This is the 28th and final album in British conductor John Eliot Gardiner's cycle of Bach's cantatas with his Monteverdi Choir, and it comes with a two-page list of financial backers akin to the subscribers who might have financed secular music in an earlier day. The music was recorded, live with later tweaking, at St. Giles Cripplegate church, London, after the choir had completed its tour of continental churches, performing appropriate cantatas for the day or week of the concert (this one was not performed during Ascension Week, but it's hard to detect any loss of the immediacy of music-making that has been the series' trademark). The series doesn't exactly end with a bang, for the so-called Himmelfahrtsoratorium, Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen, BWV 11, is added to three cantatas; this recitative-heavy little oratorio, included because of its liturgical link to the cantatas (all the music was intended for the Feast of the Ascension), is rarely performed. But Gardiner and company show no evidence of flagging energy; the choruses of the cantatas depicting Christ's ascent into heaven are exuberant; Gardiner's warm humanistic tone is in evidence throughout; and the booklet comes with a fine installment of Gardiner's strikingly detailed engagement with the texts of the cantatas and Bach's response to them. A nice feature of this installment is that the soloists in a sense come full circle; bass Dietrich Henschel was featured in some of the earliest concerts in the project, while the other three soloists are new. It is safe to say that they will be feeling the influence of Gardiner's achievement throughout their careers.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen, BWV 43|
|Wer da gläubet und getauft wird, BWV 37|
|Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein, BWV 128|
|Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen, BWV 11|