The 37 volume collection of the complete Bach Cantatas on Swedish label BIS has to be regarded as one of the great achievements of classical music recording. Now BIS has begun reissuing the discs as multichannel SACDs with updated artwork, and if this first disc (Volume 28) sets the standard, all future releases in the series will be unqualified triumphs. I can’t tell from the liner notes if the original recordings were made in surround sound – this recording dates from 2004, and BIS was already recording in DSD at that point, so this disc very well could come from an original surround master. Regardless, the surround program is exceptionally good, so much so that I did all my listening in the multichannel mode.
I received this disc in late November, and the opening cantata, Nun Komm, Der Heiden Heiland (Now Come, Savior of the Gentiles), was written for the first Sunday of Advent – it arrived just in time for the holiday season! This disc has been such a delight – the vocal soloists, instrumentalists and chorus that make up the Bach Collegium Japan offer compelling performances of these cantatas that rank in my book among the very finest available. And in updated sound, this package is darn near irresistible! Very highly recommended.
– Tom Gibbs