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Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

Cantata BWV 196
Der Herr denket an uns
Discussions - Part 1

Previous Messages

Johan van Veen wrote (February 29, 2000):
[7] Some time ago there was a discussion on the performance practice of Bach's cantatas in which every part is sung by only one singer. A new recording has just been released with four cantatas performed this way, by the German ensemble Cantus Cölln. I would like to give my impressions. First the details.

Four cantatas are performed (in this order):
1) Christ lag in Todesbanden (BWV 4)
2) Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (BWV 106)
3) Der Herr denket an uns (BWV 196)
4) Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen (BWV 12)

The ensemble Cantus Cölln consists of:
Johanna Koslowsky (Soprano), Elisabeth Popien (Contralto), Gerd Türk, Wilfried Jochens (tenor), Stephan Schreckenberger (bass), Karin van Heerden, Beate Knobloch (recorder), Uwe Hartwich (trumpet), Katharina Arfken (oboe), Andrea Keller, Werner Ehrhardt (violin), Antje Sabinski, Claudia Steeb (viola), Werner Matzke (cello), Jean-Michel Forest (violin), Lorenzo Alpert (bassoon), Carsten Lohff (organ)
Director is Konrad Junghänel.

The performances are excellent from a technical point of view. All players belong to the very best on the early music scenes. The string players for example are all members of Concerto Koln, one of the best orchestras in baroque and classical music.

One of the preconditions for a successful on-to-a-part performance is that the voices blend. You just can't put some solo singers together and hope they will do their best to sound like an ensemble. But although these singers all have solo careers, they work together very closely in this ensemble, and have done so for years. That definitely pays off. The Choruses and chorales as well as the duets sound great. They all use hardly any vibrato, and in particular in some Choruses where the harmonies are very important, that has a very striking (positive) effect on the emotional impact of the performance.

The program contains four early cantatas, all composed around or before 1714. I don't know what view Konrad Junghänel holds on the point of one-to-a-part performances (the booklet doesn't give any information about that), but in general the performance of early cantatas in this manner doesn't meet as much opposition as does such a performance practice in the Leipzig cantatas.

What about the interpretation? My feelings about that are somewhat mixed. I feel that the emotional content of some of the cantatas isn't fully exploited.

The best performance is cantata BWV 196. It is assumed that this is a Wedding cantata, but there is no firm evidence for it. It is a rather happy and uncomplicated work, very short but very beautiful. I don't understand why the only recordings of this piece are part of complete editions. It seems that no director wanting to do some cantatas, is looking at this one, and that's a great shame. The fast tempi on this CD work well here. Johanna Koslowsky gives a fine performance of the short da capo Aria 'Er segnet, die den Herrn furchten'.

As far as the instrumental aspect of this CD is concerned, the players may be technically better than for example those on the Teldec recording. But they are far less colorful. What I am missing is the characterization of the content of the text by the instruments. They are too often just accompanying the singers.

On the whole, an interesting recording, and - with all the reservations I have - one of the best of its kind.

M. Saramago wrote (February 29, 2000):
[7] (To Johan van Veen) Hi Johan. Thanks for your impressions on that cantata CD. Could you tell us the label and if possible the catalogue number?

Johan van Veen wrote (March 1, 2000):
[7] (To M. Saramago) Sorry I forgot that. It is on Harmonia Mundi France - HMC 901694; playing time: 70'23".

Matthew Westphal wrote (March 19, 2000):
[7] Here are some more impressions. (This is the long version of what I whittled down to make a review for Amazon.com: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

The one-singer-per-part theory seems to have made the most headway in the early cantatas -- probably because the arguments over the interpretation of the Entwurff don't apply.

Der Herr denket an uns, BWV 196, is a winsome little Wedding cantata for singers and strings only; it benefits greatly from the light touch Cantus Cölln has always brought to the madrigal repertory. (See their recording of the Italian madrigals of Schutz.) I particularly liked the lilting tenor-bass duo "Der Herr segne euch".

