Bach: Ein feste Burg

Wegener, Allsopp, Hobbs, Harvey SATB, Kammerchor Stuttgart, Barockorchester Stuttgart, Frieder Bernius
49:03
Carus 83.282
BWV80, 235

Recorded in June 2017, the CD is among Carus Verlag’s celebrations of the Reformation anniversary while promoting its good new edition of Bach’s choral works. The excellent soloists and experienced chorus, orchestra and conductor make these reliable performances, and it is good to have the opening page of the full score of the new Carus edition by Klaus Hoffman (2014) reproduced in the liner notes.

Carus – and many German choirs and conductors – are still wedded to performing Bach cantatas with substantial choirs (here 7.5.5.4) and you can only buy instrumental parts for the cantatas online in sets of 4 first and 4 second violins, 3 violas and 4 bc parts. They also sell a pack of the W. F. Bach additional brass parts that got included in the BG in the 19th century, and are still sometimes passed off as Johann Sebastian’s today. This performance is still in this tradition.

That said, the balance between singers and orchestra is good, and between individual singers in the single voice or duet numbers and obbligato instruments. The A/T duet Wie selig sind doch die  (7 in BWV 80) is beautifully done; and Und wenn die Welt voll Teufel wär  (5) goes with a great swing. But at a running time of 49:03, would there not have been room for Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild  (BWV79), that other great Reformationsfest  cantata? Perhaps the reason is that Carus has now produced another CD with BWV 79, that includes the Missa in G  (BWV 236) and Cantata 126.

David Stancliffe