“Bach is the God of Music”…Pablo Casals. There is little argument in acknowledging Bach’s lofty position within the musical firmament. For sheer musicality, inventiveness, and depth of expression, Bach is without peer, standing well astride merely mortal composers.
This is the 28th volume of Bach cantatas recorded by the Bach Collegium of Japan for the Swedish label BIS . Having recently reviewed this group’s exceptional excerpts from the St. Matthew Passion, I was eager to savor these four cantatas. Written in Leipzig Nov – Dec. 1724, it was designated they be performed on four consecutive Sundays within the so-called Chorale Cantata Year. Every Sunday and Feast Day, Bach provided a cantata based upon a popular hymn.
This music is joyous, lyrical, dramatic in an operatic sense, always extolling the glory of God in the highest. Like the St. Matthew Passion excerpts, these performances are very special in their clarity, balance between vocal/ instrumental forces and sheer beauty of sound. The hall ambiance is masterfully captured in surround by the BIS engineers. The Kobe Shoin Women’s University Chapel, completed in 1981, has an acoustic resonance of 3.8 seconds, ideal for these recordings. A very magical holographic space is created.
This is Bach reverentially performed and recorded by Bach specialists. One could desire little more.
— Ronald Legum