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Gli Angeli Genève|J.S. Bach: Cantatas for Bass BWV 56-82-158-203

J.S. Bach: Cantatas for Bass BWV 56-82-158-203

Gli Angeli Genève & Stephan MacLeod

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Stephan MacLeod wears both his singer and conductor hats for this programme of showcasing J. S. Bach’s treatment of the oboe and the bass voice, two instruments Bach appears to have known intimately. With the oboe, both the oboe da caccia and the oboe d’amore first appeared in Leipzig while Bach was working there, and the body of music he produced for them covers a notably wide range of technical, sonic and expressive capabilities.

With the bass voice, this appears to have been Bach’s own vocal type, and his treatment of it is interesting because not only did he put it to a wide variety of dramatic uses, portraying characters from thundering preachers to desperate Christians, but it was also one he appears to have spotted a particular area of expressive strength for: it was the tessitura he used for Christ in the Passions, and for the evocation of God in certain cantatas; then zero in on the four surviving solo bass cantatas presented here, and no fewer than three of them – BWV 56, BWV 82 and BWV 158 – are concerned with portraying death as a hope-filled release from the struggles of the earthly body.

To deal with those three cantatas first, the closeness of the relationship here between MacLeod and his period-instrument Gli Angeli Genève is palpable, set off further by his big, rich and rounded vocal tones being a highly complementary foil for the ensemble’s crisply articulated, warm-toned sound; and MacLeod’s delivery of the texts is also all one could hope for, imbued with understanding lightly worn. The oboe element is no less enjoyable, with BWV 56’s aria of closely intertwined bass and oboe lines, ”Endlich, endlich wird mein Joch” , one of the recital’s stand-out moments for the pleasure-filled intimacy between MacLeod and oboist Emmanuel Laporte.

The Cantata BWV 203, “Amore, traditore”, is then an entirely different musical beast. Set to simple harpsichord accompaniment, this one is operatic in tone, and with a secular Italian text relating to an amorous deception. It isn’t even indisputably by Bach, given that it survives only via nineteenth-century copies – although musicologists have suggested 1720 (Bach’s Köthen period) as a credible date. Either way, though, here it serves as a delicious final palette-cleanser, MacLeod and harpsichordist Bertrand Cuiller serving up an elegantly sparkling double-act of spry keyboard passagework and subtly operatic vocal drama, complete with some gloriously pizazz-filled flourishes from Cuiller at the aria’s conclusion; and the generous acoustic of the Landgasthof Riehen Grosser Festsall makes its own fine contribution.

Great stuff.
© Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

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J.S. Bach: Cantatas for Bass BWV 56-82-158-203

Gli Angeli Genève

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1
Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen, BWV 56: I. Aria. "Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen"
Stephan MacLeod
00:07:01

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

2
Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen, BWV 56: II. Recitativo. "Mein Wandel auf der Welt"
Stephan MacLeod
00:01:48

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

3
Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen, BWV 56: III. Aria. "Endlich, endlich wird mein Joch"
Stephan MacLeod
00:06:58

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

4
Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen, BWV 56: IV. Recitativo. "Ich stehe fertig und bereit"
Stephan MacLeod
00:01:36

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

5
Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen, BWV 56: V. Choral. "Komm o Tod, du Schlafes Bruder"
Stephan MacLeod
00:01:57

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

6
Ich habe genug, BWV 82: I. Aria. "Ich habe genug"
Stephan MacLeod
00:06:34

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

7
Ich habe genug, BWV 82: II. Recitativo. "Ich habe genug"
Stephan MacLeod
00:01:08

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

8
Ich habe genug, BWV 82: III. Aria. "Schlummert ein"
Stephan MacLeod
00:09:28

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

9
Ich habe genug, BWV 82: IV. Recitativo. "Mein Gott!"
Stephan MacLeod
00:00:47

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

10
Ich habe genug, BWV 82: V. Aria. "Ich freue mich auf meinen Tod!"
Stephan MacLeod
00:03:44

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

11
Der Friede sei mit dir, BWV 158: I. Recitativo. "Der Friede sei mit dir"
Stephan MacLeod
00:01:33

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

12
Der Friede sei mit dir, BWV 158: II. Aria. "Welt ade, ich bin dein müde"
Stephan MacLeod
00:06:25

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

13
Der Friede sei mit dir, BWV 158: III. Recitativo. "Nun Herr, regiere meinen Sinn"
Stephan MacLeod
00:01:22

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

14
Der Friede sei mit dir, BWV 158: IV. Choral. "Hier ist das rechte Osterlamm"
Stephan MacLeod
00:01:34

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

15
Amore traditore, BWV 203: I. Aria. "Amore traditore"
Stephan MacLeod
00:06:10

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

16
Amore traditore, BWV 203: II. Recitativo. "Voglio provar"
Stephan MacLeod
00:00:41

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

17
Amore traditore, BWV 203: III. Aria. "Chi in amore"
Stephan MacLeod
00:05:37

Gli Angeli Genève, Orchestra - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean-Sébastian Bach, Composer - Stephan MacLeod, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Claves Records (P) 2022 Claves Records

Album Description

Stephan MacLeod wears both his singer and conductor hats for this programme of showcasing J. S. Bach’s treatment of the oboe and the bass voice, two instruments Bach appears to have known intimately. With the oboe, both the oboe da caccia and the oboe d’amore first appeared in Leipzig while Bach was working there, and the body of music he produced for them covers a notably wide range of technical, sonic and expressive capabilities.

With the bass voice, this appears to have been Bach’s own vocal type, and his treatment of it is interesting because not only did he put it to a wide variety of dramatic uses, portraying characters from thundering preachers to desperate Christians, but it was also one he appears to have spotted a particular area of expressive strength for: it was the tessitura he used for Christ in the Passions, and for the evocation of God in certain cantatas; then zero in on the four surviving solo bass cantatas presented here, and no fewer than three of them – BWV 56, BWV 82 and BWV 158 – are concerned with portraying death as a hope-filled release from the struggles of the earthly body.

To deal with those three cantatas first, the closeness of the relationship here between MacLeod and his period-instrument Gli Angeli Genève is palpable, set off further by his big, rich and rounded vocal tones being a highly complementary foil for the ensemble’s crisply articulated, warm-toned sound; and MacLeod’s delivery of the texts is also all one could hope for, imbued with understanding lightly worn. The oboe element is no less enjoyable, with BWV 56’s aria of closely intertwined bass and oboe lines, ”Endlich, endlich wird mein Joch” , one of the recital’s stand-out moments for the pleasure-filled intimacy between MacLeod and oboist Emmanuel Laporte.

The Cantata BWV 203, “Amore, traditore”, is then an entirely different musical beast. Set to simple harpsichord accompaniment, this one is operatic in tone, and with a secular Italian text relating to an amorous deception. It isn’t even indisputably by Bach, given that it survives only via nineteenth-century copies – although musicologists have suggested 1720 (Bach’s Köthen period) as a credible date. Either way, though, here it serves as a delicious final palette-cleanser, MacLeod and harpsichordist Bertrand Cuiller serving up an elegantly sparkling double-act of spry keyboard passagework and subtly operatic vocal drama, complete with some gloriously pizazz-filled flourishes from Cuiller at the aria’s conclusion; and the generous acoustic of the Landgasthof Riehen Grosser Festsall makes its own fine contribution.

Great stuff.
© Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

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