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Canberra Bach Ensemble
Bach Cantatas - General Discussions

The Recordings

Not known.

Canberra Bach Ensemble?

Matthew Westphal wrote (April 1, 2000):

< Michael Stitt wrote: Attending the Canberra Bach Ensemble's Cantata series at 2.00 PM also here! >

Do they use period instruments, by chance? How many singers?

One thing that strikes me about single-voice Bach is that the practice makes it much more affordable for Bach cantatas to get good professional performances on a regular basis in smaller cities.

(Yes, it's true that amateur choirs might get cut out, but [a] they usually could not present cantatas so often because they need longer rehearsal periods and [b] as a rule, I think such groups tend to prefer larger-scale works such as the Passions and the bigger, more famous cantatas.)

But as a general rule, 4 singers and 6 - 10 instrumentalists should be much cheaper than a choir and orchestra -- and you're more likely to find stylistically aware musicians in smaller cities if you need fewer of them.

Michael Stitt wrote (April 2, 2000):

(To Matthew Westphal) The thought of whether they played the Canberra Bach

Ensemble played on period instruments or not, just left my mind after the first notes sounded in a very resonant St Christopher's Church here in Canberra! Indeed the tuning of instruments and the intonation and tonal quality of the soloists were very good indeed!

The program consisted of:

'Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen' BWV 51;

'Ich arme Mensch, ich Sündenknecht' BWV 55;

'Vergnüge Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust' BWV 170;

'Ich habe genung' BWV 82;

'Ich steh mit einem Fuz im Grabe' BWV 156.

I must say that the choice of such a variety of works including the variety of instrumental accompanist and soloists, really made the concert very enjoyable. In the middle of the recital program, the choir and soloists moved up to the mezzanine level of the church and performed 'Vergnüge Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust' BWV 170 above u, and the contrast in sound was wonderful!

What I particularly enjoyed most was the contrast between the popular and less popular cantatas. The perennial favourites of 'Ich habe genung' BWV 82; along with 'Ich steh mit einem Fuz im Grabe' BWV 156, also made it a treat to be a member of the audience.

The performance was recorded by the local radio station. Hope this is available to all!

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