Andrea Marcon & Venice Baroque Orchestra with Angelika KitchschlagerBach Arias
Angelika Kirchschlager Sings Bach Arias
Donald Satz wrote (November 16, 2002):
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Cantata No.83 - Erfreute Zeit
Cantata No.170 - Vergnugte Ruh
Cantata No.82 - Schlummert Ein, Ihr Matten Augen
Cantata No.74 - Nichts Kann Mich Erretten
Cantata No.42 - Wo Zwei Und Drei Versammelt Sind
Cantata No.156 - Herr, Was Du Willst
St. Matthew Passion - Erbarme Dich
Cantata No.54 - Widerstehe Doch Der Sunde
Mass in B minor - Laudamus Te
Cantata No.156 - Sinfonia
Christmas Oratorio - Bereite Dich Zion
Christmas Oratorio - Wie Soll Ich Dich Empfangen
Sony Classical 89924
Venice Baroque Orchestra
Andrea Marcon, Director
Angelika Kirchschlager, Mezzo-Soprano
Giuliano Carmignola, Baroque Violin
Comparisons: Goerne/Decca, Bostridge/Virgin
Kirchschlager, Marcon, and Carmignola are three fast-rising stars of baroque music, and Sony has collected them together for this new recording of Bach arias. The focal point is of course the young and attractive mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschalger who bears a striking resemblance to the gorgeous Sigourney Weaver of the "Alien" movies.
Kirchschalger has a very attractive voice with fine emotional depth. My sole reservation is that she has trouble 'soaring' in the more powerful music such as the aria from BWV 83; powerful projection just isn't one of her strengths. On the other hand, Kirchschalger is heavenly in the more mellow arias.
The orchestral support from Marcon and company is generally excellent with fine detail and energy. Carmignola is an exceptional violinist, and I can't speak highly enough of the oboe contributions from Stephanie Haegele which are incisive and heart-felt. My only complaint is in BWV 156 which needs much more breathing room than the hard driving Marcon will allow.
Ultimately, listening to this fine disc makes me think of the Bach aria discs from Ian Bostridge on Virgin and Matthias Goerne on Decca. Those two gentlemen can easily 'carry' a set of performances, but neither Kirchschlager's tonal qualities or musical personality is quite up to the task. By my thinking, these vocal recital discs require singers of great distinction. Kirchschlager might reach that point in the future, but she currently is some distance behind.
Don's Recommendations: Enjoyable and easy to recommend performances. However, those wanting to go the 'Bach Aria' route would be better advised to seek out the Bostridge and/or Goerne recordings. Those are special discs; Kirchschlager's is not.
Angelika Kirschlager and Venice Baroque Orchestra
Piotr Jaworski wrote (November 20, 2002):
It looks that Venice Baroque Orchestra with Andrea Marcon and Giuliano Carmignola are among the busiest artists of our times! Two volumes of Vivaldi 'Concertos', Bach 'Sonatas', Locatelli 'Concertos' and now we have CD with selected arias from various Bach works!
Angelika Kirschlager - mezzo - joined them in this effort.
And here is the programme:
'Erfreute Zeit' from cantata BWV 83
'Verngugte Ruch' from cantata BWC 170
'Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen' from cantata BWV 82
'Nichts kann mich erretten' from cantata BWV 74
'Wo zwei und drei versammlet sind' from cantata BWV 42
'Herr was du willt' from cantata BWV 156
'Widerstehe doch der Sunde' from cantata BWV 54
'Erbarme dich' from SMP
'Laudamus te' from B minor Mass
Sinfonia from from cantata BWV 156
'Bereite dich Zion' & 'Wie soll ich dich empfangen' Christmas Oratorio
CD had been released by Sony Classical (SK 89924)
Nice selection, isn't it?
A close friend of mine after first listening almost trashed & smashed this recording - seeing it's main weakness in .... singing! Later on - she eased her criticism - admitting that orchestra is simply "charming and remarkable", but Kirschlager is something more than 'boring and monotonous performance'. My first impression was also a kind of: "better look than voice" but I also calmed down ... and first of all - I didn't but this recording for Kirschlager, but for Carmignola and VBO! I simply had to know what did they do with those pieces, how they interpret Bach! From the list above you will quickly realize that most of those arias are for voice and violin solo. Carmignola is great, so moving in both arias from SMP and Mass. Delight. All-Bach recording from VBO & Co.? I very much hope so! I'll try to compare those arias with the ones that are my most favourite - from works of Herreweghe and Suzuki - more comments will follow.
Donald Satz wrote (November 20, 2002):
[To Piotr Jaworski] I've listened a few times to the Kirschlager/Marcon disc and find it very enjoyable. Her voice is a mellow one and quite lovely, although she can be a little underpowered at times. The solo violin work is excellent, but the oboe playing impresses me the most.
Piotr Jaworski wrote (November 20, 2002):
[To Donald Satz] You right - the oleading oboist is equally great to Carmignola. Stefanie Haegele ... never heard about.... who is she? Where did she play before?
On the other hand - while compared to Lesne or Scholl - Kirschalager sometimes - for my ears - seems to be even over-powered... Certainly - with slight reservations about the singing this disc has to be recommended.
Bach: Arias, by Angelika Kirchschlager & Venice Baroque OrchestraJohan van Veen wrote (February 20, 2003):
Sony has released a CD with arias by Bach, sung by the Austrian mezzosoprano Angelika Kirchschlager, with the Venice Baroque Orchestra - a disappointing release.
Full review on:
Boyd Pehrson wrote (February 21, 2003):
[To Johan van Veen] I enjoyed your fine review. Although I haven't heard the CD that is the subject of your review, I can agree with many of your general principles and your perspective. The approach to this CD sounds like the familiar and pragmatic compromise that many performers such as John Eliot Gardiner, and Roger Norrington (mentioned recently), have adopted for the "evolved" listener, that is the modern listener whose tastes are socialized by what they have heard and continue to hear with modern listening styles.
In reading the bio-information on Ms. Kirchschlager, I see she is heavily opera oriented in her repertoire. Thank you for providing in your review that link to her information, it is thoughtful and helpful.
May we add your review webpages to the links in the Bach_Cantatas group site?
One can read other reviews by Johan here:
Johan van Veen wrote (February 21, 2003):
[To Boyd Pehrson] Thanks for your reply. I'm glad my review was of any use. You are rightly referring to Ms Kirchschlager's opera credentials. That made me suspicious from the start, I have to admit. Unfortunately I was right. One wonders why musicians like Marcon and Carmignola want to work with a singer like her. Not that it is that surprising: we already had Il Giardino Armonico with Ms Bartoli - but that was opera. Not that it was much better, though. But the recording proves again that musicians who are wonderful in Italian music not necessarily understand what it takes to perform Bach properly.
I have no objection whatsoever to add my site to the links on the group's webpages. Thank you for the offer.
Andrea Marcon: Short Biography | Venice Baroque Orchestra | Recordings | Bach Arias – conducted by Andrea Marcon with Angelika Kirchschlager | Early Bach Organ Works from Andrea Marcon | Bach's Violin & Harpsichord Sonatas from Carmignola & Marcon
Angelika Kirchschlager: Short Biography | Bach Arias – conducted by Andrea Marcon with Angelika Kirchschlager