The young British group Amici Voices has eight singers. They were formed to sing Bach and have specialized in his music. Two per part is the black belt of ensemble singing, for the two singers must strike a balance between singing identically and adding texture by diverging. That challenge is surmounted elegantly here with a plain, historical-performance-influenced sound that feathers out into vibrato only at the ends of long notes. Even more impressive is the emotional insight of these young singers into the intensely devotional tone of Bach's more serious cantatas, the ones half in love with easeful death. The well-known funeral Cantata No. 106 ("Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit"), BWV 106, is sober and calm, but with a hint of the spiritual excitement that is lost in readings by large choirs and that is really the key to performing this type of Bach work. Even better is the motet Komm, Jesu, komm, BWV 229 (sample the opening chorus), which catches the supplicating quality of the text, the feel of its being one end of a dialogue, as very few performances do. The mood lightens slightly with the more festive Cantata No. 182 ("Himmelskönig, sei willkommen") BWV 182, but in all this album creates a remarkable mood of intimacy, combined with technical precision of the highest order from the singers and the small historical-instrument group that accompanies them. The sound, from St Michael's Church, Highgate, London, is nonpareil. Highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (Actus tragicus) BWV106|
|Komm, Jesu, komm BWV229|
|Himmelskönig, sei willkommen BWV182|