Review by beardawgs December 22, 2004 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
|After fantastic Kirchschlager’s disc with Bach arias, here comes another treat, completely different in style and mood, but equally great. Cantatas 56 and 82 are probably recorded by every single decent baritone under the Sun, and I never get tired listening to them all. I always admired Quasthoff’s intellectual qualities that bring extraordinary understanding of the texts he’s singing. Even if you don’t understand every word of his native German, you can’t miss the mood and his ability to emotionally reach where many other singers just stay bland. On top of that, Quasthoff here have to offer (unfortunately) personal understanding of the phrase that sometimes dying is preferable to living.
Unlike Fischer-Dieskau, who is all about drama and passion, Quasthoff is more subtle in expression, offering compassion and calm of the inevitable end. End of days that he’s singing about in “Ich habe genug” is the spiritual death, not the physical one – in perfect tune with the meaning of this little masterpiece. However beautiful and bursting with dark sonorities, his voice is just an instrument of expression, he’s there to offer understanding and guidance, never to draw attention to himself. Same can be said for the recitatives, where the meaning has more importance than the expression.
Quasthoff’ is perfectly matched with the modern orchestra, their playing having all necessary baroque phrasing, but with full sonorities and dark impact. Their huge sound kept me under the grip right from the opening bars. The recording (96/24) is spacious and not too analytical, which I find perfectly appropriate for the whole project. This is one of the rare discs that draws you into itself, where every element works towards the meaning, rather than superficial qualities.
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