SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

BACH: Psalm 51 (After Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater); Cantata 82 “Ich habe genug” – Karina Gauvin, soprano/Daniel Taylor, countertenor/Les Violons du Roy/Bernard Labadie – ATMA Multichannel SACD

Spirited readings of two of Bach's spiritual works, in surround

Published on August 12, 2005

BACH: Psalm 51 (After Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater); Cantata 82 “Ich habe genug” – Karina Gauvin, soprano/Daniel Taylor, countertenor/Les Violons du Roy/Bernard Labadie – ATMA Multichannel SACD
BACH: Psalm 51 (After Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater) BWV 1083;
Cantata 82 “Ich habe genug” – Karina Gauvin, soprano/Daniel Taylor,
countertenor/Les Violons du Roy/Bernard Labadie – ATMA Multichannel
SACD 2 2342  57:00****:

Somewhere between 1741-1746 Bach made a transcription (or parody) of
Pergolesi’s popular Stabat Mater, recasting the sorrows of the Virgin
Mary as a meditative motet on the cleansing of original sin and the
final reconciliation of the soul in Zion. Bach freely rearranges
Pergolesi’s numbers to suit his new text, often splicing livelier music
for certain sections of the original; then true to Bach’s own nature,
he adds melodic or contrapuntal lines ad libitum, often utilizing
harmonies in the older, more learned style of the medievalists. 
The emergent amalgam is a curious but captivating twenty-one minutes of
alternately longing and dance-like sequences, with duets of striking
color and emotional affect. The final dance or laud sounds Handelian in
its devotional fervor. The blending of voices, Ms. Gauvin’s flexible
soprano and Mr. Taylor’s flourishing countertenor, make for some aerial
acrobatics of the first order.

The E Minor Cantata of 1731 for alto solo and transverse flute opens
with a sadly tender movement for flute and strings, certainly akin to
the Erbarme mich section of the St. Matthew Passion. A recitative and
arioso segues to the most familiar Schlummert ein section; after having
cut my teeth on the baritone version with the likes of Dietrich
Fischer-Dieskau and Hans Hotter, the soprano rendition seems a wistful
form of melancholy all its own. The jubilant 3/8 Vivace Finale, in
which the persona welcomes comforting Death, must have made an
impression on Mahler, whose own fascination with and longing for death
mirror something of Bach’s figures. Lively spirited readings both, and
the delicacy of instrumental tissue from Les Violns du Roy are a model
of what authentic instruments might accomplish.

–Gary Lemco 




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