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American Record Guide: (09/2017) 
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Harmonia Mundi 

Code-barres / Barcode : 3149020225226(ID602)


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Reviewer: John W. Barker


That’s what this album is called, but only two of the three cantatas are exclusively for soprano; one is a duet-cantata for soprano and bass. All three are products of Bach’s years at the court of Weimar (1708-17), when he was experimenting with new forms and scorings. The cantatas of those years are not so much full-scale assemblages for soloists, chorus, and chamber orchestra that we tend to expect, but are written for rather more intimate juxtapositions of solo voices with obligato instruments and continuo—if also with small orchestra in two cases here.

Two of them are particularly well known. Cantata 202, Weichet mir, Betrübte Schatten (the “Wedding Cantata”) has bee n recorded endlessly; and Cantata 199, Mein Herz Schwimmt im Blut, is not far behind. Among recordings to date, Sampson’s deserves high ratings. She brings to these works a voice of great beauty and strength, smooth as velvet much of the time but with piercing potential in powerful moments.
In Cantata 152, Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn,

she has in Wolf a partner of fine  artistry, but with a light baritone voice that takes a rather secondary place next to her greater assertiveness. A good deal of interest in these cantatas is how Bach mixes the singers with the obligato instrumentalists. These contribute varying colors of recorder, oboe, and viola

d’amore; and the Freiburg group can certainly field outstanding players. Not to slight the others, but I was particularly impressed by deft oboist Katharina Arfken.

Taken in its own terms, this is certainly an outstanding release. The booklet is helpful and includes texts and translations.

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