as good as it gets. Bach's music is heavenly. The texts are a joy. The recordings are wonderful. Gardiner's interpretations are splendid. Indeed, these are so good that I would highly recommend the entire set of Gardiner Bach cantatas to anyone who enjoys choral music.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT QUITE THE BEST Aug. 11 2009
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This pair of discs contains Bach's 4 surviving cantatas for New Year's Day plus the 2 that we have from him for the Sunday after, which in the year 2000 fell on the very next day. Those already familiar with the series will have an idea what to expect. They will find sound and erudite style in the direction, they will find singing that is assured, affectionate and beautiful from both soloists and chorus, they will find immaculate instrumental work using period instruments and they will find the standard of the recording to be high.

Also as usual Gardiner contributes one of his deep and illuminating essays on the works offered in the set. Occasionally in other volumes what he says puzzles me, but this time he puzzles me for an unexpected reason. Gardiner expresses particular admiration for the opening chorus and the aria Woferne in BWV 41, and for some reason these are the precise places where I still, after four or five hearings, feel slightly disappointed. Could the recording be just a little dull? That's a possibility, but in Woferne I think the main problem is the performance, and in the chorus - dare I even say this - I have a sneaking suspicion that it is not really Bach's best, whatever Gardiner may say. My view of the music would not influence the rating I give the set, but what I would have liked from the conductor would have been more light and shade in the texture. Bach's choral writing does not have the resourcefulness or audacity of Handel's. Nobody's does, I guess, but when the composer's inspiration is only at reduced strength the director has to help. In Woferne I sensed the thing ambling along rather than being alight with enthusiasm such as I am used to this great series. I am also curious to know whether a specialist cello of the kind that Gardiner mentions as being called for in the score is actually played.

From the start of BWV 16 matters return to the high standard that I have come to expect eagerly from every issue in this project, and they remain at that level. I am also enthusiastic for the first cantata performed here, which I am personally convinced is authentic Bach although the scholars seem to be divided on this matter. It is dated to 1708, when Bach was in his 23rd year and well prior to his main cantata period, which was the 1720's. If this work is pastiche it is very good pastiche indeed, even if one concedes that Bach is easier to imitate then most great composers. However, supposing the date is right why would anyone bother to pastiche a young composer not yet established? The work is on the small side admittedly, particularly the opening chorus, and the very attractive second chorale is simple in style. I'm convinced that I hear the great authentic voice all the same.

The texts make an interesting contrast. On New Year itself they are upbeat and confident, but doubts and uncertainties beset the liturgists by the Sunday following. I do not believe that misgivings were any part of Bach's radiant Christian faith, and the sharp difference in the tone of the words is far less evident from the music. For all his towering and transcendental greatness as a composer, Bach is not a complex phenomenon, and for all his colossal thoroughness and technical mastery he is not forbidding or hard to get to know. Gardiner's fine 'pilgrimage' series, performing and recording all the cantatas on the liturgical dates for which they were written, does an enormous service to music lovers by making some of Bach's greatest music known to us after we sat in darkness for so long. All we have to do is enjoy it, and that should not be too much to ask.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gardiner continues pilgramage. July 15 2009
By Vegan Daddy - Published on Amazon.com
John Eliot Gardiner continues the Bach Pilgramage with this Vol. 17: Berlin. I am glad that Amazon has finally picked up the CD recording of this (available August 11th) since I've had mine for quite some time now. Quickly, here are the titles of cantatas on this recording:

BWV 143 - Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele
BWV 41 - Jesu, nun sei gepreiset
BWV 16 - Herr Gott, dich loben wir
BWV 171 - Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm
BWV 153 - Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind
BWV 58 - Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid

Cantata 41, the only cantata on this set with trumpets and why I purchased this set, is a bit too overdone. Also, the trumpets are not as clean as other Gardiner Bach sets. Niklas Eklund performs on a majority of the cantata editions but here Italian Gabrielle Cassone (who mind you is extremely capable) leads the section. These cantatas are recorded live so it is my opinion it was not as good a take. I might recommend the Bach Collegium Japan doing their rendition of this BWV 41 on Vol. 33 SACD Hybrid (BIS-SACD 1541).

Overall, this set is an excellent addition to the Bach period instrument repertoire. Enjoy!!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious! Another jewel in the crown... Aug. 19 2009
By baroquemusician - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Gardiner's outstanding cantata series continues and this one, Volume 17, is no exception. Pointed solos along with an agile, well honed chorus present a treasure-trove of discoveries as these cantatas are seldom performed today. This special volume is a great value as you get two discs for the price of one!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bach Cantatas Vol. 17 March 11 2010
By Cricket - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This a terrific and thrilling CD.
I would like eventually to have the entire series.
The cover color photos are astounding.
All positives.
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