Our recent classical music CD additions include an interesting selection of vocal albums, including the conclusion of a long, epic survey of Bach cantatas (secular and sacred).
Aimer et Mourir: Danses et Mélodies, Ravel/Duparc. Performed by the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with Magadlena Kožená.
“This second all-French programme [by Robin Ticciati and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin] sees Magdalena Kožená return to perform a selection of songs by Henri Duparc alongside orchestral music by his fellow countryman Maurice Ravel. The popular Suite No. 2 from Ravel’s epoch-making ballet Daphnis et Chloe showcases Ticciati’s flair for highlighting intricacies of detail and colour. In Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales, Ticciati creates a well-paced, yet graceful, Impressionist swirl with clearly defined textures and shimmering orchestral colors. Duparc’s melodies sound particularly opulent in their orchestral scoring; the warm tones of Kožená’s ravishing voice provide a perfect match” (amazon.com).
Bach. Performed by Benjamin Appl and Concerto Köln.
Gramophone magazine’s “Young Artist of the Year” for 2016 returns with a new compilation of excerpts of cantatas and Passion settings. “[This] new album presents wonderful music by Johann Sebastian Bach from famous as well as less known cantatas but also from the St. Matthew Passion. It was recorded with the renowned Ensemble Concerto Köln, one of the leading ensembles for historically-informed performance practice” (amazon.com).
Secular Cantatas Vol. 10 ‘Cantatas of Contentment’, J. S. Bach. Performed by Bach Collegium Japan, conducted by Masaaki Suzuki.
The final volume in the secular cantata series. “When we finished the Bach Sacred Cantatas there was an emptiness with us all participants, which was – partly – alleviated by the fact that there were several records of secular Cantatas still to be recorded. And now we are at the bitter end of those as well, and there are no more Bach Cantatas to be recorded. After 23 years of a steady diet of Bach Cantatas, to be without them is brutal and cruel. All the better, then, that we have finished on a high point. Carolyn Sampson’s singing in the solo cantata BWV 204 beggars belief – it is as close to Heaven one can hope to come on this Earth. Big words, and yet too small for what she does. This is the crowning glory of a series that has transformed my life and given me so much more fulfillment that I could possibly have hoped for. Thank you, Masaaki and your faithful BCJ, for creating a musical treasure possible to be treasured by a grateful mankind” (Robert von Bahr, at amazon.com).