Bach: Famous Cantatas

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Bach: Famous Cantatas
Holland Boy's Choir, Netherlands Bach Collegium, Pieter Jan Leusink

[ Brilliant Classics Quintessence / 5 CD Box Set ]

Release Date: Friday 25 September 2020

Throughout his life, Bach remained a passionate composer of sacred cantatas, which underpinned his unshakeable commitment to the Lutheran church. While he also turned his hand to secular cantatas, he remains best known for his religious works, and this collection delves into a varied selection representing all the important festivals in the Christian calendar. Along with some of the best-known examples, such as 'Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott' BWV80, with its triumphant timpani and trumpets, listeners will also find a treasure trove of lesser-known gems. With Bach, though, a lack of popularity rarely means a drop in quality: indeed, a wealth of timbre and colour is to be found in some of his earlier works, such as 'Aus der tiefen, rufe ich, Herr, zu dir' BWV131, a setting of the psalm 'De Profundis'. In this, as in many of his cantatas, we are left spellbound by the imaginative interplay between chorus and soloists, climaxing in a resonating cry of 'Israel!' The religious texts, which at the time of their use had recently been translated into Bach's native German, are exploited for all their lyricism and spiritual meaning; whether dwelling mournfully on 'Seufzer' (sighing), or celebrating with a resonant 'Hallelujah!', Bach's sacred cantatas will stir any listener, religious or not.

The cantatas here have been specially selected from a recently released Brilliant Classics box set, Bach's Complete Sacred Cantatas (94365). Renowned conductor Pieter Jan Leusink heads a stellar line-up of musicians, including the Holland Boys Choir and Netherlands Bach Collegium, playing entirely on period instruments. Praised for their 'characteristic performances, marked by a great sense of authenticity' (Gramophone), the recordings were produced for the 'Bach year' 2000, 250 years since the composer's death. The boy sopranos, just as they would have sounded in Bach's time, lend an assured accompaniment to the soloists, who give a consummate and compelling performance.


Cantata BWV4 'Christ lag in Todesbanden' (Easter Cantata)

Cantata BWV12 'Weinen, Klagen, sorgen, Zagen'

Cantata BWV22 'Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe'

Cantata BWV38 'Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir'

Cantata BWV42 'Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats'

Cantata BWV45 'Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist'

Cantata BWV51 'Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen'

Cantata BWV54 'Widerstehe doch der Sünde'

Cantata BWV57 'Selig ist der Mann'

Cantata BWV67 'Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ'

Cantata BWV73 'Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir'

Cantata BWV80 'Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott'

Cantata BWV98 'Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan'

Cantata BWV131 'Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, Herr, zu dir'

Cantata BWV140 'Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme'

Cantata BWV143 'Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele'

Cantata BWV147 'Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben'

Cantata BWV170 'Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust'

Cantata BWV199 'Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut'