J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Cantatas BWV 158 & 203; Arias & Chorals (Cantatas BWV 8, 13, 73, 123, 157 & 158)

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Karl Forster/Chor der St. Hedwigs-Kathedrale Berlin, Berliner Philharmoniker
le Nicolet and Jean-Pierre Rampal, flute
Lothar Koch, oboe
Michel Schwalbé
, violin
Irmgard Poppen and Jacques Neilz, violoncello
Edith Picht-Axenfeld and Robert Veyron-Lacroix, harpsichord
Individual Works:1) Arias and Chorals from "Meine Seufzer, meine Tränen" BWV 13,
"Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn" BWV 157,
"Sehet, wir geh'n hinauf gen Jerusalem" BWV 159,
"Herr, wie du willt, so schick's mit mir" BWV 73,
"Liebster Gott, wann werd' ich sterben" BWV 8
2) Cantata "Der Friede sei mit dir" BWV 158
3) Recitative and Aria from Cantata "Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen" BWV 123
4) Cantata "Amore traditore" BWV 203
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:EMI Classics
Year Released/Recorded:1958/1960/1971
Total Playing Time:72.25
Comments:Henning Böke said:

A selection of bass arias and chorals, including the complete cantata "Der Friede sei mit dir", was recorded by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Karl Forster in 1958. In "Gramophone", Alec Robertson wrote: "Everything on this disc, Bach's music, Fischer-Dieskau's singing, the playing of the solo instruments and the orchestra, the choir and the recording, makes this one of the most beautiful records I ever had to review." In 1999, it was republished on CD, extended by a later recording of the aria "Laß, o Welt, mich aus Verachtung" which Fischer-Dieskau made with the flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal in 1971, and the Italian cantata "Amore traditore", sung by Fischer-Dieskau accompanied by his wife Irmgard Poppen and Edith Picht-Axenfeld in 1960.

In the 1950s, the young Fischer-Dieskau's voice was at its best: even, controlled by a perfect technique, with a wide range of modulations from bright to dark timbre, and the singer had not yet developped his later manners of a sometimes a bit over-sophisticated singing.

Of course, Fischer-Dieskau was not just a good singer among others, he has always been something special: great and sometimes problematic. It is his unique intellectual intensity, his "speaking" singing which confronts us more directly than any other interpretation with the enigma of Bach's sacred works: the poor, sometimes really bad lyrics, telling us again and again that life on earth is just sickness and pain, preaching joyful expectation of death, transfigured to sublime greatness by Bach's music. What we can learn from Fischer-Dieskau is that our access to Bach's sacred works is inevitably shaped by our modern subjectivity. I think that the really convincing Bach singers are not "baroque" singers but those who are, like Fischer-Dieskau, also great performers of Schubert, Mahler or Alban Berg.

The complete contents of the CD:

- Cantata "Meine Seufzer, meine Tränen" BWV 13:
aria "Ächzen und erbärmlich Weinen", choral "So sei nun Seele seine"
- Cantata "Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn" BWV 157:
aria "Ja, ja, ich halte Jesum feste", choral "Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht"
- Cantata "Sehet, wir geh'n hinauf gen Jerusalem" BWV 159:
aria "Es ist vollbracht", choral "Jesu, deine Passion"
_ Cantata "Herr, wie du willt, so schick's mit mir" BWV 73:
recitative "Ach, unser Wille bleibt verkehrt", aria "Herr, so du willt"
- Cantata "Liebster Gott, wann werd ich sterben" BWV 8:
aria: "Doch weichet, ihr tollen, vergeblichen Sorgen"
- Cantata "Der Friede sei mit dir" BWV 158
(Nicolet, Koch, Schwalbé, Poppen, Picht-Axenfeld, St. Hedwig's Cathedral Choir, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Forster, 1958)

- Cantata "Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen" BWV 123:
recitative "Kein Höllenfeind kann mich verschlingen", aria "Laß, o Welt, mich aus Verachtung"
(Rampal, Neilz, Veyron-Lacroix, 1971)

- Cantata "Amore traditore" BWV 203
(Poppen, Picht-Axenfeld, 1960)

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Henning Böke
Date First Submitted:05/13/2000