Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

Conductors of Vocal Works: 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 | Singers & Instrumentalists

Masaaki Suzuki & Bach Collegium Japan
Cantatas Vol. 20
Cantatas BWV 184, BWV 173, BWV 59, BWV 44

C-20

J.S. Bach: Cantatas Vol. 20 - Cantatas from Leipzig 1724 - BWV 44, 59, 173, 184

 
 

Cantatas BWV 44 [16:52], BWV 59 [10:06], BWV 173 [13:10], BWV 184 [20:26]

Masaaki Suzuki

Bach Collegium Japan

Soprano: Yukari Nonoshita; Mezzo-soprano: Mutsumi Hatano; Tenor: Gerd Türk; Bass: Peter Kooy

BIS 1271

Sep 21-24, 2001

CD / TT: 61:50

Recorded at the Kobe Shoin Women's University Chapel, Japan.
See: Cantatas Vol. 20 - conducted by Masaaki Suzuki
Buy this album at:
CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de
Music Download: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | ClassicsOnline

BCJ - vol. 20th from BIS

Piotr Jawrski wrote (November 21, 2002):
Here is something that will solve all dillemas ... BIS has just announced release of their 20th volume from Bach Cantatas Series - with works:
BWV 184, 173, 59 and 44.
Soloists - Yukari Nanoshita - soprano, Mutsumi Hatano - alto, Gerd Türk - tenor and Peter Koij - bass.

Top place on the X-mass-Wish-List already booked then ...

Stephen N. Kay wrote (November 29, 2002):
Information from the BIS website

Bach - Cantatas Vol. 20

BIS-CD-1271 Total playing time: 61'50

J.S. Bach:
Cantata No.184, 'Erwünschtes Freudenlicht', BWV 184;
Cantata No.173, 'Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut', BWV 173;
Cantata No.59, 'Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten' (I), BWV 59;
Cantata No.44, 'Sie werden euch in den Bann tun', BWV 44

Bach Collegium Japan directed by Masaaki Suzuki; Yukari Nonoshita, soprano; Mutsumi Hatano, alto; Gerd Türk, tenor; Peter Kooij, bass

This is the twentieth volume of the Church Cantatas that Masaaki Suzuki has recorded with his Bach Collegium Japan. Thus it represents something of a landmark in our progress towards the goal of a complete series. However, this has not inspired us to depart from our rigorous progress through the cantatas in chronological order - as far as this can be determined. Only the most avid collectors will probably recognize any of the four cantatas included on this disc. Yet the disc can well stand as a landmark. For these little known cantatas all bear witness to the extraordinary quality which Bach maintained, Sunday after Sunday and year after year, even for the less important days of the liturgical year. (In the present instance we know that Bach was much involved in the vast musical demands of the Feast of Pentecost and, in three of the four cantatas recorded here, reworked the music from previously performed cantatas though with new words.) Bach may have economized by recycling some melodic ideas but, knowing this, one merely marvels all the more at his genius. If the real point of a complete cycle is to introduce listeners to riches that they may not be aware of this 20th installment is a splendid representative, proving again that each volume of cantatas is indispensable. The ensemble's enthusiasm for the task which is such a feature of this series is highly evident in the present disc. Like its predecessors it is self-recommending!

 

Suzuki Vol. 20

Thomas Shepherd wrote (January 12, 2003):
Suzuki vol. 20, BWV 184, 173, 59 and 44

My family bought vols. 19 and 20 of the Suzuki Cantata Cycle for Christmas presents recently. Vol. 19 arrived before 25 Dec. Vol. 20 arrived on Saturday this weekend. It has been played several times already. It's like the others in the Series, quite wonderful with truly exquisite playing and singing. There is an informed feeling for the blend of words and music. The HIP ­ nonHIP debate will no doubt continue for years to come, but for one I¹m pleased to be away from both large scale orchestral forces with operatic singing and also the insecurity of period instruments with uncertain singing (especially boy trebles). Suzuki to my mind marries the two extremes of performance quite perfectly for our age and makes repeated listening a real joy rather than merely tolerable or even an endurance test.

