SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

Beloved Beautiful = BOHM: My beloved is mine; JOHANN CHRISTOPH BACH: My beloved, thou art fair; SCHUTZ: Arise, my beloved; BACH: Wedding Cantata – The Netherlands Bach Society/ Jos van Veldhoven, conductor – Channel Classics

Another fine concept program from Jos van Veldhoven and company.

Published on January 24, 2009

Beloved Beautiful = BOHM: My beloved is mine; JOHANN CHRISTOPH BACH: My beloved, thou art fair; SCHUTZ: Arise, my beloved; BACH: Wedding Cantata – The Netherlands Bach Society/ Jos van Veldhoven, conductor – Channel Classics

Beloved Beautiful = BOHM: My beloved is mine; JOHANN CHRISTOPH BACH: My beloved, thou art fair; SCHUTZ: Arise, my beloved; BACH: Wedding Cantata – The Netherlands Bach Society/ Jos van Veldhoven, conductor – Channel Classics multichannel SACD CCS SA 27308, 61:53 **** [Distr. by Harmonia mundi]:

This album uses the biblical book “Song of Songs” as its basis; four composers setting parts of the biblical ode with specific variants according to usage. Georg Bohm (1661-1733) most likely was a student of Pachelbel and an appointed organist in the city of Luneberg where JS Bach was to show up two years later. We do know that CPE Bach referred to Bohm as his father’s “teacher”, and several manuscripts indicate some organ music of Bach was written in the house of Bohm. Only a few of Bohm’s cantatas have survived, this impressive effort being one of them.

Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1702) was an early Bach from Arnstadt, born of Heinrich Bach, organist of that city. JS considered his great uncle a profound composer, and we hear reasons for this belief in what is considered his masterpiece, the wedding cantata given here. It has a four-part chorus, four soloists, and is an emotional and exciting piece that features a central aria for soprano composed as a ciacona with 66 variations!  

The earliest work is that of Heinrich Schutz (1585-1672) for two choirs and continuo, in two parts. This motet, from around 1650, is of unknown provenance and has not yet been published, but shows all of the typically stylistic attributes that make Schutz so unique and important among early baroque composers.

Finally, the Wedding Cantata by Bach—little needs to be said about its popularity or importance. It was composed around the beginning of the composer’s Weimar period, and although we do not know the circumstances of its setting, it is obviously intended for a modest celebration, a combination of Italian elements with more formalized settings of the biblical text.

The Netherlands Bach Society proves their mettle time and time again and so once more here. Though I am usually rigorously opposed to such small ensembles, like the use of a string quartet here, the soundness of the performance and particulars of the playing win me over. I might still turn to someone like Richter for the Wedding Cantata, but this disc is so well thought out that finding problems with it seems self-contradictory. And besides, the terrific SACD sound covers a lot of sins—and I am sure JS Bach would understand that.

– Steven Ritter




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