Johann Sebastian Bach: Du Hirte Israel, hore, BWV 104
Du Hirte Israel, hore (Chorus)
Recitative: Der hochste Hirte sorgt vor mich (Tenor)
Aria: Verbirgt mein Hirte sich zu lange (Tenor)
Recitative: Ja, dieses Wort ist meiner Seelen Speise (Bass)
Aria: Begluckte Herde, Jesu Schafe (Bass)
Chorale: Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt
Johann Sebastian Bach: Wo gehest du hin?, BWV 166
Aria: Wo gehest du hin? (Bass)
Aria: Ich will an den Himmel denken (Tenor)
Chorale: Ich bitte dich, Herr Jesu Christ (Soprano choir)
Recitative: Gleichwie die Regenwasser bald vergliessen (Bass)
Aria: Man nehme sich in acht (Alto)
Chorale: Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende!
“The first work on this CD is a little-known gem, No 86, Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch ('Verily, I say unto you'). Succinct and imploring, the listener follows the doctrinal and attentive tone set so marvellously by a composer arrested by the intensity of Christ's promise: 'Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.' Suzuki, as ever, chooses exceptionally well-judged tempi throughout, leaves no stone unturned in his confident preparedness and also introduces a fine new bass to the series, Stephan MacLeod, as the 'vox Christi'. Of the other three works here, none is particularly long but each contains a central movement of special significance. In No 37 it's the chorale duet of a stanza from 'How brightly shines the morning star', sung with disarming fluency by Yukari Nonoshita and Robin Blaze, and in No 166, the tidy tenor Makoto Sakurada gives a sensitive, if somewhat under-nourished, account of 'Ich will an den Himmel denken'. This cantata also boasts a ravishing and peerless 'Man nehme sich in Acht' from Blaze. In the great bass aria 'Beglückte Herde', MacLeod gives a gentle and soft-grained performance (very much in the spirit of Suzuki's usual bass, Peter Kooij) as Christ's sheep are offered the rewards of faith. Some will wish for a more involving performance of this highly original work, as Richter provides (from 1973) – with a majestic Fischer-Dieskau – and the radiant spontaneity of Pieter Jan Leusink, which arguably boasts the best bass singing in recent years from Bas Ramselaar. Suzuki's volume will, however, satisfy many tastes. These are consistently impressive performances, beautifully recorded and Suzuki communicates Bach with unalloyed joy.”
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