I haven't yet praised Wilfried Jochens' singing, at once vigorous and sensitive, or that of the ladies, who are outstanding. Soprano Johanna Koslowsky can float an ethereal chorale melody, toss off virtuoso runs and take your breath away with a descending figure trailing off into silence (the end of "Es ist der alte Bund" from the Actus Tragicus). All done with equal skill, and all in a tone so pure she could almost pass for a boy Soprano. Alto Elisabeth Popien is every bit as good.

With Herreweghe and Jacobs already on Harmonia Mundi's roster and with some expressed reluctance on Junghänel's part to bring the one-on-a-part approach to some of the larger Leipzig works), I don't know how many more cantata recordings we'll get from Cantus Cölln. But I hope they at least do some more early works like Aus der Tiefe and Gott ist mein Konig.

Harry Steinman wrote (March 22, 2000):
Hey, a quick note to Matthew and Frank and All. Thanks for the recommendation of the Cantus Cölln recording that included the Actus Tragicus (Harmonia Mundi 901694) as well as BWV 4, BWV 12, and BWV 196. This is WONDERFUL singing and instrumentation. Everything is so crisp and clean...the soprano is wonderful (as are the other singers). This ensemble has quite a distinctive and pleasing sound. I HIGHLY recommend this recording to any and everyone.

 

Discussions in the Week of April 9, 2000

Aryeh Oron wrote (April 9, 2000):
Background

This is the week of cantata BWV 196, according to Jane Newble's suggestion. This is another very early cantata, which means a complete unity and no recitatives.

For some background on BWV 196, I like what Simon Crouch (of our group) wrote in his Listeners Guide to the Cantatas of J.S. Bach:

The Wedding cantata BWV 196 probably contains little that will initially strike you as outstanding but repeated listening may convince that the lightness and simplicity of the music meshes perfectly with the simple and beautiful message of the text. So much so that perhaps the simplicity is the simplicity of a master craftsman. No journeyman could accomplish this! But then this work was composed early in Bach's career and perhaps one might see it as an apprentice's work hinting at the future glories to come.

An opening instrumental Sinfonia (with the feel of chamber music) is followed by Chorus, Soprano Aria, Tenor and Bass Duet and a final, lively, Chorus. Each is beautifully crafted, the Solo/Duet movements containing convincingly expressive writing and the choral movements a hint of the contrapuntal ability to follow.

Compare the simplicity of this cantata with the grandeur of another Wedding cantata, BWV 195. Such a contrast between two very fine works!

Personal Viewpoint

And something personal:
Last year I made my Bach tour in (East) Germany, visiting 17 cities and villages connected to Bach. Among them was the small village of Dornheim, not far from Arnstadt. This village is so small, that you might skip it . But equipped with good map, I found it quite easily. Entering the village there were two cars on the side of the road and the drivers were exchanging details after small accident they have had between their cars. I also stopped my car, because I felt somehow that this is the place. It was around 11 AM, at the end of September. It was a sunny day, the sky was blue and bright, and the weather was cool. In short, a perfect day for a wedding. When I walked out of my car, I saw behind the 2 cars this tiny Church, which from the outside does not look like a Church at all. This is a charming place and I can understand why Bach wanted to get married there. It has red tiled roof and plants surround it. You have to climb some stairs to get into he Church. There was nobody there except the guide, who was very willing to explain where exactly Johan Sebastian and Maria Barbara were standing and kneeling during the ceremony and where is the small room in which they were left alone together after the wedding. He also said that the restoration of the Church had been finished only a year before my visit. The Church was really rejuvenated. When I was standing inside the Church, I had the strange feeling that nothing has much changed, that 300 years were like a very short time, and that Bach could have got married yesterday in this place. At the time of his first wedding (with Maria Barbara) he was already serving couple of months in Mühlhausen, but I am sure that he had remembered that Church in Dornheim from his service in Arnstadt (where he had been acquainted with Maria Barbara). It is strange to think, that Bach, who wrote couple of Wedding cantatas, did not write one for his own Wedding. According to Spitta, this Wedding cantatas was composed for the marriage of the aunt of Maria Barbara, Bach’s first wife, to pastor Johann Lorenz Stauber, who had consecrated Bach’s own marriage shortly before, in the same place. I am sure that Bach loved this place and used the Wedding of his relative as an excuse to write that one (BWV 196) less than a year after his own. The Church is very small and there is not enough room for big choir and full orchestra. I believe that was one of the reasons that Bach used such modest means for this cantata. I also believe that the approach of one voice per part is really in place here. After all, it is probable that only the close family and a few friends were there in the Wedding. During listening and writing about this cantata, another point came into my mind. There are only 3 solo voices in this cantata. Is it possible that the Soprano represents the bride, the Tenor represents the bridegroom and the Bass represents the priest who is in charge of the ceremony? Is it possible that the participants in the actual Wedding even sang their parts accordingly?

