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Sacred Cantatas for Bass

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Audio CD, November 21, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Intimately bound up with the Lutheran tradition, Bach's sacred cantatas are among his greatest, most heart-felt and life-affirming works. Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen , with its repeated use of the metaphor of life as a voyage over troubled waters,

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 21, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0007V71YK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #990,739 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Hanno Müller-Brachmann is a young and talented Swiss-German bass-baritone who has made something of a name for himself recently, although he has come in for some criticism, too, primarily because of a somewhat weak lower register and because his interpretations seem a bit uninvolved. The character of his voice reminds one of that of his erstwhile teacher, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. But his manner with texts is nowhere near as nuanced as that of his teacher. One can hope that he may mature with time in that area. These performances of three bass solo cantatas by Bach have good points, not least the accompaniments by Helmut Müller-Brühl and the Cologne Chamber Orchestra, a modern-instruments group he has conducted for more than thirty years. (Their history is unusual in that they started as an ancient instruments group but changed to modern instruments in the 1980s while maintaining their historically-informed practices.)

It is my idiosyncrasy, I know, but although BWV 82 ('Ich habe genug') was written originally for solo basso and orchestra, I much prefer it as sung in an alternate version for alto, and since I got the CD on which it is sung by Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson that has been my favored version. Müller-Brachmann's way with the cantata's much-cherished aria, 'Schlummert ein', makes it seem almost endless and ultimately boring. Its final aria, 'Ich freue mich auf meinen Tod' goes much better.

In all fairness, Müller-Brachmann also does better with the other two cantatas -- BWV 56, 'Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen' and the rarely heard BWV 158, 'Der Friede sei mit dir.' The CD has a somewhat short playing time of 50:33.

Scott Morrison
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