BACH, J.S.: Soprano Cantatas, BWV 199, 202 and 209 (Capella Istropolitana/ Christian Brembeck/ Friederike Wagner/ Jozef Cejka/ Karol Kopernicky/ Vera Raskova) (Naxos: 8.550431)
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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)
Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, BWV 199
Weichet nur, betr??bte Schatten, BWV 202 "WeddingCantata"
Non sa che sia dolore, BWV 209
The career of Johann Sebastian Bach, the most illustrious of aprolific musical family, falls neatly into three unequal parts. Born in 1685 in Eisenach,from the age of ten Bach lived and studied music with his eider brother in Ohrdruf, afterthe death of both his parents. After a series of appointments as organist and briefly as acourt musician, he became, in 1708, court-organist and chamber-musician to Duke WilhelmErnst of Weimar, the eider of the two brothers who jointly ruled the duchy. In 1714 he waspromoted to the position of Konzertmeister to the Duke, but in 1717, after a brief periodof imprisonment for his temerity in seeking to leave the Duke's service, he abandonedWeimar to become court Kapellmeister to Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cothen, a position heheld until 1723. From then until his death in 1750 he lived in Leipzig, where he wasThomaskantor, with responsibility for the music of the five principal city churches, in1729 assuming direction of the university collegium musicum, founded by Telemann in 1702.
At Weimar Bach had been principally employed as an organist,and his compositions of the period include a considerable amount written for theinstrument on which he was recognised as a virtuoso performer. At Cothen, where Pietisttraditions dominated the court, he had no church duties, and was responsible rather forcourt music. The period brought the composition of a number of instrumental works. Thefinal 27 years of Bach's life brought a variety of preoccupations, and while his officialemployment necessitated the provision of church music, he was able to provide music forthe university collegium musicum and to write or re-arrange a number of important worksfor the keyboard.
The cantata for soprano, oboe, strings and basso continuo, Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, BWV 199, was written in1714 for performance on 12th August, the 11th Sunday after Trinity. In that year Bach hadbeen appointed Konzertmeister in Weimar and here set words by G.C. Lehms, as he had amonth earlier in Widerstehe doch der S??nde. The year saw the composition of eight churchcantatas, as did the following year, a fraction of what Bach was later to write inLeipzig.
In addition to the 200 or so surviving church cantatas Bachwrote a number of secular cantatas for a variety of occasions. Weichet nur, betr??bte Schatten, BWV 202, scored forsoprano, oboe, strings and basso continuo, was seemingly written during the composer'scontented stay in Cothen, a period brought to an end by the marriage of Prince Leopold toa woman that Bach later described as "amusica". The work is a wedding cantata, acomposition intended for performance during a wedding banquet, its text a poem aboutspring and love, the author of which remains unknown, but might have been Salomo Franck,court poet and librarian at Weimar. One of the arias from this cantata was later used toprovide the subject of a movement of the sixth of the sonatas for violin and harpsichord.
Two Italian cantatas by Bach survive, the second, Non sa che sia dolore, BWV 209, for soprano, flute,strings and basso continuo, conjecturally dated to 1734, with words in occasionallycurious Italian perhaps by Johann Matthias Gesner, who became Rektor of the LeipzigThomasschule in 1730, and therefore Bach's immediate superior. The text deals with thedesired return of an Italian from Germany to his own country, after years spent atAnspach, but the identity of the subject, if the words reflect real circumstances, isunknown. The music is Italianate in character, introduced by a Sinfonia that, it has beensuggested, resembles the D minor violin concerto.
Friederike Wagner was born in Plochingen/Neckar. She studied atthe W??rzburg Musikhochschule with Hanno Blaschke, with whom she continued her studies atthe Munich Musikhochschule. She was awarded the Special Prize in the 1986 InternationalSinging Competition in Vienna and in 1988 was a prize-winner in the Song and OratorioCompetition of the Bavarian Artists' Union. She has appeared as a soloist in oratorio andas a Lieder singer in Berlin, Hamburg, Mainz, Salzburg, Paris, Lyon and elsewhere, withregular Lieder recitals in Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Munich.
The Capella Istropolitana was founded in 1983 by members of theSlovak Philharmonic Orchestra, at first as a chamber orchestra and then as an orchestralarge enough to tackle the standard classical repertoire. Based in Bratislava, its namedrawn from the ancient name still preserved in the Academia Istropolitana, the orchestraworks in the recording studio and undertakes frequent tours throughout Europe. Recordingsby the orchestra on the Naxos label include The Best of Baroque Music, Bach's BrandenburgConcertos, fifteen each of Mozart's and Haydn's symphonies as well as works by Handel,Vivaldi and Telemann.
Christian Brembeck was born in 1960 in Munich, where he studiedorgan, piano and conducting at the Musikhochschule, and in 1981 won the organ prize of thecity of W??rzburg, continuing a career as organist, harpsichordist, recitalist, and lateras conductor. He has not confined his attention to Baroque organ music in North and SouthGermany but is also a sensitive inter preter of the French and German romantic repertoire.
He has appeared with orchestras and choirs of the greatest distinction, including theMunich Philharmonic, the Munich Radio Orchestra, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, theCollegium Aureum and the Tolz Boys' Choir. He has performed in most of the major citiesof Western Europe and in Israel.