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Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

Cantata BWV 147
Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben
Cantata BWV 147a
Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben
Discussions - Part 1

Previous Messages

Harry J. Steinman wrote (December 13, 1999):
How's tricks for all of you? All set for the millenium? Last night I had a dream in which modern instruments turned out to be non Y2K-compliant and after the New Year, only HIP instruments worked. It was a sad day for Helmut Rilling...and a happy day for others!

On a different note...I just got and started listening to Vol. 7 of Koopman's Complete Cantatas [19] and I'm really happy with it. I don't have any particularly wonderful insights, except it was a very nice experience to hear "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" in it's original context. I've long admired Christopher Parkening's guitar transcription, but had never heard the Cantata before. And what a Cantata! The orchestration, the choruses and the arias! Makes me want to jump up, learn German and become a Lutheran or a catholic or a tenor.

Well, I really have nothing substantive to add except that I wanted to share with somebody how much joy these recordings bring. But there I fear I'm preaching to the choir.

Ryan Michero wrote (December 13, 1999):
It was only a dream though. You know, probably the only Bach musician that would be effected by Y2K is Wendy Carlos.

Great! I'm glad you're enjoying the Cantatas.

Isn't it funny how a tune like that can be extracted from a somewhat obscure piece of Lutheran church music and take on a life of its own? I wonder what Bach would think if he heard, as I have, his chorale setting played by a cheesy synthesizer over an ad for the meat market of a local supermarket...

Yes, BWV 147 is one of the more satisfying Cantatas as a whole. And yes, I know the feeling of wanting to get closer to the music. In fact, I think I'm going to try to teach myself some German next year!

Marie Jensen wrote (December 14, 1999):
I don't know, but I know what I would do? I would find another supermarket with cheap prices and no music!

The same with TV commercials misusing Bach themes - I don't buy the goods!

Finally a good non-HIP version of BWV 147: Richter [4]! If he isn't non Y2K-compliant too! (Harry is nightmare!)

Enrico Bortolazzi wrote (December 14, 1999):
The music of Bach is used and misused but every time I listen to the original I think that Bach is still alive and younger than many of these pseudo-musicians.

Regarding the BWV 147, yes this is a beautiful chorale, but what about the first choir?

No problem, Richter [4] is Y2K-compliant for sure!

 

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

Wilson Sawyer wrote (December 3, 2000):
My daughter is looking for a recording of Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring (from BWV 147) as accompaniment to ballet.

She has ruled out organ and choral arrangements, and the several orchestral versions that we tried lacked a desired crispness needed to highlight the dance.

Can anyone recommend a recording of, say, a chamber arrangement?

Kip Williams wrote (December 3, 2000):
(To Wilson Sawyer) Maybe someone here can fill in the details of this one... wasn't it
Julian Bream and Friends who recorded "Jesu" and other pieces in a very pleasant little arrangement for guitar and marimba and one or two other instruments? I can't help but think this would be nice for ballet.

There are also nice guitar solo versions, if that one doesn't turn up, as well as the piano arrangements by Myra Hess or Ferruccio Busoni.

Michael Zapf wrote (December 4, 2000):
< Kip Williams wrote: Maybe someone here can fill in the details of this one... wasn't it Julian Bream and Friends who recorded "Jesu" and other pieces in a very pleasant little arrangement for guitar and marimba and one or two other instruments? >
No, that was John Williams and friends. CBS 73 487 (my vinyl version, don't know whether it was reissued on CD).

 

BWV 147

Cory Hall wrote (December 29, 2000):
Does anyone know why the famous chorale from BWV 147, "Jesus bleibet meine Freude," has 71 measures in the Bach Gesellschaft edition, but 86 measures in the Neue Bach Ausgabe? The text is also apparently different, at least judging from a recording. I don't have the critical commentary, so any help would be appreciated.

Charles Francis wrote (December 29, 2000):
[To Cory Hall] According to Nicholas Anderson, BWV 147 has its roots in a Weimar cantata of 1716. However, Bach performed a revised and expanded version in 1723 in Leipzig on the Feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary. For this, he retained the original text by Weimar poet, Salomo Frank, to which were added recitatives by an unidentified author and two chorale verses providing, respectively, the conclusion to the First and Second parts of the cantata. Presumably, this might explain the extra 15 measures in the different versions of the chorale and textual discrepancies due to extra recitatives.

Franck's hymn is a song of praise appropriate to almost any church festival, but two recitatives of the 1723 version explicitly reference Mary - for example, "Oh blessed voice! Mary lays bare her innermost soul with her thanks and praise she tells, all to herself, of the Saviour's miracle which he has wrought on her, his handmaiden." Now the Rilling recording in "Die Bach Kantate" series [10] claims to be "For the Visitation of our Lady" and the work has these references to Mary, but it only has 71 measures in each chorale! So I'm mystified! Is Rilling, by any chance, using the Leipzig extended version together with the shorter Weimar setting of the chorales? Very strange!

 

Discussions in the Week of December 16, 2001

Thomas Braatz wrote (December 16, 2001):
BWV 147 "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" Melody Origin

I thought it would be high time to clear up the mysteries behind this chorale melody that seems to have taken on a life of its own, due in part to Bach's 'pastorale'-type treatment of it. Most sources will correctly attribute the chorale text to Martin Jahn (1661), but as is often the case, Jahn was not the composer of the chorale melody. Who then is the composer, if such noted commentators as Nicholas Anderson in the "Oxford Composer Companions: J.B.Bach" do not even bother to mention him? One might even begin to think the Bach himself composed this melody, however, the truth is found elsewhere:

The composer is Johann Schop, whom I referred to earlier this year in regard to a query about BWV 356 (Jesu, du mein Liebstes Leben). You will find details about Schop in the discussion of the chorales BWV 250-438 on Aryeh's site. Worth repeating here is Schop's possible collaboration with Johann Rist (1607-1667,) both men situated in Hamburg, Germany, on the famous chorales, "Werde munter, mein Gemüthe" and "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort," that latter chorale that inspired Bach to compose two cantatas with that title: BWV 20 and BWV 60.

