Damien Guillon / Le Banquet Céleste

Bach: Cantates BWV 170 & 35

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It would be hard to conceive of more annoying graphic design that proffered on this release from the Zig Zag Territoires label, identified with a big "ZZT" (no, that's not an electric shock warning). There, however, the list of complaints pretty much ends. This little program of solo cantatas and organ works by countertenor Damien Guillon and his historical instrument group Le Banquet Céleste was beautifully recorded in a small Strasbourg church and it's an intimate gem. Front and center is Guillon's singing, which is sweet, nicely rounded in the high tones, and couched in an attitude of relaxed calm. Organist Maude Gratton offers a trio sonata and a sparkling rendition of the Fantasy and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542, which ends the program on a unique rousing note. The instrumentalists have a sensuous sound and are so well coordinated with Guillon that they seem like extensions of his singing. With the emphasis in recordings of Bach cantatas having long been on the grand conceptions of the charismatic figures who have undertaken complete Bach cycles, a small, unified, and beautifully executed recording like this one comes as a breath of fresh air, and it represents the French way with Bach at its best.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Vergnügte Ruh', beliebte Seelenlust, cantata, BWV 170
1 6:43 Amazon
2 1:14 Amazon
3 7:31
4 1:06 Amazon
5 5:40
Sonate en Trio No. 3 in ré mineur, BWV 527
6 5:08
7 6:05
8 3:47
Geist und Seele wird verwirret, cantate, BWV 35
9 5:24 Amazon
10 7:48 Amazon
11 1:26 Amazon
12 3:17 Amazon
13 3:22 Amazon
14 1:07 Amazon
15 2:56 Amazon
Fantaisie et Fugue en sol mineur, BWV 542
16 4:48
17 5:34
blue highlight denotes track pick