This modest and short cantata, which seems initially to not having outstanding attractions, is growing on you with each repeated hearing. But this is the way Bach music always works. You know in advance that even when the preliminary conditions seem unpromising, it will get to you at the end. The patience pays itself. I have never been disappointed with Bach’s music. With other composers, even Mozart or Beethoven, where their music sounds dull it is dull. When it is unpromising, it will never improve with repeated hearings. Think, for example, about some of Mozart’s early symphonies, or Beethoven’s Triple Concerto or some of his Overtures. The music of BWV 196 is simple, light, airy and optimistic. It almost does not show the dark side of life. And why should it? After all, it is a Wedding cantata, composed to be performed in one of the happiest days in the life of a young couple. But as always with Bach, even in this happy hour, a hint of sadness is seeping under the jolly surface, reminding us that there is another side to life.

Review of the Recordings

During the last week I have listened to the 5 recordings of BWV 196 that I have. All of them are taken from the 5 Complete Cantatas Cycles (either already complete, or still under their way). Another new recording of this cantata is by Junghänel and Cantus Koln. Unfortunately, I do not have this recording yet and consequently I cannot refer to it. See: Cantata BWV 196 – Recordings. Hereinafter are my impressions.

(1) Helmuth Rilling (1975)
The lightness, the softness, the gentleness and the delight, which usually characterized Rilling’s performances of Bach cantatas, suits very well this recording. On the other hand, the forces Rilling is using here are too big and they put a kind of heaviness, which is improper for this cantata. Soffel is not my favorite Soprano in Rilling’s (I believe that by now most of you know who is), but she is singing very well here with the required joy. Baldin and Tüller voices blend very pleasantly together. And the polished Choir, which is always a strong factor in Rilling’s recording sing with enthusiasm, as it should.

(2) Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1989)
If I am right in my assumption (Soprano = Bride), then Harnoncourt is doing again the mistake of using a boy, where he should have used a Female Soprano. The strings playing in the Sinfonia is more beautiful than that of Rilling, but their playing misses the vividness needed for the ceremony of a Wedding. The singing of the Choir is clean but very dry and this is another weakness of this performance. The boy is not a woman, of course, but he sings fine and he succeeds to manage his voice through the difficult parts. The Bass parts, sung mostly by the Choir, are convincing, and Equiluz is a guaranteed success, as always. However, the lack of delight in this performance, permeates also into the Duet. The main problem of this performance is that it does not flow.

[4] Ton Koopman (1995)
The good part of this performance is the singing of the Chorus parts by one-voice-per-part ensemble. Schlick sounds as a bride in her wedding day – naive, afraid a little bit, excited and happy. The accompaniment she gets from the strings and the Continuo is full of love. On the same level of performance I find de Mey and Mertens. The whole performance has gentleness and the chamber quality, which is so right for this cantata. This performance is a little bit faster than the others are, but it does not disturb me at all.

[5] Masaaki Suzuki (1995)
The playing of the string quartet plus Continuo in the opening Sinfonia has a kind of bitterness-sweetness, which I like very much. It adds a dimension of freshness and originality, missing from the previous performances. The small Choir, of two-voices-per-part, sings with cleanness and crispness and they sound to me as the exact size for this cantata. Furthermore, they sing their parts with a lot of taste. The soloists here are not my favorite type regarding their voices, but their performance gains from their musicality and sensitivity.

