Bach's solo cantatas for higher voices were not written for castrati nor, for the most part, for female singers, but rather for boys on the cusp of puberty. Some of them, to judge from solo cantatas like those performed here by English countertenor Iestyn Davies, were apparently singers of considerable talent: all these works demand wide vocal ranges and the ability to produce a good deal of power at both ends of the range. Ich habe genug, BWV 82, is one of Bach's most famous cantatas, with its half-in-love-with-easeful-death theme ("I rejoice at my death," runs the final aria). Bach apparently valued the work himself, making soprano and alto versions of the original bass vocal line. The delicious equation of sleep and death in "Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen" makes a good place to start sampling: Davies' voice is hard to match for sheer tonal beauty, and he delivers it here as the vocal line drops to the bottom of the alto's range. His gentle, lyrical style, standing in contrast to the more abstract sound of Andreas Scholl in this repertory, is beautifully matched by the historical-instrument ensemble Arcangelo under Jonathan Cohen, with a purring organ continuo, and the whole thing finds an ideal acoustic home in London's St-Jude-on-the-Hill church. A very lovely recording of Bach solo cantatas.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Vergnügte Ruh', beliebte Seelenlust, BWV 170|
|Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht!, BWV 52|
|Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54|
|Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte, BWV 174|
|Ich habe genug, BWV 82|