The melody Bach used (twice!) in BWV 147 in the concluding sections of each part of this cantata is in reality "Werde munter, mein Gemüthe." What has happened here to make this not uncommon melody difficult to recognize here? Bach has changed its meter so that it is no longer 4/4 with steady quarter notes as the typical feature distinguishing it from its origin. It should be remembered however, that Bach usually engaged in standardizing the meter of numerous chorales. (Thimay have been required of him in Leipzig.) Many chorales from the 17th century were set in meters such as 6/4, a meter that has the same feeling of half note followed by quarter note, half note followed by quarter note, etc. If you examine a copy of Samuel Scheidt's "Das Görlitzer Tabulaturbuch aus dem Jahre 1650" and look at such chorales as "O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig" or "Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren," you will see what I am referring to. After WWII in Germany, the Lutheran Church undertook a revision of their hymn book. This involved in some instances a reversion to the earlier, more original meter - 6/4 or 3/4, while removing the more standardized forms of the type that Bach later tended to use. Perhaps the fact that Bach retained the 3/4 pastorale-type meter, which he used in the original composition from the earlier Weimar period (when it still was an Advent cantata), can be viewed more as an oddity when compared to the bulk of his chorale harmonizations that he produced in Leipzig. The current theory, not based on actual proof since only the 1st mvt. of this cantata survived from the Weimar period, wishes to have us believe that this famous chorale harmonization was composed by Bach for the Leipzig performance. My personal preference would be to think of this harmonization as a relic of the earlier period before the emphasis on meter standardization became much stronger in Leipzig.

Did Bach use this chorale melody elsewhere (in addition to BWV 147?) Yes, it appears as mvt. 40 in the SMP (BWV 244), in the middle of the cantata BWV 154 as mvt. 3, and at the conclusion of cantata BWV 55 as mvt. 5. It also can be found under another name as BWV 359 and BWV 360 as "Jesu, meiner Seelen Wonne."

I hope that this information will help to set the record straight regarding the true source of this melody. Of course, it was Bach's genius to come up with the accompanying melodic figures that helped to make this melody become world famous.

Santu de Silva (Archimedes) wrote (December 17, 2001):
BWV 147 – A question about the choral

I have a burning question.

I have heard the chorale from BWV 147 sung straight in some Bach work recently. It's either the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), the Matthew Passion (BWV 244), or some such large-scale work. I didn't recognize it while it was playing, but only long afterwards, and so I couldn't figure which one it is!

It might not be the same words, but it certainly was the same tune.

Any help is appreciated! Thanks in advance.

P.S. Is there some reference that tells which cantatas and Oratorios feature each chorale? Is this a matter that has been discussed recently?

Santu de Silva (Archimedes) wrote (December 17, 2001):
[To Thomas Braatz] Whoa! that was quick! Mr Braatz seems to have answered my question before I even asked it.

Thomas Braatz wrote (December 17, 2001):
Archimedes asked:
< Is there some reference that tells which cantatas and Oratorios feature each chorale? Is this a matter that has been discussed recently? >
In Appendix 1, pp. 554 ff. of "Oxford Composer Companions: J.S.Bach" Oxford University Press, 1999, you will find the beginnings of a good list that can be very helpful, but it also has some definite limitations: It will not connect the chorale melody of BWV 147 with the text from Martin Jahn's "Jesu, meiner Seelen Wonne" with "Werde munter, mein Gemüthe" which is listed separately, but happens to be the main melody source. In other words, there is no cross listing of melodies when a chorale melody is known to be used with different texts. You are stuck with the a single text associated with a single melody, however the reality of the situation is that Lutheran chorale melodies frequently had two or more texts associated with them. Then, of course, it is important to remember that the original chorale melody source may have been of a secular nature. This, then should be the primary focus/link. Unfortunately, this type of information is not always available either. Although there certainly is a need for such a cross-referenced list, I am not aware that such a complete listing exists. Any Access programmers out there that can supply me with such a database that would handle this type of listing? Perhaps then I might be able to make a few more connections of this sort.

Here is an example that would confound the Oxford University Press listing entirely:

You listen to BWV 650 (Schübler for organ) "Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel herunter" and hear a familiar chorale melody. Now you look it up under this name and find nothing. You remember suddenly that this is the famous chorale "Lobe den Herrn, den mächtigen König der Ehren" Now you look up this title in the listing and find NOTHING. But in reality, BWV 650 is derived from BWV 137/2 (the 2nd mvt. of this cantata.) Actually Oxford University Press book has an article on the Schübler Chorales and on p. 442 will give you this reference. Also, the article on BWV 137, see page 270, will also point out this connection.

Thomas Braatz wrote (December 17, 2001):
BWV 147 - Provenance:

See: Cantata BWV 147 - Provenance

Dick Wursten wrote (December 17, 2001):
Last sunday, unexpectedly I had the privilege of hearing and seeing (also very nice to look at him, while conducting) Harnoncourt with Concentus Musicus and the Schoenberg choir in BWV 147. It was on Dutch TV, together with BWV 61. (of which I only heard the last part).

After the quite negative views expressed here about the Harnoncourt recordings (from very long ago) I must say: I liked this performance... The tenor was good (Bostridge), only a very uncertain start of his aria (mvt 7: Hilf, Jesu hilf: very difficult to get it all together I suppose, might also have been a mistake of the violoncello). The soprano okay (Schäfer), the bass i don't remember. The mezzo I didnot like (Finke ??). One thing only bothered me, that was the performance of the oboiste (d'amore), who played with so much cramp, that no fluent musical line was heard (Mvt 3)

But for the rest: This Harnoncourt knows what he wants. He has a vision of the whole and attention for details, has ideas how to perform the different aria's and chorusses. Never boring. that 's the least you can say. Even the famous choral (twice, both times different expression and tension, brought with lots of care) didnot immediately bring to me the association with death. This peace of music (normally called: "the Jesujoy") I usually only hear when I go to a missa pro defunctis in which the music is performed by some inivisble CD-player and hidden loudspeakers...

So: before anyone can shoot at Nikolaus, I give him a compliment. He 'is' really something and gave my sunday-afternoon a very special charm.

Riccardo Nughes wrote (December 17, 2001):
[To Dick Wursten] The performance Dick is talking about will be soon available on a DVD recording called "Glorious Bach" featuring also the Magnificat.

Thomas Braatz wrote (December 17, 2001):
BWV 147 "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" Death Association??

