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  41:2 (11-12 /20187
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Harmonia Mundi 

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Reviewer: George Chien

Since this disc is titled Cantatas for Soprano, why is Andreas Wolf’s name in the headnote? The answer may be found on the back of the jacket where a review of this very disc appears under the heading “Bach in Weimar.” The disc’s three cantatas originated in Weimar, where Bach honed his early talent into mastery. All three call for a soprano soloist, but one, Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn, BWV 152, is a dialogue cantata that also requires a bass to partner with the soprano. We would have welcomed three solo cantatas from our protagonist Carolyn Sampson, but she was obviously generous enough to share the limelight. And we gratefully thank her for that.

The three cantatas show different sides of the composer. In Tritt auf die Glaubesbahn he experiments with a unique ensemble of recorder, oboe, viola d’amore, and viola da gamba. Mein Herz schwimmt in Blut, BWV 199, is searingly introspective. And Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten, BWV 202, is a joyous wedding cantata. Sampson aces them all, with her graceful combination of vocal beauty and flawless technique. An equally fine assist from Wolf and the splendid instrument work of the Freiburger Barockorchester seal the deal. Enjoy.

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