[6] Pieter Jan Leusink (1999)
If I had to summarize my impression from this performance in one word, I would say Youth. It has lot of enthusiasm, freshness, joy and vividness, and these virtues are so much in place in this cantata. Indeed, the playing of the strings and the Continuo and singing of the small Choir are not as polished as the other performances are, but polish is not what is needed here. After all, most probably that this cantata was originally performed by amateurs. Holton’s voice sounds very young and even naive. You can hear very clearly that der Meel and Ramselaar enjoy singing together and listen to each other. The TT of this recording is almost equal to that of Harnoncourt, but it is characterized by lightness and moving forward, where the other recording has heaviness and it is almost stuck in its place.

Conclusion
For me the weakest recording of this cantata is by Harnoncourt (2) and best is by Jan Leusink [6]. With this performance I feel as if I am back in that small and lovely Church in Dornheim, an unseen guest, standing there quietly among the small crowd, looking at young Johann Sebastian getting married to his beloved Maria Barbara.

And as always, I would like to hear other opinions, regarding the above mentioned performances, or other recordings.

Melchior de Wolff wrote (April 9, 2000):
There is an interesting section on this work in Whittaker's "The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach" (Oxford, 1959). Especially since Whittaker extensively refers to BWV 71 (discussed a last week). Am I allowed to quote?

On page 47 he writes, with respect to the final Coro: "The choral writing exhibits an astonishing advance on BWV 71 [Gott ist mein Konig]. Particularly fine are the imitative Amen ideas based on the figure [1/4, 1/4, 1/4, 1]. He evidently had good violinists, for high D's are frequent. The brilliance of the opening of this number (verse 15) is increased by unisonal treatment of the violins in long successions of rushing semiquavers. Especially effective are chords hurled out by the choir in 'Ihr seid die gesegneten des Herren, der himmel und Erde gemacht hat' to 'der Himmel' (Ye are the blessed of the Lord, who heaven and earth made has’) and 'die Erde', the former placed high, the latter low. Again a powerful Chorus is ended in piano, in this case 1.5 bars in length, more easily negotiated than the fragmentary taperings-off in BWV 71. The first ideas of all movements except the last, whether intentionally or not, open with a leap from dominant to upper tonic or from tonic to dominant. While there is no depth of emotion in this cantata, its youthful freshness and boyishly healthy vigor make it full of charm, and, in spite of its complicated texture, it is quite easy to perform."

(Again, it is interesting to observe Whittaker using to term "idea" in a descriptive context.}

Every now and then, I borrow Whittaker’s splendid, untraceable book from the Rotterdam Public Library. Perhaps, in God's good time, it will be available on the Internet -- complete and unabridged.

[6] Leusink's interpretation, I believe, cuts straight to the bones of this marvelous piece of work, even if Ruth Holton's is definitely second to Arleen Augér's unerring voice.

Simon Crouch wrote (April 10, 2000):
Oh I wish! I contacted the publishers, Oxford University Press, a year or so ago with a view to asking them to reprint it, or to release the copyright to a republishing house. They weren't even able to trace it as one of their own titles! Luckily I was able to find /a second hand copy in good condition. It does seem to come available from time to time in the UK on the second hand market.

Matthew Westphal wrote (April 10, 2000):
Thanks to Aryeh for another excellent exegesis! (Love that alliteration...)

