My reviews, on this board, to the Gardiner Bach Pilgrimage, are, I know, becoming rather redundant. Thus far, I only have an abundance of praise for Gardiner and his forces' endeavors! Per usual the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloist are superb.
To me this seventh release of the series (actually volume 21) finds J.S. Bach at his very peak. In fact, BMW 22 & 23 on the first disc were used by Johann as "audition material" when he applied for the cantorship position at Leipzig's St. Thomas's church. . I'm sure those two cantatas must have "knocked the socks off" of the "selection committee" because they are truly glorious works! (Proof is, of course, that he got the job and maintained it for more than twenty years!) Bach's writings for the chorus and for the orchestra, in Volume 21, is particularly awesome--listen to the opening "Arioso" for tenor. Bass and chorus of BMV 22 on the first disc -it's gorgeous. Also listen to tract seven on the second disc--another wonderful chorus! Once again, the soloists too are outstanding
Nathalie Stuzmann, alto on the second disc is wonderful in the solo cantata BMW 54. Likewise, James Gilchrist is again outstanding in his tenor solos--listen to tracts 6&16--outstanding!
Do read the wonderful notes in the album for the religious connotations of the works in this volume. Again I must refer you to the previous reviewer for his exemplary overview of the contents of Volume 21.
I wish that I could make my review more interesting by having something negative to say; however, I can't find anything negative to say. So just listen to this album and you will find dear Johann at his compositional peak!