Anne Sofie von Otter
Frederica von Stade
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Lamento - Magdalena Kozena (August 2005)
This is a collection of works by the Bach family--J.S., C.P.E., and J.C.--and includes a transcription by Johann Sebastian of a cantata by the Italian composer Francesco Conti (1682-1732). As the title suggests, these works all deal with grief; indeed, the first work, by J.C. Bach (1642-1703), "Ach, dass ich Wassers g'nug hätte," a plea by the singer to shed enough tears to have her sins forgiven, begins with the word "Ach" repeated four times. Kozena fills it with such understated sadness that it's unforgettable. In this work and throughout she sings with a legato that is flawless, tone that always finds the right dynamic for each word, and an ease of emission which makes her presentation of these works seem as natural as speech. The Conti cantata ends with a 90-second "Alleluja" that is ablaze with coloratura, and not a note is out of place; it is a nice contrast with the shadowy, lachrymose nature of the rest of the selections. Kozena's depth of feeling is matched by her ability to express it simply. Along with her colorful sound palette, she and conductor Reinhard Goebel and his Musica Antiqua Köln turn this disc in to a "must-have" for lovers of rare Baroque music and beautiful singing.