Dick Wursten in commenting on a recently recorded Harnoncourt version of this work and in reflecting on the association of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" with the rites of death which he has experienced personally, stated:

< Even the famous choral (twice, both times different expression and tension, brought with lots of care) didnot immediately bring to me the association with death. >
Both the original chorale melody + text association, "Werde munter, mein Gemüthe" and Martin Jahn's later use of this melody in his newer chotext, the text that Bach used in BWV 147 show no obvious connection with any aspect of death. The original chorale expressed in words and music gratitude and praise for God's generous gifts throughout the day and asks, as part of an evening prayer, for God's continuing protection. It should not have been difficult for Harnoncourt to discover the correct emotional associations in the music as he did since they were already present in the original conception of this chorale melody. There is the slight possibility that Johann Schop may even have had a secular text in mind at first. Of such a text we could easily assume that it was of a 'happy' rather than a 'sorrowful' nature, and any conductor without a 'dull' ear would be able to hear this.

Dick Wursten wrote (December 17, 2001):
[To Thomas Braatz] I of course do know that 'Jesujoy' is not meant as funeral music. I only referred to the fact that much of Bach’s music is closely linked to church-rituals and 'Jesujoy' is one of them. "Air" is another one. "Bist du bei mir" a third. 'Jesujoy' has become so popular and I have had to hear it so many times in certain surroundings, company and atmosphere that I hardly am able to listen 'unprejudiced' to this beautiful chorus.

[thesis: The largest part of mankind associates almost all of Bachs music with seriousness, even the music we find joyful].

I know in theory that the chorus from BWV147 is about something else, but the socio-psychological praxis is so strong, that my ears have difficulty to hear what Bach really wrote. My compliment to Harnoncourt was that his interpretation/performance for one moment freed the music from the habitual (false) associations. I hope you understand what I mean. (What a handicap to write in another than your own language, I can't find the right words for something so simple)

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 19, 2001):
Introduction

The subject of this week's discussion (December 16, 2001) is Cantata BWV 147, according to Michael Grover's proposed list. With this cantata we are entering the major league. It is one of those unavoidable cantatas. I mean that most probably every cantata lover, even if he (or she) is doing his (or her) first steps in this huge field, has at least one recording of this famous cantata, and probably more. The chorale from this cantata, known as 'Jesu joy of man's desiring' was extracted and subjected to many instrumental arrangements, becoming through them one of the most famous Bach's pieces. Every choir trying to approach Bach's choral music, will start its journey with this chorale. This chorale alone is one the most performed and the most recorded pieces by Bach. For many people, unfamiliar with other works by J.S. Bach, this chorale is BACH.

In order to allow the members of the BCML preparing themselves for the discussion, I compiled a list of the recordings of this cantata. Because they are big in number, I separated them into two pages. You can see the details of the recordings in the following pages of the Bach Cantatas Website:
Complete Recordings: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV147.htm
Recordings of Individual Movements: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV147-2.htm

Most of these recordings are available in CD form. If anybody is aware of a recording of this cantata or of an individual movement from it, which is not listed in the pages of recordings, please inform me and send the relevant details, so that I shall be able to update the page.

Most of the complete recordings of BWV 147 last about half an hour. With at least 14 complete recordings of this cantata it means about seven hours for only one round of listening to them all. It has been a Gargantuan but satisfying task.

I hope to see many of you participating in the discussion.

Background for the four Arias

BWV 147 is one of the few cantatas, which contains arias for all four solo voices. It is also interesting to note that all the arias originated from the early version of the cantata (BWV 147a), which has been intended for performance on the 4th Sunday of Advent in 1716 in Weimar. My review of the recordings of this cantata below relates only to these four arias, because this cantata is very long indeed (about half an hour) and it has at least 15 recordings (14 of which I have). I avoid reviewing the famous chorale for obvious reasons. As a background to the four arias I shall quote this time from Alec Robertson (‘The Church Cantatas of J.S. Bach’, 1972), W. Murray Young (‘The Cantatas of J.S. Bach – An Analytical Guide’, 1989), and Nicholas Anderson (‘Oxford Composer Companion – J.S. Bach’, 1999).

Mvt. 3 Aria for Alto (with oboe d’amore, continuo)
Robertson: “Pleasantly flowing but of no particulars interest.”
Young: “Continues the same thought concerning those ungrateful souls who do not acknowledge their Saviour on this earth. They will be disowned by Him in turn when He comes in Glory.”
Anderson: “The tenor recitative’s meditative, intimate quality is shared by the alto aria in A minor, with its vacillating rhythmic patterns and the warm tones of the oboe d’amore, making an early appearance in Bach’s music.”

Mvt. 5 Aria for Soprano (with violin solo, continuo)
Robertson: “The violin solo part, as Whittaker truly says, might be a study for the D minor Prelude in Book I of The 48, though be taken at a somewhat slower pace. The triplets are confined to the solo violin part and make delightful accompaniment to the happy voice part going along the prepared way.”
Young: “With solo violin accompaniment we can visualize the believing soul who happily treads along the path towards Jesus, because He has chosen her to join Him.”
Anderson: “The soprano aria ‘Bereite dir, Jesu’, in D minor with violin obbligato, constitutes a lyrically expressive high point in the work. There is a beguiling innocence about the vocal line, while that of the violin, predominantly in triplets, provides an ecstatic accompaniment.”

Mvt. 7 Aria for Tenor (with continuo, violoncello, violone)
Robertson: “The text harks back to the alto solo (Mvt. 3), also by Frank. The continuo part begins with the motif of the cry the tenor utters and then is given phrases of descending semiquaver triplets in almost every succeeding bar. It is remarkably vivid movement.”
Young: “Asks Jesus to Help him, so he will recognize Him as his Saviour at all times, whether in joy or in sorrow. This aria appears to be a short prayer beginning ‘Hilf, Jesu, hilf’ (Help, Jesus, Help) and ending, ‘Daß stets mein Herz von deiner Liebe brenne’ (That my heart may always burn from your love).”
Anderson: “Part 2 begins with a declamatory F major tenor aria with a lively continuo accompaniment for cello, violone and organ.”

