Magazine article Gramophone

First Bach Cantatas for Herreweghe's Own Label

Magazine article Gramophone

First Bach Cantatas for Herreweghe's Own Label

Article excerpt

JS Bach (GC) (GP)

Cantatas--No 25, Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Leibe; No 46, Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgendein Schmerz sei; No 105, Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht; No 138, Warum betrubst du dich, mein Herz? Hana Blazikova sop Damien Guillon counterten Thomas Hobbs ten Peter Kooij bass Collegium Vocale Gent/Philippe Herreweghe PHI (F) LPH006 (67' * DDD * T/t)

Philippe Herreweghe has always meticulously hand-picked Bach cantatas (previously with both Virgin and Harmonia Mundi), resisting the completist route and recording micro-series which focus on particular conceits, often reflecting the conductor's special interest in the poignant rhetorical richness of the motet-inspired worlds--though not exclusively.

This latest recording represents the first cantata disc on the PHI label and is arguably the finest in Herreweghe's recent Bach output. Each of these four works is a five-star cantata, two of which he has recorded previously. No one could argue with a repeat visit to the wonders of BWV105 but his latest interpretation of BWV138 appears uncannily similar in approach to his earlier reading, although Peter Kooij lacks some of the old resonance. Herreweghe perhaps subliminally compensates with a pointed uber-elegance. Thomas Hobbs movingly delivers the opening lines of this work (the previous recording employs all the tenors) with mournful chromaticism harnessed to embracing discipleship--a sentiment which one of his teachers, Ian Partridge, imparted for Ernst Ansermet in 'Kann ich nur' in BWV105 and to which Hobbs is the equal here.

The framing cantatas, BWV25 and 46, are deliciously tinged with sadness--aided and abetted by evocative and sensual recorder-playing. Especially in BWV25, Collegium Vocale Gent create the most ravishing of luminescent textures: antico introspection guides the counterpoint with refinement and a glowing homogeneity between singers and instruments. …

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