As Japanese conductor Masaaki Suzuki's magisterial cycle of Bach's complete cantatas nears its end, there have been some obscure works, albeit performed as precisely and elegantly as usual. It may come as a surprise, then, to notice that Suzuki has saved arguably the most famous Bach cantata of all, the Cantata No. 140, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140, almost for last. The cantata is presented along with two other cantatas Bach composed in Leipzig in the 1730s and 1740s, and the album as a whole is as good a place to start with this series as any other. Indeed, the opening chorale of the work serves as an excellent demonstration of the virtues of Suzuki's series, with the intricately interlocking instrumental parts under the fugue carved out with startling delicacy. The chorale theme when it returns is taken quite quickly, while the arias are given space, resulting in a vivid set of contrasts without the application of operatic drama. The soloists themselves are familiar ones from those who have been following the set, and they haven't flagged with time; soprano Hana Blaziková's voice has a silvery edge that seems tailor-made for Suzuki's style. The other two cantatas, the tuneful Cantata No. 129, Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt, BWV 129, and the sizable Cantata No. 29, Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir, are not as famous as the Cantata No. 140, but each yields many delights here. As throughout the series, Suzuki's end product reflects hard work of the best kind.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140|
|Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt, BWV 112|
|Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir, BWV 29|