[7] I don't have much to add, other than to urge him (and the rest of you all) to get the new Cantus Cölln CD on Harmonia Mundi. I was lucky enough to interview Konrad Junghänel about Bach last week for an article at Amazon.com. He spoke briefly about BWV 196 in particular; I probably won't be able to use those specific comments in my article, so I've posted them below:

Konrad Junghänel on BWV 196:
"If, for example, you take Der Herr denket an uns, which I think is a beautiful little cantata -- only it's never done because it's not really big Bach. Think of the development of the geistliche Konzert [17th-century sacred concerto] leading into the cantata [format], which gives a certain formal understanding for many things. Der Herr denket an uns, I think, is the probably the closest cantata of all Bach cantatas to a geistliche Konzert. Der Herr denket an uns could be by Buxtehude, it could be also - formally speaking - be even a little bit earlier, somehow it could be by Rosenmüller, maybe. The later [18th century] cantata has per aria one affect; in the 17th-century geistliche Konzert, the affect changes much more often, much quicker; it doesn't have really long passages, most of the time, in the same affect

And I think a reason, for example, why Der Herr denket an uns never is done, is because most people coming from the 19th- or 18th-century [perspective] think, Oh, this is a poor piece. It's little, it's short, it doesn't have these long Arias, and it's really not a strong piece. OK, it's definitely not the most important piece of Bach's entire work, but still I think, coming from the 17th century you see the music totally differently."

Jane Newble wrote (April 10, 2000):
[7] (To Matthew Westphal) Thank you for quoting Konrad Junghänel on BWV 196. Ever since I first listened to this cantata last year, I felt it reminded me of Schutz' Musikalische Exequien, especially the duet. There is a certain sadness that reminds one of the fleeting characters of this life's happiness, especially in the 17th century with its plagues and wars. It's interesting to read that he obviously feels similar. This morning I received the new Cantus Cölln CD, and it is very beautiful. I have not yet compared it with Leusink, whose version of BWV 196 [6] is my favorite.

Marie Jensen wrote (April 10, 2000):
Finally my Leusink’s [6] arrived, so when we talk BWV 196, I can compare him with Suzuki [5]. For me there is not so much difference between them. Both ensembles do well. When I end up with preferring Suzuki it is because the sound has a better “finish”, take for example the strings in the Sinfonia, and the choir seems more like a whole to me.

For a long time I did not pay attention to this little cantata, but after listening to it as "home work" for the group, I find it very nice in all its simplicity. And what a difference to BWV 202 "Weichet nur betruebte Schatten" and the late BWV 210 "O Holder Tag". What a "Bach Wedding Album" it could be with BWV 196, BWV 202 and BWV 210 (and BWV 195 and BWV 197, which I don't know) placed chronological perhaps with other "Bach romances" added: "Schafe koennte sicher weiden" "Bist du bei mir" (BWV 508) (not by Bach) etc.

Aryeh Oron wrote: “Is it possible that the Soprano represents the bride, the Tenor represents the bridegroom and the Bass represents the priest who is in charge of the ceremony?” I don't know, but I find your theory very interesting. Thank you very much for your nice description of Dornheim.

Lucas As wrote (April 11, 2000):
Cantata BWV 196 is one of my favourite cantatas because of its simplicity and the subtle bond between music and lyrics. Let me try to explain the Aria "Der Herr segne euch", at least how I feel about it.

"Der Herr segne euch" (Lord God prosper you (or will bless you) This line is sung repeatedly; every time the word "segne" (prosper) gets the full attention. It has a warm loving sound. God is giving all of His Love. "je mehr und mehr" (yea more and more) Quick accelerations and repetitions take place, thus showing the overwhelming blessings. "euch und eure Kinder" (you and your children) The aria reaches its climax: these are the real blessings. "Der Herr segne euch" The aria suddenly stops without a real ending. Here is the young Bach showing its genius: the music has stopped but the blessings will go on and on...

Ryan Michero wrote (April 13, 2000):
[To Aryeh Oron] Thanks again for starting the discussion this week, Aryeh. I especially liked your personal response to the work, with your description of the church in Dornheim. Fascinating, especially for someone like me who has never been to Germany. Perhaps you can give us more details about your Bach tour at a later date?

It was refreshing, after extensive listening to two long, complex ca(BWV 147 and BWV 21) to turn to a simpler piece, BWV 196. It was like a light, tasty dessert after a big meal.

I listened to three performances:

[4] (Koopman) Yes! And it was nice, after listening to some recordings where I did not enjoy her singing, to listen to a piece where she was much more comfortable and convincing. Schlick's Aria may be the best thing about this cantata performance. I also like the one-per-part vocal ensemble and chamber group. Koopman's performance is very good, but I like the other two a bit more.