Mvt. 9 Aria for Bass (with trumpet, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, continuo)
Robertson: “A fine aria in which Bach takes advantage of the reference to ‘the holy fire’, spoken of later, to give the bas some fiery illustrative phrases.”
Young: “With spectacular trumpet accompaniment, the bass shows forth his praise: ‘Ich will von Jesu Wundern singen’ (I want to sing of Jesus’ wounds). The reference in the text to lips and mouth (‘Lippen’ and ‘Mund’) recall the verse in the Morning Service of both Lutheran and Anglican ritual: ‘O Lord, open thou our lips, / And our mouth shall shew forth thy praise.’
The libretto also appears to contain an allusion to each word in the title Herze = das schwache Fleisch (the weak flesh), Mund (mouth), Tat = Opfer (offering), Leiben = seiner Liebe Bund (the covenant with His love and our lives).
God’s way of acting on us is also pictured in the climactic last line with forceful musical illustration of ‘heilges Feuer’ (holy fire), i.e. the Holy Spirit, which will compel us to turn to him: ‘Durch heilges Feuer kräftig zwingen.’ (He will compel strongly through holy fire.)
Together with the initial chorus and the ending chorales, taria shines among the best number in the cantata.”
Anderson: “The remaining aria is for bass, accompanied by trumpet, strings (with oboes doubling each of the two violin parts), and continuo. This resonant F major piece, with passages of vocal coloratura, proclaims Christ’s wonders. The melodic contours of the vocal line at times seem to foreshadow the middle section of the alto aria ‘Es ist vollbracht’ in the St John Passion (BWV 245, 1724).”

Review of the Complete Recordings

I do not have the time (and the space) to elaborate in the review the merits of each recording. Therefore I wrote only the main characteristics of each recording as I hear them. The comparison between the recordings of each aria is summerized at the end of this review under the ‘Conclusion’ heading.

[1] Kurt Thomas (Mid 1950’s ? )
Kurt Thomas was a Thomaskantor succeeding the famous Günther Ramin for a short period from 1956 to 1960. He had an interesting biography, which you can read at the following page of the Bach Cantatas Website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Thomas-Kurt.htm
Thomas made some recordings of Bach cantatas and other vocal works even before becoming a Thomaskantor. The recording of Cantata BWV 147 belongs to that group and being the first complete recording of this cantata, it was for a few years the only one on the map. I have never heard this recording and AFAIK it has never been issued in CD form. But I found a short review of it in ‘The Third Penguin Guide to Bargain Records’ (1972):
“This Oiseau-Lyre disc is both well sung and well balanced and the lively conducting makes for a performance of considerable excellence. The recording sounds as if originally it was a first-class but in the tape-to-disc transfer something has gone seriously wrong with the focus, which is hopelessly unclear.”

[3] Geraint Jones (1957)
Helen Watts was in fine form when she made this recording. Her fresh voice and vivacious singing (but with a little too much vibrato for modern ears) put life into the aria for alto. She and the other singers are not helped by the somewhat heavy-handed accompaniment supplied to them by Jones. Watts would be developed to a better Bach singer in years to come. Even in this early stage of her long and fruitful career, Joan Sutherland had a firm approach, which she used in almost any context. In the aria for soprano, her only recording of Bach’s vocal work, she proves how alien is she to the Bach idiom. The voice is glorious indeed, but neither the lyricism nor the innocence can be found here. This is a sensitive Bach aria and not an aria from a grand Italian opera, but does not seem to care. I know nothing about the Wilfred Brown, who sings the aria for tenor. But he sounds a born Bach singer, with the Helmut Krebs’ type of voice, even if he somewhat exaggerated in his expression, instead of letting the music. Thomas Hamsley sings the complicated aria for bass insensitively and misses many points. But it might also be the conductor’s fault?

[4] Karl Richter (1961)
Richter had four excellent singers in good form at his disposal for the recording of this cantata – the soprano Ursula Bückel (heartfelt expression and smooth singing), the sublime contralto Hertha Töpper, the tenor John van Kesteren (always a joy to find him singing), and the deep-voiced bass Kieth Engen. All four of them raised to the challenge and produced high-level recording. I have nothing but praises to all four of them. The reviewer of the first ‘Penguin Stereo Record Guide’ (1975) thought Richter’s account of this cantata to be pedantic. I have to admit that I do not understand what was he talking about.

[6] Fritz Werner (1963)
Werner, as Richter, had four (actually five, because he used two bach singers) fine vocal soloists - the soprano Agnes Giebel, the alto Claudia Hellmann, the tenor Helmut Krebs, and the basses Jakob Stämpfli (recitative?) & Erich Wenk (aria?). Giebel singing is moving but she lacks the needed innocence. Claudia Hellmann is the weakest of all four soloists regarding the quality and the volume of her voice. She is more a mezzo than a contralto. Krebs is always an example for Bach singing at its best, a constant delight. Werner, usually a more flexible and sensitive conductor than Richter, is much less vivid and more dogmatic in this cantata than Richter is.

[9] Helmut Winschermann (1972)
If I thought that Richter and Werner recordings of this cantata were good, than comes Winschermann and out-classes them both. Only one of his soloists (the bass Reimer) is somewhat weaker (his voice is too light, although his interpretation is sensitive) in comparison to the two previous recordings. But the main advantage Winschermann has is that his rendition is more colourful, more vivid, more varied, more tasteful, more musical and consequently more enjoyable than the renditions of his predecessors. The good surprise here is Ileana Contrubas, not the first name that comes into mind when the talking is about Bach soprano singers. She accedes delightfully to the direction of the conductor and gives a good account of her aria.

[7] David Willcocks (Early 1970’s ?)
I have this recording only in LP form, and therefore I was not able to listen to it. With so many recordings to listen to I do not feel that I have missed something. From what I remember this has never been one of my favourite, even during the early 1970’s when I had very few cantata recordings. I remember it as somewhat anaemic, although it has a good line of soloists. I do not know if it is available in CD form.

[7] Kurt Bauer (Early 1970’s ?)
Avoid this one. Awful recording and awful rendition.

[10] Helmuth Rilling (1976-1977)
All the good merits that characterize Winschermann’s recording could also be applied to Rilling’s, which falls only short behind. Watts was before her prime as a Bach singer in Jones’ recording and here she gives the impression that she is behind her prime. She is more sensitive to the words, but her voice is less stable. Augér was almost always in her prime (she died too young). Her account of the aria for soprano belongs to the best of the crop. She sings with so many nuances, sensitivity and warmth. I agree that she presses in the higher register, but for me expression is much more important than technical accomplishment.

