This disc coupling two of Bach's secular cantatas has many, many things going for it and only one thing going against it. First, it has fascinating -- and rarely performed or recorded -- repertoire. Angenehmes Wiederau, BWV 30a (Charming Wiederau), is a rewritten version of the sacred cantata Freue dich, erloste Schar, BWV 30 (Rejoice, redeemed souls), while Vereingte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten, BWV 207 (United discord of strings), is an earlier version of the secular cantata Auf, schmetternde Tone der muntern Trompeten, BWV 207a (Blare forth, proud trumpets). Second, both works are magnificently scored: Angenehmes Wiederau for bass, alto, soprano and tenor soloists, chorus, pairs of flutes and oboes, three trumpets plus tympani, strings, and basso continuo; Vereingte Zwietracht for tenor, bass, soprano, and alto soloists and a chorus, pairs of flutes and oboes, a trio of trumpets plus tympani, strings, and lute and harpsichord continuo with bassoon, cello, and double bass. Third, both works are superbly sung by soprano Monika Frimmer, tenor Markus Schäfer, bass Stephan MacLeod, and Les Chantres du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles directed by Olivier Schneebeli and superlatively played by Café Zimmermann. Fourth, and best of all, the performers are led by the venerable Gustav Leonhardt, the famous Dutch keyboard player and conductor, who presides over performances that are unbelievably insightful, incredibly joyful, and consummately musical. The only flaw here is alto Robin Blaze, whose singing may for some tastes be too fey. Still, as recorded in vivid and immediate digital sound by Alpha productions, this disc deserves to be heard by anyone deep into Bach's cantatas.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Cantata No. 30a, "Angenehmes Wiederau, freue dich in deinen Auen," BWV 30a (BC G31)|
|Cantata No. 207, "Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten," BWV 207 (BC G37)|