Tom Braatz suggests in his recent email on the logic of BWV groupings (11 Jan. 2003) that in the past he tried to listen to Cantatas by the Sunday for which they were composed. I¹m sure he is not the only one to have found many rewards from this delightful discipline. Indeed last November and December (late Trinity and early Advent) last year, my thinking on many of the issues of our times was being informed by the sombre texts and music of those cantatas composed for that time of year. And when we get to the late Easter and early Trinity Sundays this year (late May early June), the cantatas on vol. 20 will be marvellous to revisit as an aid to my thinking on the readings for that time of the church¹s year.

Two of the cantatas BWV 184, BWV 173 are to be discussed for the first time later this year, but meanwhile there are some absolutely glorious individual movements on this CD (for example the duet Gesegnete Christen, glükselige Herde from BWV 184).

BIS has improved it’s website recently and I am in total agreement with their own blurb about this new release, (http://www.bis.se/frlatest.htm) “Like its predecessors it is self-recommending!”

Kindest regards, and a very happy new year!

Kirk McElhearn wrote (January 12, 2003):
Thomas Shepherd wrote:
< BIS has improved it’s website recently and I am in total agreement with their own blurb about this new release,
(http://www.bis.se/frlatest.htm) “Like its predecessors it is self-recommending!” >
Yes but... I have only listened to it once, but am disappointed that Robin Blaze has been replaced by a female alto...

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 13, 2003):
Kirk McElhearn stated:
< Yes but... I have only listened to it once, but am disappointed that Robin Blaze has been replaced by a female alto... >
Au contraire!

Much depends upon the quality of the female alto voice which could be worse than what she replaces, but a change was definitely needed! Admittedly, it is difficult to find someone of the caliber of Andreas Scholl. For many reasons, some of which I am unable to describe, I have been unable to connect with Blaze singing Bach arias. Mera and Blaze are both half-voices with serious problems in the low range where the volume and warmth of a good female alto (full-voiced) are really needed. Both Mera and Blaze sang in a language that was foreign to them; Mera, remarkably, despite his small voice, was able to sing the German religious text much more convincingly (and more beautifully) than Blaze who somehow gave the impression that he was not at home in expressing either the German language honestly and directly, his voice being better suited to singing Baroque operas (Händel, etc.); nor did he sound comfortable with the text and the religious thoughts that needed to be appropriately!
expressed.

Granted, it is not easy to shift to a foreign language, but it is even more difficult to sing Bach arias with a sense of what is appropriate for a sacmusic setting. In this, even native German singers have also failed. Two names, Edith Mathis and Helen Donath, that come to mind are full-voiced sopranos 'of the old school' with voices that were extremely well-trained (at one point earlier in their careers) who later began losing vocal control, but more importantly were unable to shift from opera/operetta singing to a truly sacred style which Bach's sacred music demands.

This brings up the question of 'cross-over' artists which have become all the rage in recent years. Few are truly able to make the transition. The sopranos mentioned above were not really able to make this transition from one classical style of music to another. As an example, I like to think of Benny Goodman's recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto. To my ears, his rendition has 'jazz' written all over it. In the same way I do not want to hear Blaze or others like him performing Bach arias with the nuances brought over from another style of vocal production. Perhaps it is all a question of where the artist begins and to which type of music he/she devotes primary energy. What do other list members think about this matter?

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (January 13, 2003):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< What do other list members think about this matter? >
I think you make very valid points:

Primarily, I definitely agree with your statement involving the religious/faith aspect to it-the fifth evangelist needs special treatment

