Bach’s music featured early in Ansermet’s career and he conducted the fourth Orchestral Suite in his last concert. Playing Bach in the 1960s was not quite the affair it is today but it would be false to assume that Ansermet’s Bach is the bloated, romanticised affair that was current in the 1960s. While his readings have soul, Ansermet keeps his feet firmly planted in the Baroque period, eschewing beauty of sound for beauty’s sake.
Even with a larger ensemble than Bach would have known, Ansermet doesn’t get bogged down; faster movements move along with grace, even if they do so without a typically Baroque lightness of texture.
This 2CD set represents Ansermet’s complete Bach recordings for Decca and collectively they are issued on CD for the first time.
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067
Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068
Cantata No. 130 ‘Herr Gott, dich loben wir’ BWV 130
Cantata No. 67 ‘Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ’ BWV 67
Cantata No. 31 ‘Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret, BWV31 – Sinfonia
Cantata No. 12 ‘Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen’, BWV12 – Sinfonia
Cantata No. 105 ‘Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht’ BWV 105
Cantata No. 45 ‘Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist’ BWV 45
Cantata No. 101 ‘Nimm von uns, Herr du treuer Gott’ BWV101 (excerpts)
Elly Ameling, Agnes Giebel, sopranos
Helen Watts, alto
Werner Krenn, Ian Partridge, tenors
Tom Krause, baritone
Choeur Pro Arte de Lausanne
Choeur de la Radio Suisse Romande
L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
FIRST CD RELEASE OF ERNEST ANSERMET’S COMPLETE BACH RECORDINGS FOR DECCA
Recording producers: Erik Smith (Suites, Sinfonias); John Mordler (Cantatas)
Recording engineers: Roy Wallace (Suites, Sinfonias); James Lock, Kenneth Wilkinson (Cantatas 45, 105); James Lock (Cantatas 67, 101, 130)
Recording location: Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland, November 1961 (Suites, Sonata, Sinfonia), June 1966 (Cantatas 45, 105), September 1968 (Cantatas 67, 101, 130)