[14] Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1985)
Harnoncourt uses boys for both the alto and the soprano arias. Harnoncourt had better boy sopranos in other recordings in his cantata cycle (together with Gustav Leonhardt). The singing in the aria for soprano lacks any momentum and/or interest. About the boy alto, the least I could say is that I wish that this part were given to Esswood. The boy alto manages to sing all the notes, but in certain places his voice becomes unpleasant and along the whole aria any sign of expression is missing. Equiluz never disappoints. If I had the time, I would have made detailed comparison between his three recordings of the aria for tenor, each time under a different conductor! Thomas Hampson has a rich and beautiful voice, but his singing here leaves something to be desired in terms of expression, especially when he is compared to some of his predecessors. Some important details do not get enough attention in his singing here.

[13] Joshua Rifkin (1985)
In order to prove his OVPP theory Rifkin chose several cantatas that do not benefit from such approach. BWV 147 is one of them. Since I am not discussing here the choral movements, I shall not get into details and explain why do I think so. Anyhow, in the arias direct comparison to other recordings is more applicable. Drew Minter’s pleasant singing carries ahead the aria for alto well, without too much emotional involvement. The same could be said about Jane Bryden in the for soprano, Jeffrey Thomas in the aria for tenor, and Jan Opalach in the aria for bass. In conclusion I can say that all four singers suffer from the conductor’s approach, which lacks vigour and energy.

[15] John Eliot Gardiner (1990)
Gardiner’s rendition is loaded with energy, but is also charecterized by certain superficiality. We feel that something is missing. Perhaps it is more gentleness, care for details and emotional depth. Chance is in good form in the aria for alto. Direct comparison with Minter reveals the differences. He finds abundance of possibilities for expression where Minter remains on the surface. Ruth Holton has the ideal voice for the aria for soprano – full of lyrical expression and boyish innocence. She is only a step below the best. Anthony Rolfe-Johnson, an experienced Bach singer, treats the aria for tenor quite well and holds our attention. Varcoe is also an experienced Bach singer, but his singing in the aria for bass is somewhat dry and lacks variety.

[16] Harry Christophers (1990)
With Harry Christophers we meet another English conductor, and to my taste more interesting than Gardiner, at least in this cantata. I do also prefer his B minor Mass (BWV 232) to that of Gardiner. It is a pity that he has not recorded so far more Bach Cantatas. A list of his Bach’s recordings can be seen in the following page of the Bach Cantatas Website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Christophers.htm
In the aria for alto David James is on the same par with Chance. Gillian Fisher’s timbre of voice reminds that of Holton, but there is some instability in her singing that might disturb. Ian Partridge, who recorded this cantata about 20 years earlier with Willcocks, can still carry an aria for tenor with suppliant qualities at this stage of his career and keeps our interest. Michael George’s approach has more flexibility, his singing has more variety and his voice is more pleasant than those of Varcoe are.

[17] Mátyás Antál (1992)
This surprisingly good performance comes from Hungarian forces. The accompanying orchestra, which uses modern instruments, has live and freshness, but is less polished than other orchestras, such as the English Baroque Soloists (with Gardiner) or the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra (with Koopman) or the Bach Collegium Japan (with Suzuki). Judit Németh’s voice in the aria for alto is not stable and she uses too much vibrato for a modern Bach singer. Ingrid Kertesi in the other for soprano is a major improvement – good and strong voice, expressive ability, and she holds the long lines beautifully. One can hear that she feels comfortable in the Bach’s idiom. However, her interpretation misses something being too calculated and mature for the demands of the aria. The tenor and the bass singer do their job competently, if not remarkably. Nevertheless for the newcomer to the Bach Cantatas field, this cheap CD (which contains also BWV 80) could be a good start. Have I not heard so many recordings of this cantata, I could enjoy it much more.

[19] Ton Koopman (1997)
Bogna Bartosz brings out the best in the aria for alto with firm approach and impressive if not strong voice. Lisa Larsson has delicate and warm voice, and she sings in a style very well suited to the demands of the aria for soprano. I was captivated by her tender and charming singing and found myself wanting to listen to it over and over again. Türk’s technical accomplishments are admirable, and his interpretation of the aria for tenor can be counted among the best. Mertens is in his usual high level both technically and expressively. Everything flows so smoothly in this rendition, and the sensitive hands of Koopman supply his singers inspirational support. Some might think that a bolder approach would suit this cantata better, but Koopman’s approach is indeed self-satisfactory, and hearing it alone, one would not think that anything is missing.

[22] Masaaki Suzuki (1999)
The gorgeous counter-tenor voice of Robin Blaze sets the standard for the ensuing three arias with his moving singing. Nonoshita raises to the challenge with her fresh and singing and marvellous voice (and also impeccable pronunciation). Nevertheless, I still prefer Larsson (with Koopman), who shows greater delicacy and is irresistible with her charm. Türk keeps the high level he has shown with Koopman, and Kooy is only slightly behind Mertens. Both Suzuki and Koopman’s recordings are on the highest level, both technically and musically and each is very cohesive with the approach chosen by the conductor. The general approach of Suzuki is bolder than Koopman’s and leaves nothing to be desired.

[23] Pieter Jan Leusink (2000)
I do not have anything good to say about Leusink’s rendition of this cantata. Most the glory and the grandeur of this cantata are lost. The sloppy playing can be heard right at the beginning, and is even more distinguishable in the accomaniment to the four arias. None of the singers raises to the occasion, even not Holton, who gave with Gardiner a better account of the aria about ten years earlier. If you want a cheap CD of this cantata, my recommendation is to go for Antál.

Conclusion

Personal priorities:

Aria for Alto:
Level A - Töpper/Richter [4], Hamari/Winschermann [9], Blaze/Suzuki [22]
Level B - Chance/Gardiner [15], James/Christophers [16], Bartosz/Koopman [19]
Level C - Watts/Rilling [10], Watts/Jones [3], Minter/Rifkin [13]
Level D - Hellmann/Werner [6], Németh/Antál [17], Buwalda/Leusink [23]

Aria for Soprano:
Level A - Bückel/Richter [4], Giebel/Werner [6], Augér/Rilling [10], Larsson/Koopman [19]
Level B - Contrubas/Winschermann [9], Holton/Gardiner [15], Nonoshita/Suzuki [22]
Level C - Bryden/Rifkin [13], Fisher/Christophers [16], Kertesi/Antál [17], Holton/Leusink [23]
Level D - Sutherland/Jones [3]

