The Recreation of the Soul:

Bach cantatas in a new light


Following the enthusiastic reception of our live performances, we have recorded a CD of works which form the cornerstone of our repertoire, cantatas written by J.S. Bach.

Jesu, joy of man's desiring...

The title for our disc is taken from Bach's own words in his Thorough Instruction in the Figured Bass where he wrote that 'true music' was for 'the honour of God and the recreation of the soul'. Rather than choose the pieces according to their liturgical function, we have taken as our cue the idea that Bach's soul's 'recreation' is - at least in part - observed in his delight in numbers. In these pieces, numbers seem to be a starting-point for his imagination and guided his choices of metre and structure. The pieces we chose to record, three of his best-known cantatas, display the full emotional range of Bach's music:

  • Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich (BWV 150)
  • Jesu, der du meine Seele (BWV 78)
  • Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (BWV 147)

The performers were: Elin Manahan Thomas - soprano, Daniel Taylor - alto, James Gilchrist - tenor, and Peter Harvey - director & bass, with a stellar group of instrumentalists led by Lucy Russell.

You can hear live concert recordings of Cantata 147 on the audio player on this website, top left.

Progress so far:

The sessions had great creative energy and we keenly anticipate hearing the results. Channel Classics will be editing the material during November and a release is anticipated during the first half of 2014. We are very grateful to everyone whose donation has enabled us to plan for this recording, especially to those individuals who have made particularly generous contributions, without whose support it would not have been possible.