Catalogue No: SDG114
Shop Product Code: 2023994
Elin Manahan-Thomas, soprano
soloists - Joanne Lunn, Malin Hartelius, Gillian Keith, Nathalie Stutzmann, Robin Tyson, James Gilchrist, Peter Harvey
The Monteverdi Choir
The English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
The most exciting Bach discovery in 70 years! Found in a box of miscellaneous documents saved by chance from the fire that destroyed the Anna Amalia Library in Weimar in June of this year, the first complete vocal work of J.S. Bach to be discovered since 1935, an aria for soprano and strings celebrating the birthday of Wilhelm Ernst, Prince of Saxony, is here given its premiere CD release on John Eliot Gardiner’s own SDG label, coupled with a selection of as yet unreleased Cantata arias and choruses recorded on the 2000 Bach Cantata Pilgrimage. With a unique design and in a single cd digipack, this release sells at a special upper mid-price - the combination of new premiere recording with unreleased arias and choruses provides a very attractive sampler for the whole Bach Cantata series.
Whereas a newly unearthed Handel Gloria made front-page headlines in 2001, the most important Bach discovery in decades has generated surprisingly little hoo-ha. It was while rummaging through a shoebox in Weimar that scholar Michael Maul came across the manuscript of a soprano aria, Alles mit Gott ( "All Things with God"), that "looked like Bach".
The aria - a birthday ode composed in 1713 for Bach's autocratic patron Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar - was quickly authenticated, and just as smartly recorded.
Though relatively lightweight, as befits a birthday ode, Alles mit Gott is an attractive piece, with a catchy melody for voice and continuo punctuated by a more intense contrapuntal refrain for strings.
Elin Manahan Thomas's chaste, boyish timbre and freshness of response are just what the music needs, and Gardiner accompanies with his usual vitality. The remaining tracks are tasters - arias, duets and choruses - for Gardiner's Cantata Pilgrimage.
Singing and playing are first-rate, though a couple of complete cantatas would have made the disc even more desirable, especially for those collecting the whole cycle.
Richard Wigmore, Telegraph
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