Johann Sebastian Bach, La Petite Bande, Sigiswald Kuijken - Cantatas Vol 17: BWV 186-168-134-54

Published Monday 6th January 2014
Johann Sebastian Bach, La Petite Bande, Sigiswald Kuijken - Cantatas Vol 17: BWV 186-168-134-54
Johann Sebastian Bach, La Petite Bande, Sigiswald Kuijken - Cantatas Vol 17: BWV 186-168-134-54

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Accent 25317

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

This is Volume 17 in a series that is aiming to cover the complete liturgical year although there is a rumour that it might stall due to a loss of funding. On this hybrid SACD (which plays on a regular CD player) we hear four cantatas; one for each of the seventh and ninth Sundays after Trinity, the third day of Easter and Oculi Sunday. It is a noble enterprise and we applaud Sigiswald Kuijlken and La Petite Bande for taking it on but we do note that there are other series that have covered the same ground. One of the strengths of this disc is, paradoxically, a weakness. By giving us the full cantatas rather than the edited highlights (typically the solos and duets) we are given an abundance of recitative. True, it is sung - or recited - well enough but for those of us who have no German it does go on too long. One is reminded of sitting through, for example, The Magic Flute. Yes, there are some great tunes - but Mozart takes his time in getting to them. Actually, listening to Bach on this CD I was reminded of Mozart and his mentor Haydn and wondered if either of them had ever heard Bach. The fact that I can pick up a choice of recordings by all three composers - and many more - without leaving my desk reminds us of what a privileged age we live in. So yes, I enjoyed parts of the four cantatas on this disc and can appreciate the care that has gone into the series, even if it sometimes failed to communicate with me. La Petite Bande are in excellent voice throughout with appropriate accompaniment. Lovers of Bach will love this CD although they would be wise to check their collection before buying so as to avoid duplication. John Eliot Gardiner's edition has been well received and I have enjoyed Maasaki Suzuki as well - and there are, of course, others to chose from. You pays your money. . .

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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