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2021 Listening Project - Jan 13

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Contatas 81 & 199
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, mezzo-soprano
The Orchestra of Emmanuel Music
Craig Smith, director

I like both, perhaps 199 better because the dramatic arc seems more clear to me. I find myself surprised that this is Bach, because its much simpler, more spare music than I am used to with him.

The tempo seems very slow, deliberate ... is that always the case for cantatas?

I've Listened to these before, and I enjoy them, but I don't find myself blown away. I like Lieberson's voice; I often find operatic sopranos difficult to appreciate, but this is very nice, especially the lower range of her voice. But I guess she wasn't a true soprano.

These don't make me excited about exploring more of Bach's cantatas, but it seems lots of people on this site really like them, so at some point I should explore more of them.


  1. Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
    This is an absolutely essential disc. Lieberson’s interpretation of the music is simply heart-wrenching and her voice is gorgeous. However, I certainly wouldn’t recommend these two very introspective, and, at times, very dark cantatas to start. Take a look at my previous blog posts for my top 20 cantata list. I say go with BWV 140, 147, 34, and 180 for starters.
  2. daco's Avatar
    Thank you for the tips! I'll look into those.