Magazine article Gramophone

'Cantatas, Vol 3: Tewkesbury/Muhlhausen'

Magazine article Gramophone

'Cantatas, Vol 3: Tewkesbury/Muhlhausen'

Article excerpt

'Cantatas, Vol 3: Tewkesbury/Muhlhausen'

Cantatas Nos 24, 71, 88, 93, 131, 177 & 185 Joanne Lunn sop Magdalena Kozena mez Nathalie Stutzmann contr William Towers counterten Paul Agnew, Kobie van Rensburg tens Peter Harvey, Nicolas Test basses Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists/ Sir John Eliot Gardiner

Soli Deo Gloria (2) SDG141 (138' * DDD * T/t) Recorded live at Tewkesbury Abbey, July 16, 2000 & Blausiuskirche, Muhlhausen, July 23, 2000

'Cantatas, Vol 27: Blythburgh/Kirkwall'

Cantatas Nos 129, 165, 175, 176, 184 & 194. Brandenburg Concerto No 3, BWV1048 Ruth Holton, Lisa Larsson sops Nathalie Stutzmann contr Daniel Taylor counterten Paul Agnew, Christoph Genz tens Peter Harvey, Stephan Loges basses Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner

Soli Deo Gloria (2) SDG138 (111' * DDD * T/t) Recorded live at Holy Trinity, Blythburgh, June 13, 2000 & St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, June 18, 2000

The spread of locations--from Muhlhausen to Kirkwall--complements and intensifies the extraordinary range of cantatas in these rich and varied offerings from Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Those who thought that, perhaps, the best fruits of the Pilgrimage had already been tasted, can think again with these two latest volumes.

One is reminded here--in works mainly for the extended summer months of the Trinity season -that the experience of touring so many masterpieces in such a short space of time obviated all dangers of homogeneity, comfort zones or complacency. Some exhaustion and rough-edgedness, yes, and just occasionally there's not quite enough time for the performers to get under the skin of a particular work, yet such instances are impressively infrequent.

Gardiner and his forces rise here to each challenge (as the Pilgrimage had now passed the halfway point) with, it seems, a creative regimen of Bachian proportions: just as Bach efficiently identified how to react with supreme concentration and speed according to the compositional demands of the week, so these 21st-centuryperformers adapt robustly to the seasonal implications within this pattern of ever-changing locales.

The proof is in the imagination and wide compass of these performances--objectively assessed nearly eight years on--where the intense archaic idioms of Aus der Tiefen (No 131) and the municipal bravura of Gottist mein Konig (No 71), performed in the Muhlhausen church for which they were written, are accentuated in quiet, contemplative dignity and surface finery respectively. …

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