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6 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 5 - February 2007

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Bach - Cantatas for very

Bach - Cantatas for very musically. Director Eric Milnes sets upMary BWV 1, 82, an expansive feel to each movement which al-147 lows the instrumentalists and singers to both5,, Monika Mauch; relax and take risks at the same time. My only~BAROQUE Matthew White; personal regret is the lack of a chorus, thoughLillllll•••••ms•ll ·"llNW!!li Charles Daniels; the four singers together make a rich and mel-Stephan McLeod; lifluous sound. I've read Andrew Parrott'sMontreal Baroque; Eric Milnesbook on Bach's choral writing and find his "oneATMA SACD2 2402voice per part" argument very convincing, butThis is an exquisite recording of three rarely- I simply feel a visceral need for the "folk" toheard, fascinating Bach cantatas, featuring four be represented in these pieces that are at oncebrilliant singers and a thrilling chamber arches- both personal and universal, private and pubtra,directed by an intelligent musician with a lie in their themes . This - and the at timesreal point of view.strange balance issues in the recording - is aCantata 147 - Herz und Mund und Tat und minor quibble. Mention must also be made of theLeben - is a double cantata that celebrates the terrific playing of oboist Matthew Jennejohn, cel­Feast of the Visitation and tells the intricate list Susie Napper and organist Eric Milnes.story through three lengthy and inventive recit-Larry Beckwithatives that make use of accompanying instrumentswith Bach's charaeteristic imagination.Pentland, Barbara - Disasters of the SunThere are also four gorgeous arias, two heartfeltchorales and a spine-tingling opening cho­Judith Forst; Heidi Krutzen; Turningrus. Cantata 82 - !ch habe genug - is a soloPoint Ensemble; Owen Underhillcantata for the Feast of the Purification andCentrediscs CMCCD 11806When Dorothy Livesay sent the text of Disastersof the Sun to Barbara Pentland in the mid-appears here in its version for solo bass , sungwith authority and great pathos by StephanMacLeod. Cantata 1 - Wie schOn leuchtet der1970s, Pentland realized right away that thisMorgenstern - is a richly scored cantata forheart-wrenching set of poems perfectly expressedher own complex feelings about beingthe Feast of the Annunciation and features somea woman in a man's world. So it's hardly surprisingthat Pentland's setting for mezzo-so­stunningly clever text settings.The performances on this disc are movingand thoughtful, with each soloist contributingprano and small ensemble is so forceful.Pentland colours a phrase like 'horrible sur-prised masculinity'with anguished harmonies,then makesa witty comment onthat by quotingStrauss' Don Juan.The outstanding Canadianmezzo Judith Forst gives the imageryriveting emotional immediacy. She is grippingin her ferocity and moving in her tenderness.The neoclassical Octet for Winds dates from1948, before Pentland had found her distinctivevoice. It is pleasing, but not especially compelling.But Commenta for solo harp, writtenover thirty years later, bears the mark of Pentland's adventurous imagination with her use ofbent tones, echo effects and eerie harmonies.It is an exciting work, especially in this incisiveperformance by harpist Heidi Krutzen. TheQuintet for Piano and Strings is gorgeous - soulfuland rhapsodic .Canadian conductor and composer OwenUnderhill is a sensitive and committed interpreterof Pentland's music. His program notes,which place these works in context, as well aswelcome biographies, are offered in Englishand French. Yet Livesay's poems are presentedin English alone, not translated into French.This is a beautifully performed, significantand enduring recording of works by one of Canada'sfinest composers.Pam Marg/es70WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMFEBR UAR Y 1 - M ARCH 7 2007

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