BACH 723


CANTATA BWV 68: Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt. God so loved the world.
First performed May 21st, 1725. Text Mariane von Ziegler.
Ursula Buckel, soprano / Irma Keller, alto
Theo Altmayer, tenor / Jakob Stämpfli, bass
Kassel Vocal Ensemble / German Bach Soloists / Conductor Klaus Martin Ziegler

CANTATA BWV 76: Die Himmel erzählen. The Heavens declare the Glory of God.
First performed June 6th 1723. Revised as a Reformation cantata 1745.
The Sinfonia was later used in the organ Trio Sonata BWV 528.
Nelly van der Speek, soprano / Frauke Haasemann, alto
Johannes Hoefflin, tenor / Wilhelm Pommerien, bass
Westphalian Choir / German Bach Soloists / Conductor Wilhelm Ehrmann

CANTATA BWV 80: Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott – A sure stronghold is our God.
Agnes Giebel. soprano / Wilhelmine Matthes, alto
Richard Lewis, tenor Heinz Rehfuss, bass
Bach Chorus and Orchestra of the Amsterdam Philharmonic Society
André Vandernoot, conductor

1. Cantata BWV 68: Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt. God so loved the world.
    Chorus / Soprano aria / Bass recitative / Bass Aria / Chorus

2. Cantata BWV 76: Die Himmel erzählen. The Heavens declare the Glory of God.
    Part 1: Chorus / Tenor Recitative / Soprano Aria / Bass Recitative / Bass Aria / Chorale

3. Cantata BWV 76 continued
    Part 2: Sinfonia / Bass recitative / Tenor aria / Alto recitative
    Alto aria / Tenor recitative / Chorale

4. Cantata BWV 80: Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott – A sure stronghold is our God.
    Chorus / Aria for soprano choir / Bass aria / Bass recitative & arioso
    Soprano aria / Chorus Tenor recitative / Alto-tenor duet / Chorale

Total time 79:55

Three quite splendid cantatas here. Cantata 68, God so loved the world, opens and closes with a brilliant chorus; the final chorus especially takes the form of a powerful double-fugue on two contrasting themes: He who believes will not be judged, and Who does not believe, is already judged.

Cantata 76 can certainly compete (with several others!) as Bach's most magnificent cantata, both in its length (well over 30 mins), its variety, and the wealth of musical and instrumental invention. Composed in 1723, it was revised and re-presented as a Reformation cantata in 1745.

Cantata 80, originating from Weimar, 1715, was also revised, probably in 1740, as a Reformation cantata, and offers a magnificent tribute to Martin Luther, based as it is on the famous Luther hymn: Ein feste Burg, a Sure Stronghold is our God, which has been referred to, not inappropriately, as the "Battle Hymn of the Reformation". The cantata's two great choruses, coming first and fifth in order of performance, were the Leipzig additions.

Rousing performances, of music to rouse the soul!

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