as mainly a Händelian, though, I think that, even at that level, the transition between a Händel opera and a Bach cantata is not as great as the transition between Baroque-Classical and other eras (classical referring to the era, not the general style that most people think of it as), especially with HIP. I can think of only one singer who really does this transition well: von Otter. In an HIP world filled with countertenors, this mezzo still holds strong, while she can still belt out Die Fledermaus (I have the "Look how great they sound" DVD). I think that's a bigger achievement, because even as a listener, the transition between baroque and romantic can sometimes be difficult.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (January 13, 2003):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Much depends upon the quality of the female alto voice which could be worse than what she replaces, but a change was definitely needed! Admittedly, it is difficult to find someone of the caliber of Andreas Scholl. For many reasons, some of which I am unable to describe, I have been unable to connect with Blaze singing Bach arias. Mera and Blaze are both half-voices with serious problems in the low range where the volume and warmth of a good female alto (full-voiced) are really needed. Both Mera and Blaze sang in a language that was foreign to them; Mera, remarkably, despite his small voice, was able to sing the German religious text much more convincingly (and more beautifully) than Blaze who somehow gave the impression that he was not at home in expressing either the German language honestly and directly, his voice being better suited to singing Baroque operas (Händel, etc.); nor did he sound comfortable with the text and the religious thoughts that needed to be appropriately expres sed. >
You may be more sensitive to his diction, but I like Blaze's voice very much. I find it ethereal and almost angelic at times. Nothing against the new female alto (she's Japanese), but I'll miss Blaze, if he is to be permanently replaced.

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 14, 2003):
Kirk McElhearn stated:
< Yes but... I have only listened to it once, but am disappointed that Robin Blaze has been replaced by a female alto... >>
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Au contraire!
Much depends upon the quality of the female alto voice which could be worse than what she replaces, but a change was definitely needed! Admittedly, it is difficult to find someone of the caliber of Andreas Scholl. For many reasons, some of which I am unable to describe, I have been unable to connect with Blaze singing Bach arias. Mera and Blaze are both half-voices with serious problems in the low range where the volume and warmth of a good female alto (full-voiced) are really needed. Both Mera and Blaze sang in a language that was foreign to them; Mera, remarkably, despite his small voice, was able to sing the German religious text much more convincingly (and more beautifully) than Blaze who somehow gave the impression that he was not at home in expressing either the German language honestly and directly, his voice being better suited to singing Baroque operas (Händel, etc.); nor did he sound comfortable with the text and the religious thoughts that needed to be appropriately expressed. >
Robin Blaze is not my favourite counter-tenor. He has problems to bring out drama
and aria that are demanding in expressive terms are a little bit heavy for his shoulders. However, he has his moments. The feminine quality of his voice and his tender expression suit very well some arias. The charming rendition of the duet for soprano and alto from Cantata BWV 186 where he sings with Miah Persson is only one example.

< Granted, it is not easy to shift to a foreign language, but it is even more difficult to sing Bach arias with a sense of what is appropriate for a sacred music setting. In this, even native German singers have also failed. Two names, Edith Mathis and Helen Donath, that come to mind are full-voiced sopranos 'of the old school' with voices that were extremely well-trained (at one point earlier in their careers) who later began losing vocal control, but more importantly were unable to shift from opera/operetta singing to a truly sacred style which Bach's sacred music demands. >
Mathis is Swiss and Donath is American. The major part of the career of both women has been spent in Germany. But they are so different from each other! IMO, Mathis has rarely had a satisfying rendition of a Bach's aria , not to speak of recitatives. Indeed, she had the technique, but regarding expression, she usually leaves me unmoved. On the other hand, I find Donath as one of the gems of the earlier recordings of Rilling's cantata cycle. A list of the cantatas she recorded with him can be found at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Donath-Helen.htm
Some of my impressions of her interpretations can be found in the relevant discussion pages. She was not free of failures. The recording of Cantata BWV 51 with Marriner caught her in a really bad day.