[5] (Suzuki) This one's great too. As Aryeh said, the orchestra is fantastic in this cantata, and the singers are also tasteful and musical. There is warmth and, as Aryeh also said, bitter-sweetness here. The two-per-part choir sings beautifully. This one's probably the version of choice for the budget-conscious too: This is included on Suzuki's Vol.1, which BIS has repackaged with a catalog, reducing the price by nearly 75%!

[6] (Leusink) I haven't received the two latest Leusink’s boxes, so I can't compare. I'm looking forward to hearing his BWV 196 when I get it, though.

[7] (Junghänel) This is the third version I have and my personal favorite. Junghänel's singers are just wonderful, especially the soprano, Johanna Koslowsky, whose aria is captivating. Junghänel approaches this cantata like a seventeenth-century sacred concerto, and the result is just that much more vivid and "Baroque"-sounding than the other versions. The one-voice-per-part ensemble sounds fantastic (this disc will go a great length to converting the OVPP disbeliever). The instrumental ensemble is also first-rate. It's great to have this rarely heard cantata in addition to the more established masterpieces (BWV 4, BWV 106, BWV 12) on Junghänel's disc. I highly recommend it!

P.S.--Thanks for the transcription, Matthew, and I'm looking forward to reading your complete interview.

I am getting married to my fiancee in January. Perhaps I can hire a Baroque ensemble to perform this cantata at my own wedding! Maybe if Junghänel and Cantus Cölln aren't busy...

Harry Steinman wrote (April 14, 2000):
[7] In all the discussion of this wedding cantata, I haven't seen any reference to the recording of Cantus Cölln/Konrad Junghänel Harmonia Mundi 901694. Like Aryeh, I like the slightly bittersweet quality of the Suzuki’s Sinfonia [5], but I really like the simple sounds of the Cantus Cölln recording. There is warmth to the recording that seems to favor the lower register strings a bit, violas and cellos. I think that Koopman's soloists [4] are maybe better singers, but I like this singing better...a bit stronger, sounding more earthy. Perhaps this is a better fit for a wedding. In my ears, Suzuki's singers sound more ethereal-but I'm not sure that ethereal is just the way I hear a wedding (although Cölln's Soprano sounds every bit as mystical as a marriage ought to be in, "Er segnet, die den Herrn furchten").

I don't remember who had recommended this recording when the topic was the Actus Tragicus BWV 106, but I'm glad I got the CD, for it's wonderful renditions of the cantata of this week's discussion as well as the prior week's. The recording also has BWV 4, "Christ lag in Todesbanden" and BWV 12, "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" - and all four cantatas, only one Recitativo among them all!

Ryan Michero wrote (April 14, 2000):
[7] Then you haven't been reading closely enough. Aryeh mentioned that he didn't have it yet, then Matthew Westphal highly recommended it and included a transcription of part of his recent interview with Junghänel. When I posted my own discussion of it yesterday I named it as my favorite recording of BWV 196 and discussed it briefly.

[4] (Koopman's soloists) Hmm. More famous perhaps but I wouldn't say "better".

[7] I agree. I think the earthiness you're referring to is helped by the fact that the singers aren't trying to sing like they're in a choir. Suzuki's singers [5], two-to-a-part, are minimizing vibrato, making sure they pronounce consonants at the same time, etc., so as to blend with their partners in the same register. The result is elegant and clear, but a bit cold. Junghänel's solo singers [7] are singing full-throat, blending as a whole but not afraid of letting their distinctive vocal qualities be heard--so much the better for delineating the lines of Bach's counterpoint.

[7] Yes, she (Koslowsky) has a very "Early Music" sound, a bit boyish but angelic and feminine at the same time. And so little vibrato, even on the high notes! Koslowsky is great.

That would be Johan van Veen (who had recommended this recording) initially. Matthew Westphal followed up with his own orgasmic recommendation soon after.

