Thursday, August 9, 2012

Album Review: Bach Cantatas, Vol. 16

Bach: Cantatas, Vol 16 (BWV 194, 119) /Bach Collegium Japan (1999)
Masaaki Suzuki

If you were living in the vicinity of, let us say, Leipzig in 1723 and you wished to celebrate the inauguration of, perhaps, a church organ or, more correctly in this case, an actual church, and then if you were also fortunate enough to have a lot of money, you could go to the Cantor of St. Thomas, one Johann Sebastian Bach, and commission a cantata for public performance. That indeed is the origin of BWV 194, "Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest," apparently reworked from a lost secular original.

Bach was also commissioned to write a cantata annually for the Leipzig council elections, and BWV 119, "Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn," is his first such work, also from 1723. Bach wrote a great many sacred cantatas, and somehow these, like so many others, are of an exceedingly high caliber. Masaaki Suzuki leads the Bach Collegium Japan in a superb performance.

 J. S. Bach:
Was des Höchsten Glanz erfüllt
BWV 194


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