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Reviews: Bach: Cantatas BWV 1, 82, 147 - Montréal Baroque

Reviews: 2

Site review by Polly Nomial January 4, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:  
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

Review by audio-grubi April 16, 2008 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
What language is that, in which is sung here? Is it German? I don't think so, 'cause I'm a native speaker and I'm not capable mostly to understand, what's sung here. With one reason for this is the very reverberation-y reception which contributes with to the bad text-intelligibility (recorded June 18 - 21, 2006 in the Église Saint-Augustin, Saint-Augustine de Mirabel, Québec).
But it is also because of the altogether very bad, boring and amateurish interpretation of these wonderful works of Johann Sebastian Bach through the singers and musicians. If it would really be amateur-musicians, who tried here, so the listener could still give them for the offered performances some respect, but there it occupation-musicians, which make music here, this denies must remains.
Already at unbearable torture for the ears borders the "performance" of the tenor Charles Daniels in the aria "Hilf, Jesu, Hilf, dass ich auch dich bekenne" ("Help, Jesus, help me to acknowledge You" - Track 7)! There one would really like to call Jesus about help and would like to beseech, so that this pain has an end soon. And with the bass in cantata 82 one would like to say: "Ich habe genug" ("I have enough"). But never the text was to be taken so literally in this cantata, as in this reception! When Stephan MacLeod in the second aria of cantata 82 sings "Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen, fallet sanft und selig zu!" ("Fall asleep, you weary eyes, close gently and blissfully!" - Track 13), so the listener would like to achieve consequence quickly and gladly of this invitation, 'cause Mr. MacLeod sings in such a boring manner, that the listener feel realy tired. I have never heard a so boring interpretation of the text as it is offered here. Additionally the musicians cover the singer - that seems to stand behind the orchestra - with their volume almost completely. I have the impression, that Mr. MacLeod seemed not really to know about what he had sung.
Whoever would like to enjoy a truly outstanding interpretation of the cantata 82 should reach for the reception with Thomas Quasthoff and the Berliner Barock Soloist under the laeding of Rainer Kussmaul Bach: Cantatas - Thomas Quasthoff ! Mr. Quasthoff knows and interpreted, about what he sings.
And also because of the splendid play of the oboe through Albrecht Mayer is this reception a great and wonderful pleasure!

The best and most bearable performance in the present SACD is the chorale "Jesus bleibet meine Freude" ("Jesus shall remain my joy" - Track 10) at the end of cantata 147. But this alone is probably hardly enough in order to pronounce a recommendation for this reception. I will wait for interpretations of the Bach Collegium Japan under the management of Masaaki Suzuki.

I'm really disapointed about this recording also, because there exist already a numerous of very good recordings from ATMA Classique:

SACD22549 Debussy: La Mer - Nézet-Séguin

SACD22377 Debussy: Children's Corner - Yoav Talmi

SACD22531 Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 11 & 12 - Janina Fialkowska

The sound-picture is admittedly plainly and directly in the present recording, but, caused by the reception-location, with to much echos, as already to begin mentioned. A drier acoustic would have helped presumably also the singers.

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