Bach cantatas (Koopman)

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Volume 2 of the original release of the Koopman Bach cantatas on Erato, 1995 Koopman Bach cantatas Erato.jpg
Volume 2 of the original release of the Koopman Bach cantatas on Erato, 1995

The Bach cantatas project of Ton Koopman was the first complete recording of all the cantatas, including the 21 secular cantatas.[ citation needed ] Koopman conducted the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir and guest solo singers. The project began in 1995 and was completed in 2005 on 67 CDs.

It was the second recording of the 193 sacred cantatas after the Harnoncourt-Leonhardt Bach cantatas project to use early instruments. Koopman unlike Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt did not use boy choirs, but female sopranos, although Bach would have mainly used boys' voices to perform the soprano lines of his cantatas.

Koopman's project started on Erato Records, but was nearly derailed when Warner — which had acquired the Harnoncourt-Leonhardt Bach cantata recordings when it acquired Teldec from Telefunken in 1988 — also acquired Erato, thus making Koopman's new project a duplication within Warner's catalogue. Koopman was initially confident, and the project continued under Warner ownership, [1] but Koopman's project was one of the first cutbacks when Warner Classics scaled down new recordings across its classical music subsidiaries and wound up Erato entirely in 2002. [2] Warner cancelled the project and proceeded to dump stocks of volumes 1–12 in the discount bins at retailers like HMV and Tower. However Warner allowed Koopman to buy the tapes to 1–12 so he could continue independently. Koopman then founded his own label "Antoine Marchand" (a pun on his own name in French) distributed by Dutch Jazz and classics distributor Challenge Classics. [3]

Koopman's interpretations — which include favouring a choir with four singers per part — were underpinned by his own musicological researches and those of the Bach scholar Christoph Wolff. [4] Vocal soloists for the project include Lisa Larsson, Sandrine Piau, Sibylla Rubens, Barbara Schlick, Caroline Stam, Cornelia Samuelis, Deborah York and Johannette Zomer (soprano), Bogna Bartosz, Michael Chance, Franziska Gottwald, Bernhard Landauer, Elisabeth von Magnus, Annette Markert and Kai Wessel (alto), Paul Agnew, Jörg Dürmüller, James Gilchrist, Christoph Prégardien and Gerd Türk (tenor) and Klaus Mertens (bass).

Koopman also released a video performance of 6 Bach cantatas with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir in 2007.

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<i>Angenehmes Wiederau</i>, BWV 30a

Angenehmes Wiederau, freue dich in deinen Auen, BWV 30.1, is a 1737 secular cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, on a libretto by Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander). Bach reused some of its music in later works, including Freue dich, erlöste Schar, BWV 30.2, one of his church cantatas, which was nearly entirely modelled after the secular composition.

<i>Jesu, nun sei gepreiset</i>, BWV 41

Jesu, nun sei gepreiset, BWV 41, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed the chorale cantata in Leipzig for New Year's Day and first performed it on 1 January 1725 as part of his second cantata cycle. It is based on the hymn by Johannes Hermann (1591).

<i>Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland</i>, BWV 62

Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 62, in Leipzig for the first Sunday in Advent and first performed it on 3 December 1724. The chorale cantata is based on Martin Luther's Advent hymn "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland". It is part of his chorale cantata cycle.

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Max van Egmond

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Netherlands Bach Society

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<i>Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren</i>, BWV 137

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<i>Leichtgesinnte Flattergeister</i>, BWV 181

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Amore traditore, BWV 203, is a secular cantata composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in Köthen between 1718 and 1719, while he was in the service of the court of Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen. Bach wrote the unusual work on an Italian libretto for a bass soloist and harpsichord.

Bach cantatas (Teldec)

J. S. Bach - Das Kantatenwerk is a classical music recording project initiated by the record label of Telefunken in 1971 to record all 193 sacred Bach cantatas. The project was entrusted to Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt. Each conductor had his own instrumental ensemble, based in Austria and the Netherlands respectively.

Bach composed Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1, as chorale cantata for the Marian feast of the Annunciation, for a first performance in a church service in Leipzig on 25 March 1725. The cantata, for soprano, tenor and bass soloists, four-part choir and Baroque orchestra, takes around 25 minutes to perform.


  1. Billboard – 1996 7 20 p33 "Bach on the harpsichord. And the fact that Ton Koopman is engaged in a Bach cantata project on Erato worries him not at all."
  2. Billboard – 2003 7 5 p13 p115 "Koopman Gets Back On His Bach Cycle Music – Ton Koopman was well into the recording of what he deems the project of his lifetime: a complete cycle of the cantatas of ... already been issued when Koopman received word that Erato, the label for which he was recording the monumental cycle, ... Ironically, when Koopman was notified that Warner was abandoning the project, he had just spent three weeks of ..."
  3. Goldberg: early music magazine −2003 22–25 p43 "INTERVIEW As a harpsichordist, organist and conductor, Ton Koopman is one of the few musicians who can perform most of Bach's works. ... Despite the projects artistic success, its completion was threatened when Warner, Eratos parent company, pulled the plug on the series. ... I now also own the tapes of the Bach cantatas that were previously released by Erato, so these older volumes, numbers 1–12 ..."
  4. Billboard – 1998 6 20 p53 "And a scholar like Donald Mitchell contributes to making Riccardo Chailly's Mahler cycle on Decca/London satisfying beyond the stellar musicianship, as does Christoph Wolff with Ton Koopman's Bach cantata series on Erato."