This 1990 recording by the American Bach Soloists, along with others in the series now being reissued by the group itself, marked something of a milestone for historical Bach performances in the U.S., and it still holds up well in terms of its main attraction: the presence of four top-notch soloists, singing in a style appropriate to Bach's idiom. The program consists of four cantatas, essentially solo works, one for each voice part. The four singers differ quite a bit in their basic sound, but an overall similarity of approach is put in place by director Jeffrey Thomas, who also sings the tenor part in the Cantata No. 55, "Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht"; the instrumental parts are kept light and feathery -- the ensemble control is really superb -- and the voice is put front and center. This especially favors the warm sounds of Thomas and of baritone William Sharp, but the finale featuring the more brilliant voice of soprano Julianne Baird is also very effective. An annoying feature of the 2007 reissue of the album is that the listener is required to download the booklet notes; an even more annoying feature is that the downloaded notes refer the reader to an unspecified place elsehwere on the website for performer bios, and they're nowhere to be found. Nonetheless, this remains a recording that singers aspiring to perform Bach should get to know.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54|
|Ich habe genug, BWV 82|
|Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht, BWV 55|
|Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51|