Bach Cantatas (Bach Pilgrimage Vol. 28)
Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner (dir)
Soli Deo Gloria SDG 185
This long-awaited final instalment in John Eliot Gardiner’s Bach Cantata Pilgrimage (specially re-recorded as the original recording proved unusable for technical reasons) comprises three cantatas for Ascension Day and the work known as the Ascension Oratorio. Any doubts as to how this release would compare to its acclaimed predecessors will be blown away by the deft interplay between trumpets and winds that opens the first cantata on the disc, BWV 43. The greatest joy is the singing of the Monteverdi Choir – their chorales are to die for, and the choruses achieve the perfect balance of weight and sprightliness. The solo singing is also excellent, particularly Meg Bragle’s ‘Ach, bleibe doch’ from the Oratorio and Dietrich Henschel’s recitative élan. This is a fitting end to a valuable and outstanding project, for which all participants deserve many thanks and the highest praise.