Volume 24 of this series, despite the Buddhist monk on the front cover, contains Bach’s cantatas for the Third and Fourth Sunday after that Easter, so they cover that territory of Jesus being arisen and leaving his followers on earth. I wasn’t such a huge fan of the second disc (the fourth Sunday), despite having some great work from baritone Steven Varcoe and the usual top stuff from the orchestra and choir (I think the cantatas are starting to blur together a bit) but the 3rd Sundays cantatas, on Disc 1, contain some great stuff.

The highlights for me are the opening chorus of BWV 103, featuring a highly dramatic and angular melody that dives down into the depths, as the chorus sings of its weeping and lamenting. But the one that’s probably worth the price of admission is the opening of BWV 146, which features a highly dramatic concerto opening for organ and orchestra, which was later turned into a famous keyboard concerto of Bach’s. I have heard the version played with piano and orchestra before, but hearing it on the bright and spectacular organ at the Schlosskirke in Altenburg – an organ which Bach himself would have played with – was just an awesome experience. So while this volume didn’t jump out at me as much as some of the others, I still look forward to future volumes.

4 out of 5.

 

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