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Forgive me, i posted a very similar reply in the other Cantata thread without having noticed this newer and more active one.

I started listening to the Cantata's of of J.S. Bach aged thirteen when I began listening to classical music. Several years later I think I've more or less heard all on disc, and have been fortunate to have performed a few (and counting) within recent years. They've become my favourite and most listened to works of music as well as serving me well in times of joy and despair.

As an atheist I find it difficult to find as much consolation in the libretti of many of the cantatas as others do. Though I find Bach's ability to tell stories and paint pictures using both words and music deeply fascinating:

One of the first i came to hear was BWV 63, Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, which is generally a good starting point in the treasure trove of Bach's Cantatas. The first Recitative, O selger Tag! takes the form of an operatic arioso. From the beginning, fitting with the text 'O blissful day', Bach paints a very tranquil picture. Ten bars in on mention of Satan's power, the tempo slows a little and the parts become busier featuring intrusive rising and falling arpeggios in the continuo plunging us into a minor tonality - perhaps these three bars depict the struggle to free from Satan's chains.

I also love how Bach wrote for instrument as he would for voice and in doing so found fitting combinations of instrumentation for his arias. The first aria from Cantata BWV 63, Gott, du hast es wolh gefüget is a gorgeous duet between soprano and bass accompanied by a solo oboe. It is Bach's use of oboe - one of the most prominent of instruments in his cantatas - which led me to taking up the baroque oboe!

John Eliot Gardiner rehearsing Cantata BWV 63

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When it comes to listening to the Cantatas I adore the power of the Monteverdi Choir for the big chorus' but find Gardiner's approach to the arias too mechanical. Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra convey a little more of the jazz in Bach's writing through use of tempo, as well as the inclusion of a lute/theorbo and Koopmans own organ obligatos. (I'm a little more biased to the Amsterdam lot as one of my teachers played with them for these Cantata cycles!)

There are some newer artists deserving attention: the J.S. Bach Stiftung, and as mentioned above, Philippe Pierlot / Ricercar Consort who have made some very pleasing recordings (including BWV 63).
 

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I have read this thread, very interesting. I possess the Rilling, 25 CDs Leusink and 5 CDs Rotzsch. The Rilling I have bought a couple of weeks ago. It was a special offer of Amazon Germany, only 35 Euros for the whole big box, really next to nothing, so I couldn't resist. I must say that I like the Rilling, he has good singers and good orchestral forces. So in the moment I am listening to the whole box. And I must say that I am very impressed by all the good ideas Bach has to offer. There are of course favourite cantatas and of course there are special pieces in the cantatas which are especially fine, but I must say that of the 6 CDs I have started with, I have listened to nearly every CD with joy.
 

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I'm into his cantatas at the moment, listening just on random without following any particular order, maybe I will llisten to them in order they where composed , but later...
 

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The Bach cantatas are my second favorite collection of works of a single genre (after Wagner operas). The only recording of them I have is the one made by Karl Richter and the Münchener Bach-Orchester. Does anybody else have it? I am not sure I even need any other ones so far, because this one is so good, especially since the bass parts are sung by my favorite Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. I listen to a few of the cantatas every once in a while. As for my favorites - I keep discovering ones that I really like after repeated listening. The last one is BWV158 "Der Friede sei mit dir". Dietrich singing "Der Friede sei mit dir, mit dir..." sounds so very, well, peaceful.
 

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a little bit of a personal story about me and cantatas.
First I got acquainted with them when I was at the age of 13-14, we had a family friend an old gentleman who listened to classical music every single day and JS Bach was his favorite composer and he liked his cantatas a lot. It was my first exposure to cantatas , to say the truth I wasn't fascinated with them - no wonder at such age Beethoven is what youth needs :) even though I liked Bach's Klavier music and even his Mass, but cantatas....I thought it was for older people and definitely not for my taste, but now rediscovering them again and I do love them :)

it seems that some pieces of CM aren't for kids or it takes time and right time to appreciate them
 

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The Bach cantatas are my second favorite collection of works of a single genre (after Wagner operas). The only recording of them I have is the one made by Karl Richter and the Münchener Bach-Orchester. Does anybody else have it? I am not sure I even need any other ones so far, because this one is so good, especially since the bass parts are sung by my favorite Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. I listen to a few of the cantatas every once in a while. As for my favorites - I keep discovering ones that I really like after repeated listening. The last one is BWV158 "Der Friede sei mit dir". Dietrich singing "Der Friede sei mit dir, mit dir..." sounds so very, well, peaceful.
I have a few of the Richter Bach Cantata recordings plus the B minor Mass. They are terrific performances even though the HIP crowd would consider them a bit old fashioned at this time.

Their performance with Maria Stader of BWV 51, "Jauchzet Gott in allen landen" is the best I've ever heard. Magnificent!
 
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I like to ask you to listen to the two videos.

I favor the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt and I like to illustate this with the cantate "Gott is unsere Zuversicht".
Suzuki is good but I miss something wich is present in the cantate directed by Gustav Leonhardt.
I hope you will give it your attention and response.



I hope that there wil be some forum members who are willing to listen and give there views.
It can't be serious that the Bach cantatas draw so little attention.
Maybe I am on the wrong forum? :(
 

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I tell you that from the first minute there is such an obvious difference in tempos! in this music tempo is crucially important.
So, for me easy choice I go with Leonhardt. No need to hurry your horses Mr Suzuki!

as for the rest , more detailed view I have to listen to both interpretations completely.
 