Aria for Tenor:
Level A - Krebs/Werne [6], van Kesteren/Richter [4], Equiluz/Winschermann [9], Equiluz/Rilling [10]
Level B - Equiluz/Harnoncourt [14], Rolfe-Johnson/Gardiner [15], Türk/Koopman [19], Türk/Suzuki [22]
Level C - Thomas/Rifkin [13], Partridge/Christophers [16], Mukk/Antál [17], Schoch/Leusink [23]
Level D - Brown/Jones [3]

Aria for Bass:
Level A - Engen/Richter [4], Mertens/Koopman [19]
Level B - Wenk/Werner [6], Schöne/Rilling [10], George/Christophers [16], Kooy/Suzuki [22]
Level C - Reimer/Winschermann [9], H/Harnoncourt [14], Varcoe/Gardiner [15], Gáti/Antál [17]
Level D - Hamsley/Jones [3], Opalach/Rifkin [13], Ramselaar/Leusink [23]

Overall performance
Non-HIP: Winschermann [9]
HIP: Koopman [19], Suzuki [22]

I do not know where to place the two boys (soprano and alto) of Harnoncourt’s recording [14]. I feel that it is not fair to compare them with the experienced grown-up singers.

Personal Comment

I approached BWV 147 with slight hesitation and awe. Could I enjoy from so familiar cantata? Could I hear so many recordings of the work one after the other without getting bored? My conclusion is the opposite. After so many listenings I want more of the same. I feel as if I have only started to discover the gems of this cantata (especially the four arias), which I thought I knew so well.

And as always, I would like to hear other opinions, regarding the above mentioned performances, or other recordings.

Thomas Braatz wrote (December 20, 2001):
Last week I listened to the following recordings of BWV 147:

Richter (1961) [4]; Werner (1963) [6]; Rilling (1976-77) [10]; Harnoncourt (1985) [14]; Rifkin (1985) [13]; Koopman (1997) [19]; Suzuki (1999) [22]; and Leusink (2000) [23]

[Comment: Usually I have to note on which track each separate version begins. With an average of about 3 + recordings to review each week, it certainly helps me to find rapidly the location of a mvt. from one version to compare with another. Guess what?!! This week I hit the jackpot! Every version that I own and have reviewed below begins on track 1. I suppose the probability experts will say that there is nothing very unusual about this, but personally I believe that the sales experts at the various recording companies had a strong hand involved in making the decision to place this cantata with its famous chorale at the head of the list for each recording – the market dictates this decision.]

As I listened to all of these recordings with the score in hand, my attention was drawn particularly to two passages which I thought would separate the wheat from the chaff in the various interpretations offered. The first passage occurs in Mvt. 1 at measure 18 ff. at the very end of the first vocal fugue, when the choir breaks into pairs of voices on an interval-leaping passage, first in the soprano/alto pairing and then quickly answered by the tenor/bass grouping. This also occurs at ms. 29 ff., where the situation is reversed, but then again just like the 1st time in ms. 51 ff. Inevitably the T/B entrances are feeble, almost non-existent. The larger, older choirs (Richter, Werner) and Rilling, and surprisingly also Rifkin with all that transparency, manage the passages well with good balance between the voices. In contrast, Harnoncourt, Koopman, and even Suzuki are a great disappointment in this regard.

The second item is a matter of phrasing, clearly marked by Bach, but not apparent in all the recordings that I have listened to: it is the famous accompanying ostinato figure (based directly on the chorale melody as Alfred Dürr pointed out) played by the 1st violin(s) and oboes 1 and 2, a motif that continues almost incessantly throughout the entire mvt. This figure consists of a series of triplet-like groupings which Bach marked as follows: the 1st two notes are slurred, but the third is not. What this normally implies is that the violin bowing should not change in the middle of such a slur, nor should there be even an imperceptible breath by the oboes. However the 3rd note, although not marked with a dot (staccato) or wedge (accent), could become a note very slightly separated from the slurred pair, perhaps with a tenuto, but not special accent, after which a slight breath or detachment occurs before attacking the next triplet-like figure. In any case, as I understand this marking, it should prevent the players from engaging in one, long continuous legato. Would you believe that none of the versions, not even Harnoncourt! succeeded in breaking with what must have been a long-standing tradition to play this musical line with a sustained legato? Elsewhere this figure occurs in the 1st mvt. of BWV 1 and Schweitzer locates another Christmas cantata, BWV 110, in which the same figure with the same slurred pattern occurs. He describes it as one of laughter, in Schweitzer’s terminology a ‘motif of laughter.’ It should, therefore, not surprise us that the popular reception of this mvt. indentifies more with the funereal aspect of interpretation that consists of this almost never-ending stream of notes, the very thing that Bach attempted to circumvent by clearly and laboriously adding the slurs 132 times out of the 150 times possible (the NBA indicates with dotted lines the additional slurs that were included by analogy.) So it was with some dismay that I was forced to conclude that none of the above recordings successfully cast off the burden of tradition, a heavy weight that prevents us from hearing what Bach really had intended for this famous chorale.

[23] In order not to end with Leusink’s interpretation, which invariably happens because of the chronological arrangement of these interpretations, I have decided to put this review at the beginning much in the same way that I, as a boy, would eat my peas on the dinner plate first and leave the better-tasting parts of the meal until later. In general I had the feeling with many recordings that the choral groups, soloists, instrumentalists, and conductors were quite aware of the importance of making this cantata sound good. It may also be that the performers tended to identify more closely with something that was already familiar to them. There is for the Leusink performances as a whole a general level of performance (only compared to other performances by Leusink’s group on the same Brilliant label, not to other recordings). This recording could then, in comparison, be considered above average, with the typical features that I have previously described all being present here, albeit not as strongly in evidence as elsewhere. Of particular note is the violin solo in the soprano aria. This violin has a darker quality than most others that I listened to, hence I wonder whether a viola was used instead. There is a blaring trumpet that is reechoed by the blaring (uncontrolled) voices. Many features of the Harnoncourt performance are retained, although they tend to be less intrusive here. I am no longer surprised to hear actual mistakes or radical changes not indicated in the score committed by Harnoncourt now unthinkingly or uncritically repeated by Leusink as if Harnoncourt’s recording were the non plus ultra from which a conductor of Bach’s music dare not deviate. Ramselaar sings a long coloratura on the word “kräftig” instead of “Feuer” as Bach wanted it. This ‘tradition’ it seems began with Harnoncourt’s Thomas Hampson doing it exactly the same way. In Harnoncourt’s defense it might be stated that the NBA published this cantata in 1995, which however would not absolve Koopman and Leusink from checking first with this authoritative source before perpetuating an earlier reading. The NBA KB indicates that “Feuer” instead of “kräftig” was Bach’s final intention in the clean autograph copy that he made for BWV 147 in its final form as a ‘Marienfest’ cantata and not as an Advent cantata which has not been reconstructed for a possible performance since too much of it is missing. Likewise the phrasing marks for the chorale sto ‘get longer’ as Bach tried to speed up the repetitive process of assigning all the necessary slurs. This had led some people to misinterpret Bach’s intentions as meaning to cover all three notes of the triplet-figure, however, since the initial markings are clearly only over two notes, the editors discounted the later, hurriedly added markings.

