HYMN INSPIRED CANTATAS.
This second cycle (3 disc) of Bach's cantatas is the beginning of a long and remarkable series of chorale cantatas - works inspired both textually and musically by hymns- which gives the cycle its unity. The opening and closing movements of each cantata are usually based word for word on the first and last verse of the hymn and its melody.
Volume 10 focuses on two liturgical dates: the 19th Sunday after Trinity (BWV48,BWV5,BWV56) and Reformation Sunday (BWV79,BWV192,BWV80) with an additonal cantata for Trinity(BWV90).
There is a great variety of instruments used throughout which adds much interest for the listener. The bass continuo in this set of recordings is wonderful to hear. The martial works, BWV130 and BWV119, are well-rounded off by lutes while Koopman's organ continuo accompaniments are perfect testament to why he has gained so many Continuo awards in his day. A perfect 'gem' is the set in BWV134a, which is set on a dialogue between 'Time' and 'Divine Providence', and the recitatives and arias are skillfully supplemented by a harpsichord.
Some of the melodies are quite 'jazzy' as only Bach can produce; those wonderfully lilting tunes that make you want to move with the music. Then, of course, there are the more sombre 'dark' sounds that one should also expect from Bach; those 'turnabouts' harmonically and rhythmically that catch us by surprise. Overall, I found this to be a very pleasing group of cantatas.
Since the cantatas are listed with the CD description, I won't list them here in my review, but the soloists are not, and they certainly must be named, for they are outstanding both in their individual interpretation of Bach, and their ability to sing skillfully They are: Caroline Stam(soprano), Michael Chance (alto) who is in my opinion is a true Bach Master Singer, Paul Agnew (tenor) and Klaus Mertons (bass). Anyone who can sing Bach well, that is,on pitch, with correct phrasing and is able to get in all of Bach's often subtle nuances, must be commended! If you are a singer, and have sung Bach, you can relate to that statement very well.
The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Chorus performed with skill and enthusiasm under the very capable direction of Ton Koopman, who I have found to be a leader who can bring things together while maintaining authenticity and approaching perfection. LET'S GIVE THIS TEN STARS!!!!