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I tell you that from the first minute there is such an obvious difference in tempos! in this music tempo is crucially important.
So, for me easy choice I go with Leonhardt. No need to hurry your horses Mr Suzuki!

as for the rest , more detailed view I have to listen to both interpretations completely.
I hope you do and I do look forward to your review.Please listen to the whole cantata and not just fragments.:tiphat:

It is very rewarding,I can asure you.:angel:
 

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I hope you do and I do look forward to your review.Please listen to the whole cantata and not just fragments.:tiphat:

It is very rewarding,I can asure you.:angel:
no worries! :) I'm experienced in that . I will. btw I never listen to fragments.....are there people who do so???? then I am very surprised.
 

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well, I've finished listening to two of them and to have more understanding of the difference between Leonhardt and Suzuki I've decided to listen to other cantatas available in both above mentioned interpretations.

But at first sight for me Suzuki sounds more romantic, he tries to make it more "flowing" I mean the sound while the concept of cantatas isn't to be flowing, but clear in every sound ... that's what Leonhardt's interpretation has , it's deutlich and it's not about pronunciation, it's about how orchestra plays and it's never playful, while in Suzuki's version we can hear this playfulness in "dialogues" , when there is a dialogue between this and that instrument ...

I'm for joy, but joy shouldn't be replaced by playfulness of interpreters.

let's see how it looks in other cantatas with Suzuki. I've heard some praising reviews about Suzuki's set, but now I wonder why there is such a praise.
 
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I know exactly what you mean by "flowing",the Leonhardt is more incisive and rhythmically more convincing.Suzuki is more exterior and smoothly.I hope nobody feels offended.
The Harnoncourt/Leonhardt is much older and you can hear the difficulties specially the trumpets wich sometimes sound ugly in the first recordings.
The same goes for the boys sopranos,I wonder if it wil done again because voices are changing at a younger age.
I listened to all the sacred cantatas and it was certainly not a waste of time.
 

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I have just listened to the two interpretations as well and pretty much agree with Helenora's assessment.

And no, listening to all the cantatas is most certainly not a waste of time. In fact, the more I listen to them, the more rewarding and beautiful the experience becomes.
 
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I have just listened to the two interpretations as well and pretty much agree with Helenora's assessment.

And no, listening to all the cantatas is most certainly not a waste of time. In fact, the more I listen to them, the more rewarding and beautiful the experience becomes.
You are so right,many hours filled with exquisite music lies ahead.:tiphat:
 

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I know exactly what you mean by "flowing",the Leonhardt is more incisive and rhythmically more convincing.Suzuki is more exterior and smoothly.I hope nobody feels offended.
The Harnoncourt/Leonhardt is much older and you can hear the difficulties specially the trumpets wich sometimes sound ugly in the first recordings.
The same goes for the boys sopranos,I wonder if it wil done again because voices are changing at a younger age.
I listened to all the sacred cantatas and it was certainly not a waste of time.
I agree that older recordings sound imperfect in some ways especially boys sopranos, but Suzuki's fast interpretations ruin even positive aspects of his orchestra sound. That's a pity.
 

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I find the Leonhardt more detailed, inherently dramatic and subtle. Both versions use a boy soprano, but the one for Leonhardt sounds like a little kid not ready for prime-time; since the soprano aria is not one of favorites, it's not a deal-breaker.
Overall, a strong advantage for Leonhardt.
 

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I recommended Gustav Leonhardt and Nikolaus Harnoncourts versions, because generally I feel highly satisfied with the overall presentation: instrumentation, recording accoustics, orchestration, very good bass voices or countertenors, also strangely I feel good with the boy soprano. However, I would still look for other versions with the true sopranos, because only by listening to true soprano version Bachs cantatas can be heard in their true harmonic characters. It is true that somehow, I can not dismiss the versions by Gustav and Nikolaus, their versions are still highly enjoyable and high quality. I am not sure if the boy soprano is more suitable but maybe there are other reasons I currently can not figure out yet. In fact boy soprano is being more frequently used in early music performances now, I have 2 recordings from Rondeau label of Andreas Hammerschmidts(1611-1674) and Hans Hasslers(1564-1612) choral works, both use boy sopranos, I do not think the boy sopranos really stand out from true sopranos in those two discs.

As for Bachs cantatas, I also recommend recordings directed by Philippe Herreweghe, they are excellent too!but I have not heard from versions by Ton Koopman and Masaki Suzuki yet. They shall be excellent too, since they are so universally acclaimed as Gustav Leonhardt and Nikolaus Harnoncourt as conductors.
 
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It is a pity that the contribution with boy sopranos is no longer possible.Voices are breaking too early and there is too little time.Also commercially is it a risk.I am willing to accept the imperfections of a young boy soprano,there are certainly very beautiful arias and if it is good it is beyond belief.The timbre of a young boy is something special and not replaceable by a soprano.
 

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It is a pity that the contribution with boy sopranos is no longer possible.Voices are breaking too early and there is too little time.Also commercially is it a risk.I am willing to accept the imperfections of a young boy soprano,there are certainly very beautiful arias and if it is good it is beyond belief.The timbre of a young boy is something special and not replaceable by a soprano.
It is true the Teldec version has brilliant boy sopranos and boys tenor voice suit many Bachs arias very well, giving a really ethereal and warm quality and clarity of the text.
 
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