Label: ACCENT SACD 25301Sophie Karthäuser, soprano; Petra Noskaiová, alto; Christoph Genz, tenor; Dominik Wörner, bass-baritone
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Cantata BWV 98 "Was Gott tut, das ist wohl getan" – 21st Sunday after Trinity; Cantata BWV 180 "Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele" – 20th Sunday after Trinity; Cantata BWV 56 "Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen" – 19th Sunday after Trinity; Cantata BWV 55 "Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht" – 22nd Sunday after Trinity
La Petite Bande/Sigiswald Kuijken
For several years, we have chosen to perform the vocal works of J. S. Bach (Cantatas, Motets, Passions, etc.) with vocal forces of one singer to a part, and not with a "choir" in the usual sense. Indeed, some well founded musicological studies, started nearly a quarter of a century ago by Joshua Rifkin, demonstrated that Bach – as well as his contemporaries – was used to composing his "modern" music for performance by such a vocal quartet. So, in the Cantatas, Passions, Magnificat and Masses, these "performers" would have to sing everything that appeared in the score: the recitatives, the arias, the chorales and the ensembles (choruses). Thus the works for double choir (certain Motets, the St. Matthew Passion) had to have eight singers. This corresponds exactly with Bach's kind of writing. Even if there exist nowadays choirs of reduced size, which can perfectly overcome the technical difficulties posed by Bach's scores, it seems to me more and more that the practice of tripling and quadrupling the vocal forces in Bach's works is comparable to playing a Haydn quartet with 16 musicians. Certainly "realizable", but less appropriate to the actual essence of the work's writing. In the version with "soloists", the whole can remain transparent, and yet "inhabited" by the individual contributions of the four singers. A certain "madrigalism" can be detected, which hardly corresponds to a "choral" performance. The instrumental forces are also those suggested by Bach, and are those found every time in the original material, which comes down to us. Needless to say, the performance without a "conductor", in the "modern" sense, is vital from this point of view, and thus the creation of the moment becomes more than ever a shared and essential act by all the participants. The program presented here is part of a vast project, spread over many years. Indeed, we have undertaken the realization of a complete liturgical year of Cantatas. This will result in about 20 CDs, bringing together the Cantatas for every Sunday and the great Festivals of the liturgical year. We will give them in groups of three or four Cantatas, wherever possible in the appropriate period of the year.