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A Special Pleasure

Masaaki Suzuki directs
J S Bach cantatas -
reviewed by
ROBERT ANDERSON

'If the Japanese tempo is faster than mine, so be it ...'

Johann Sebastian Bach - Bach Collegium Japan - Masaaki Suzuki - Cantatas 28, 68, 85, 175 and 183. © 2008 BIS Records AB

Globalisation, we are told, is bad for the whimpering poor; but then the poor -- and this we have on the highest authority -- will be always with us. So let us rejoice that the Bach who confined his movements to a restricted number of German-speaking districts is now free to wander globe and ether at will. Suzuki is a Japanese name to conjure with, and the basis of this cantata set is Japanese. Were the five cantatas recorded in a pagoda? Of course not. They are appropriately domiciled in the neo-Gothic chapel of Shoin Women's University.

The five cantatas date probably from 1725 and are as varied in their moods and instrumentation as one has come to expect. A special pleasure is to find the soprano aria 'My heart ever faithful' near the outset, import from an earlier secular work. If the Japanese tempo is faster than mine, so be it; Carolyn Sampson copes with traditional English aplomb.

Information on how to play this media file.
Listen -- Mein gläubiges Herze (BWV68) (track 2, 0:01-1:04)
© 2008 BIS Records AB

The grandest choral movement of this set is the final number of cantata 68, when the cornetto and trombones of the Concerto Palatino come fully into their own, commending believers and condemning unbelief.

Information on how to play this media file.
Listen -- Wer an ihn gläubet ... (BWV68) (track 5, 1:33-2:17)
© 2008 BIS Records AB

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Copyright © 8 July 2008 Robert Anderson, Cairo, Egypt

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