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David Vernier, December 2006

This is an excellent recital that offers rarely heard and often captivating Bach works, sung by a soloist with an ideal timbre and interpretive sense, accompanied by an orchestra whose stylistic instincts perfectly suit the music. And the ensemble sound is both warm and vibrant, pleasingly mannered and articulate. Though generally very clear and ingratiating, Norwegian alto Marianne Beate Kielland's voice occasionally takes on a very dark, covered quality (as in the opening of the first aria) that obscures the text. Most of the time, however, she sings with a lovely rich resonance that's aptly underlined by the orchestra.

My only serious reservation concerns the central aria in BWV 170 (and this is true no matter who performs it), whose melodic structure and interaction with the organ obbligato just seems uncharacteristically awkward. Kielland's slow tempo only enhances the impression that voice and instrument are antagonists rather than partners. Beyond that, we're treated to several of Bach's more inspired melodies, especially the first aria in BWV 54, "Widerstehe doch der Sünde", which the composer used 15 years later, set to the text "Falsche Welt". A decent alternative for these cantatas is Jadwiga Rappé's 1995 performance on Accord--but the current version is slightly preferrable for Kielland's warmer, more facile singing.

Fanfare, May 2006

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Classic FM, February 2006

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