[19] Since Koopman was just mentioned, allow me to describe his recording in greater detail. My general assessment here of this performance puts it into a category along with numerous other recordings by Koopman in this ongoing series: this tends to be ‘lite’ – entertainment. If you desire Bach cantatas as pleasant background music which will not intrude itself upon whatever you happen to be doing, and if you could not care less about the words and the religious content contained in the cantata, then this type of recording it best for you. How does Koopman achieve this ‘lite’ – entertainment effect: 1. faster tempi than most; 2. the voices are allowed to sing primarily sotto voce, this means just ‘hitting’ the notes lightly with half-voice volume even to the extent that certain notes are barely audible; 3. the soloists are also half-voices which all tend to be very weak in volume in the lower end of their ranges. Listen to the pairing of voices (pointed out above in Mvt. 1) and you will hear that when the tenors and basses are supposed to answer, there is almost nothing there. But does this matter when all you are interested in is the background effect of this music? No, not at all. But a careful listener will detect an imbalance, a one-sidedness that throws everything off. The musical edifice that Bach erected is in great danger of collapsing. The lute! Do you hear the lute, particularly in the tenor and soprano arias? Now isn’t that remarkable?! Not if you see how they place the microphone a foot away from the sound hole of the instrument. These are fads (perhaps gimmicks?) to get your attention with a new sound. The soloists: Türk, with his half-voice, gives a nice performance with some expression, but he lacks the intensity that the great Bach tenors demonstrate. To describe Bartosz, I would ask you to imagine Ruth Holton as an alto. Bartosz’ performance is quite satisfactory as she sings all the correct notes. Sometimes there is a ‘dead’ quality in her voice. Generally she lacks depth which probably would come from a full voice that would have a greater range of possibilities for expression. Larson’s half-voice does not know how to sing out with a full voice. In addition to cutting short note values as she taps the notes lightly with her voice, she disappoints completely when there is nothing in the low range. Mertens, if you overlook the fact that he, too, is a half-voice (very noticeable in the low range where he is always in danger of being overwhelmed by the volume of this small orchestra), can be excellent in his ability to express the text properly. In the chorale mvts. Koopman retains some of the Harnoncourt accents, but Koopman applies them with greater subtlety. The singing of the chorale is one of the best versions that I have heard.

[22] In contrast to Koopman, Suzuki is able to ‘fire up’ the vocal and instrumental forces to present a much more energetic approach to the music than Koopman can muster. Although I have not heard Herreweghe’s performance of this cantata, I can imagine that his version would demonstrate great sensitivity, but would fail to match the intensity that Suzuki brings to this music. Suzuki has the strong spirit and genuine joy that I only heard in one other version, that of Richter’s, the major difference being that Richter’s choir had greater substantiality and a more powerful reserve of volume to call upon when needed (of course the number of singers makes the difference here.) I was almost shocked when I experienced the vacuum created by the missing tenor/bass response in the 1st mvt. Everything had seemed to be going along quite well, until these passages in the mvt. were reached. To make up for this apparent lack, however, Suzuki gives us a splendid rendition of the chorale. My impression here is that the choir hovers mysteriously above the instrumental ostinato. Only Herreweghe could succeed in rendering such an ethereal interpretation of the chorale. The soloists: Blaze’s voice will take some getting used to since it has a sharp, penetrating quality, sometimes a very narrow constricted sound, coupled with a vibrato that he occasionally allows to become too wide. He certainly is not on Andreas Scholl’s level, but he is definitely better sounding to my ears that some of the other counter-tenors such as Esswood. Nonoshita does an admirable job in attempting to sing the aria with a full voice. Kooy also has an excellent performance here and is equally as good as Mertens in many aspects.

[14] From the very first few measures, it becomes quite evident that there is something very different about this recording compared to the others: Harnoncourt has a very heavy-handed approach that undermines the continuity, the flow of the musical line. It truly amazes me that this conductor manages to inflict this type of unmusical treatment on Bach’s sacred music, whereas, in contrast, Harnoncourt seems not to have any apparent similar problems conducting classical and romantic symphonies which I can listen to and enjoy immensely. Somehow it seems that Bach’s sacred music brings out the worst in Harnoncourt, or should I say, Harnoncourt almost consistently misses the mark when he attempts to conduct the Bach cantatas: supplying strong, unneeded accents in a bumpy and thrusting bc, indulging in extreme dynamics that fail their effect, allowing the final syllables of words to disappear completely, while almost making the choir scream out their parts, are some typical features of his renditions. For the famous chorale, Harnoncourt presents a bear doing a Viennese waltz. This is totally inappropriate for such a dignified chorale text. Just listen to Harnoncourt does his ‘dah’-whoop, da’ or ‘whoop da da’ in the bc, because he is thinking, “Nobody, but nobody has ever dared to do it this way before. All the listeners to these recordings will put me on a pedestal for a pioneering performance such as this one. They will remember my version before all others.” Solists: Both Equiluz and boy-soprano Bergius supply us with necessary relief from the outlandish performance that otherwise prevails in this version. Equiluz here demonstrates such sensitivity and genuinely-felt emotion, that it becomes difficult to imagine that there might be anything better than this. It is truly unfortunate for both Equiluz and Bergius that the accompaniment is so clumsily, insensitively handled. In his aria Equiluz sounds very distant, as if someone forgot to turn on the microphone in his area, thus the organ and bc are much too loud. Bergius has to contend with Alice Harnoncourt’s squeaky violin playing. To make matters worse, she, or was it the master himself, insisted on having her hit very strongly the unaccented note in each short phrase. If Bach had been conducting this with an Alice-type player in his orchestra, he would have marked her part ‘con sordino,’ thus putting an end to her aspirations to appear as a soloist only wanting to call attention to herself. Bergius sings his notes with perfect intonation, each note clear as a bell. In contrast Rampf’s performance is a near disaster since every form of vocal control is continually slipping away from his fingers: intonation (frequently flat), portamenti (sliding to and from the notes) and an uncontrolled vibrato. The bc here is blatently crude. Hampson has a fast vibrato that even intrudes in the coloratura passages, so that it becomes difficult to discern the actual notes being sung. Hampson’s voice has a bit more volume than van Egmond’s but otherwise these voices are rather similar. I personally find both rather difficult to listen to.

