Ian Bostridge and Europa Galante Record Works by J. S. Bach
This recording is an interesting recital of Bach; it seems the singer (a tenor) and the ensemble Europa Galante decided to collaborate on some favorite pieces, including the odd instrumental.
- BWV 212 Sinfonia
- BWV 18 Sinfonia
- BWV 4 Sinfonia
The collection of course is Bach’s Cantata oeuvre, all BWVs represented are below #249.
For Bostridge, he starts with an unlikely choice for a male singer, Cantata 82, Ich habe genug.
For EG and Fabio Biondi – they either record well or record in a too-reverbrant space without enough detail. This one is done well… with effective flute playing in the opening of BWV 82.
The voice is warm and sympathetic. While vibrato is present, Bostridge doesn’t over-do it, at some point at which we shake our heads. The cleanness to his voice and the close recording make for a very likable result.
The recording of Christ lad in Todesbanden is very well done, with a most affective Biondi on violin. It’s too bad we don’t get more of this masterwork.
BWV 55 is fully presented; this work like #82 also features flute in the ensemble, this time tied to oboe. Both wind players do an excellent job, against a very confident Bostridge. The aria from this cantata, Erbarme dich! features a violin solo, and that’s all good. Biondi has a real connection to Bach, I’ve felt, and his playing has real character to it.
My favorite three tracks are the last 3, with the first being BWV 7′s aria, Des Vaters Srimme liess sich hören…. The solo violins at the start are dancing, then Bostridge follows with ample ability. He’s dancing too, light, but not overly so – he never loses the centered quality of his voice that conveys some honest strength. It’s glorious music, that here, really shines as genius under these gifted musicians.
I like BWV 139 too for it’s strong violin writing, which Biondi again hits out of the park.
So, this is a real gem?
I am not a fan of recitatives, especially when the full cantata isn’t even presented. It may give textual context to the following aria, but for a “best of” set of Bach arias appropriate for tenor and even those featuring solo violin, we could have done without the filler. Second, the sinfonias are filler too – not bad music – but this is treated like a typical compilation of favorite arias. My disappointment wouldn’t be as strong if the music wasn’t so well done… I’d either like complete cantatas, or else, best-of arias coupled with the right sinfonias.
But I’m arguing with the programming. The performances are great. Bostridge does a fine job in repertoire that is a little early for his usual.