J S Bach, Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe - Advent Cantatas

Published Wednesday 10th December 2014
J S Bach, Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe - Advent Cantatas
J S Bach, Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe  - Advent Cantatas

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 154751-
LABEL: Musique D'Abord HMA1951605
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Amazingly Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a new cantata nearly every week of his working life and somehow - one could say miraculously - maintained his standard throughout. This makes picking a personal favourite next to impossible but, if forced to select the cantatas for one Sunday to take to my desert island, I think I would go with these: three cantatas for the first Sunday in Advent composed between 1714 (at Weimar) and 1731 (at Leipzig). Deciding which recording to take is, if anything, even more difficult but this one by Philippe Herreweghe and his Collegium Vocale Gent is certainly a very strong one. If money was no object I would pay the extra and get the 1997 release if I could find a copy but although the packaging on this re-release in Harmonia Mundi's budget label Music D'Abord is cheap and cheerful the music remains glorious and is both well sung and well recorded. The four soloists are Sibylla Rubens (soprano), Sarah Connolly (alto), Christoph Pregardien (tenor) and Peter Kooy (bass) and none disappoint. Bach based all three of these cantatas on Martin Luther's chorale tune "Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland" ("Come Thou Redeemer Of The Earth"). Two of them, BWV 61 and 62, use the melody in their opening choruses and its name for their titles while BWV 36, "Schwingt Freudig Euch Empor" ("Soar Joyfully Aloft"), does not use Luther's melody in its sparkling opening chorus the three subsequent movements do so in ways very similar to those in the famous Easter cantata "Christ Lag In Todesbanden". If you like Bach you may have these three cantatas somewhere in your collection but at this budget price you can afford to invest in another and if you are new to Bach this is an excellent way to make his better acquaintance.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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