[13] The only truly version is Rifkin’s along with all the inherent problems that this brings due mainly to the fact that it appears to be difficult to assemble 4 voices that 1. can sing the solo Bach arias; and at the same time 2. can sing as a unit so that single voices do not predominate or cause imbalances to occur. An additional problem is to find singers that can pronounce German properly. With the smaller instrumental forces at his disposal, Rifkin senses the need to increase the tempi, a natural concomitant when the acoustics are relatively ‘dead’ and the artists singing and playing are at the utterly-reduced level demanded by this type of performance. When these soloists sing as a choir, the only time that they really sound good to my ears is when they sing quarter notes. Anything requiring faster moving vocal lines immediately invites numerous problems. In this group when singing as a choir there are still too many instances when the individual vibratos intrude and detract from presenting a truly beautiful performance. Soloists: Thomas has definite problems with the German language. He sings “Heiland” as “Hahland” to name just one example. This half-voice frequently sings flat and there is very little volume in his low range. Minter is unpleasant on the high notes. He indulges in quite a bit of sotto voce. It is difficult to get used to his fast, quivering vibrato. When he hits a high note and attempts to release it in order to get to a lower note, there is a short yodeling-type sound. His German pronunciation is quite good. Opalach has a wide range of volume that allows him to obtain more expression that the other singers. But when he hits the low range and becomes soft, can anyone really hear his half-whispered sounds/words? Bryden has a shaky performance throughout and is the worst singer in this quartet. She lacks control of her voice. She attempts to make up for her deficiencies by indulging in all sorts of unnecessary embellishments that only prove even more that she is not in control of her voice. Even in the chorale, she and the others have too much vibrato. Why?

[10] Rilling’s choir performance is best characterized with a combination of good and bad features: Despite the fact that the vocal parts are balanced with sufficient volume in each part, the recording quality still makes this choir sound fuzzy. This problem is compounded by the incessant warbling vibratos that are particularly apparent in the soprano voice. This detracts from achieving a strong, radiant quality such as that found in Richter’s choir. The vibratos in all voices cause a restless quality and a lack of solidity that even affects the simple chorale. Equiluz delivers another one of his many truly superior recitative and aria presentations. Watts, however has an unpleasant sharp, metallic edge to her voice, with some phrases obviously strained, and she is then on the verge of losing the control of her voice. Augér fares better than Watts with her only problem occurring when she reaches for the high notes, sometimes achieving a beautiful tone only to sound very strained on the same note a measure later. Schöne is very operatic with a wide vibrato, but he definitely fills out the aria and holds his own against the orchestra.

[4] Richter gives a very spirited performance that is exciting while at the same time demonstrating a profound intensity when needed. This early recording was made in the Heilbronn Cathedral which may have caused the difficulty in recording properly the enunciation of the German consonants, as this is not something that Richter normally has a problem with. The altos tend to be rather weak compared to the other voices. As usual, and this almost always causes extra problems, Richter insists on duplicating all the vocal parts using very high-sounding stops on the organ. This procedure probably would not be a problem except that in this instance the choir tends to be sharp, which is not bad in itself, but Richter’s organ maintains the pitch and sounds flat in comparison. This is not a good combination. Although I listened to the passage in Mvt. 1 a number of times, it still appears to me that the choir, instead of singing the coloratura on “Leben” as “e-e-e-e-,“ appears to be singing “dicke, dicke, dicke…” In the chorale Richter creates a beautiful arch to combine the fragment lines with each other. Soloists: van Kestern sounds like a John McCormick, having a high nasal, bright quality coupled with a fast vibrato. Töpper has a full-throated, operatic voice with a wide vibrato, but the dark quality of her voice is admirably suited for the recitative that uses two oboi d’amore. Engen, also of the operatic type with a full voice fills out his part with full orchestra without any difficulty. Buckel’s performance is very good. Listen to the staccato bc that is another typical Richter device to reduce the heaviness of the bc.

[6] Werner’s performance in contrast to Richter’s seems also to suffer from the same recording problems as Richter’s recording did: the indistinct consonant pronunciation. Unfortunately, with an even more deliberate tempo than Richter’s, Werner loses the excitement that Richter coaxed from his choir. With Werner you feel more the heavy weight of the slow tempo. Also, the choir does not seem to be as emotionally involved as Richter’s choir was. In the chorale the choir sings sharp. Now this quality is distracting and one wonders why the choir members could not hear the correct pitch in the orchestra. Krebs, the renowned Evangelist of some famous passions recorded during the 50’s and 60’s sings with a slow vibrato. With the slightly nasal quality in his voice that lends a penetrating edge to his delivery, Krebs nevertheless retains a smooth quality that hints at an openness that he uses to full advantage to gain expressiveness in the presentation of the text. Hellmann is rather comparable to Töpper, but Hellmann lacks the rich, dark quality that Töpper has. The two basses, Stämpfli (I assume the recitative was his since he was mentioned first) and Wenk both possess pleasant-sounding voices with good expression. Giebel lacks expression and has a vibrato that interferes with her delivery. It is as if she is just a bit unsure if she has landed correctly on the tone she is supposed to sing. When she lands on the high notes, the beautiful aspect of her voice becomes apparent.

Summary:

Mvt. 1: Richter [4], Suzuki [22]
Tenor Recitative & Aria: Equiluz [10] [14], Krebs [6]
Alto Recitative & Aria: Töpper [4], (Blaze??) [22]
Soprano Aria: Bergius [14], Nonoshita [22], Augér [10]
Bass Recitative & Aria: Wenk [6], Kooy [22], Mertens [19]
Chorale: Suzuki [22], Koopman [19]

 

Continue on Part 2

Cantatas BWV 147 & BWV 147a: Details & Complete Recordings of BWV 147 | Recordings of Individuaul Movements: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Details of BWV 147a | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

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Last update: ýDecember 31, 2012 ý08:23:21