< This brings up the question of 'cross-over' artists which have become all the rage in recent years. Few are truly able to make the transition. The sopranos mentioned above were not really able to make this transition from one classical style of music to another. As an example, I like to think of Benny Goodman's recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto. To my ears, his rendition has 'jazz' written all over it. [snip] >
This is strange. Because I have always felt that Goodman' playing of Mozart Clarinet Concerto and Clarinet quintet is lacking in depth. As if was too careful to show-off his jazz roots. Did he want to prove that he was capable of playing Classical music right? Yes, he deed, but I find that other renditions have more verve and spirit in these works. Which brings to my mind an anecdote.relating to the legendary terrific multi-reed (alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet, and more) Jazz musician Eric Dolphy. During his too short career he had affiliation with the group of musicians involved with the Third Stream (an attempt aiming at combining or fusing Classical and Jazz Music). This movement had its focus in the aggregations led by Gunther Schuller and John Lewis (of the MJQ). On one of Dolphy's rare solos with them, Schuller asked him to play closer to the melody. Can you get it? A musician who could invent melodies never before conceived. Instead of using him, Schuller proffered Jerome Richardson, who was told to use his 'classical sound'. Mike Zwerin writes in his book: "Dolphy loved to play the classics. He became totally immersed in his flute part on Mozart work prepared for several weeks, practicing it during breaks. He played Mozart's appoggiaturas inside out, but then for a long time many experts thought that Glenn Gould played Mozart wrong too... After Eric rehearsed the part for weeks, a classical flautist was brought in to play the concert". What a pity! I would prefer hearing a recorded example of Dolphy playing the classics, especially Mozart, to many respected names in the classical world.

Neil Halliday wrote (January 26, 2001):
[To Thomas Braatz] Regarding Robin Blaze,

I heard him singing in a large scale choral work (not an opera) by Händel some time ago, and was very impressed by the accuracy of intonation of his voice, as well as being pleased by the relative lack of vibrato he used.

I would have thought he would be capable of fine singing in the Bach cantatas; but I suppose there are no guarantees - we have already seen how the same singer can be 'good' and 'bad' in different movements of the same cantata (eg, Equiluz in a recently discused cantata). I have not heard the Suzuki vol.20.

The (impossible?) search for the ideal voice continues....

 

Masaaki Suzuki: Short Biography | Bach Collegoim Japan
Recordings of Vocal Works:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Recordings of Instrumental Works
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
Cantatas:
Suzuki - Vol. 2 | Suzuki - Vol. 5 | Suzuki - Vol. 8 | Suzuki - Vol. 9 | Suzuki - Vol. 10 | Suzuki - Vol. 11 | Suzuki - Vol. 12 | Suzuki - Vol. 13 | Suzuki - Vol. 14 | Suzuki - Vol. 15 | Suzuki - Vol. 16 | Suzuki - Vol. 17 | Suzuki - Vol. 18 | Suzuki - Vol. 19 | Suzuki - Vol. 20 | Suzuki - Vol. 21 | Suzuki - Vol. 22 | Suzuki - Vol. 23 | Suzuki - Vol. 24 | Suzuki - Vol. 25 | Suzuki - Vol. 26 | Suzuki - Vol.. 27 | Suzuki - Vol. 28 | Suzuki - Vol. 29 | Suzuki - Vol. 30 | Suzuki - Vol. 31 | Suzuki - Vol. 38 | Suzuki Secular - Vol. 1
Other Vocal Works:
BWV 232 - M. Suzuki | BWV 243 - M. Suzuki | BWV 244 - M. Suzuki | BWV 245 - M. Suzuki | BWV 248 - M. Suzuki
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Bach’s Clavier-Ubung III from Masaaki Suzuki | Bach Harpsichord Discs from Hill and Suzuki | Bach’s French Suites from Suzuki | Review: Partitas by Suzuki [McElhearn] | Suzuki’s Partitas [Henderson] | Suzuki’s Goldberg Variations
Discussions of Instrumental Recordings:
Partitas BWV 825-830 - played by M. Suzuki
Table of recordings by BWV Number

Conductors of Vocal Works: 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 | Singers & Instrumentalists

Introduction | Cantatas | Other Vocal | Instrumental | Performers | General Topics | Articles | Books | Movies | New
Biographies | Texts & Translations | Scores | References | Commentaries | Music | Concerts | Festivals | Tour | Art & Memorabilia
Chorale Texts | Chorale Melodies | Lutheran Church Year | Readings | Poets & Composers | Arrangements & Transcriptions
Search Website | Search Works/Movements | Terms & Abbreviations | Copyright | How to contribute | Sitemap | Links



 

Back to the Top


Last update: ýOctober 26, 2008 ý11:04:46