We will be discussing these two (BWV 182 & BWV 4) also in the upcoming weeks, according to Jane Newble's suggested schedule (BWV 182 "Himmelskonig, sei willkommen" is our piece for next week, then BWV 4 for Easter weekend). Does anyone need it? I'd be happy to forward it on.

< And all four cantatas, only one Recitativo among them all >
Hey, I didn't think of that. I guess it's because most of Bach's really early cantatas had less Italian influence, hence fewer Recitativo/Aria alternation and more motet-like structure. And it makes sense that Junghänel would focus on these.

 

More Messages

Aryeh Oron wrote (May 24, 2000):
[7] I have not had the Junghänel's CD while we were discussing BWV 106, BWV 196 & BWV 4 in previous weeks. I still have not had it, while I sent to the group my review of the recordings of BWV 12 last week. But, at last I have it, I manages to listen to it couple of times, and my initial conclusion is that this record is well deserved almost every praise it got in the Bach Cantatas Mailing List. However, I do not find it wholly convincing from every aspect. Indeed, its intimate atmosphere is the best visit card of the OVPP approach, the voices are very well balanced and blend charmingly together, the instruments are beautifully played, and the emphasis on the words rather than on the music is well justified. The pronunciation of the words is so clear, that you could almost write them on paper according to what you hear (BTW, it is not mentioned in the booklet, when each tenor is singing. I believe that Türk is singing the Solo parts and Jochens the Chorale parts). The balance between the instrumental and the vocal parts is perfect. They are on equal level. I mean that you do not have the feeling that the instruments accompany the voices or that they overshadow them, but that they play together or one against the other, as needed. The fugal parts obtain the best clarity from this approach. What I miss is a little bit more drama and emotion, and a little bit more softness and tenderness. Don't understand me wrongly. I like this CD very much, because it illuminates special sides of the cantatas, which are rarely revealed in other performances. And the aspects that I miss here, I find in other recordings. The cantatas' sound so different in this rendering than any other recording, almost like new works of art, and this approach is performed so convincingly, that this record becomes a 'must have' for every cantata collection. But, I also believe that this record should not be the only version one should hold of each cantata included in it. Since all the in this record has been discussed in our group in the last couple of months, one can easily come to conclusion that there are other recordings for each cantata with different approaches indeed, but not less valid. Regarding BWV 12 in particular, I love Woldike, Suzuki, and Junghänel almost on the same level, different as they are, and maybe exactly for this reason.

Matthew Westphal wrote (May 24, 2000):
[7] [To Aryeh Oron] I'm glad you finally got the Cantus Cölln CD and I thank you for your comments on it.

One tiny point: you said you think Türk is singing the solos and Jochens the chorale parts. I can't remember where I heard or saw this (Junghänel may have mentioned it when I interviewed him for Amazon.com), but I believe that Jochens is singing all of it and Türk wasn't involved in this recording at all. (He was probably in Japan singing for Suzuki!)

The article for Amazon.com has five performers -- conductors Paul McCreesh, Konrad Junghänel and Philippe Herreweghe and singers Drew Minter and Julianne Baird -- talking about performing Bach one-singer-per-part. I will let the list know when the article is up on the site.

Johan van Veen wrote (May 24, 2000):
[7] I have just looked at this recording and this is who is singing what:

- BWV 4: Aria Jesus Christus, Gottes Sohn - Jochens; Duet So feiern wir das hohe Fest – Jochens
- BWV 106: Aria Ach Herr, lehre uns bedenken - Türk; Aria Heute wirst du mit mir im Paradies sein – Jochens
- BWV 196: Duet Der Herr segne euch – Türk
- BWV 12: Aria Sei getreu, alle Pein – Jochens

Ryan Michero wrote (May 24, 2000):
[7] I think Johan is right. Türk's voice is pretty recognizable, and I know I heard him in a few places on the recording. I also remember that Jochens sings for sure in BWV 12.

 

Continue from Part 2

Cantata BWV 196: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

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Last update: ýOctober 12, 2013 ý08:06:33