Weekend Edition Sunday music director Ned Wharton reviews a new recording by Christoph Poppen and the Hilliard Ensemble of the Cantata No. 4, also known as the Easter Cantata by J.S. Bach.
The chorale from Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantata No. 4, Christ Lag in Todesbanden, was the nugget that was supposedly hidden in the Ciaccona from Bach's Partita in D Minor. That formed the basis of the wildly popular Morimur recording by Christoph Poppen, the Munich Chamber Orchestra and the Hilliard Ensemble, which was released in late 2001.
Now the entire work, also known as the Easter Cantata, is heard on a new recording by the group. Ricercar, available on the ECM New Series, includes the Cantata as well as the six-voice fugue by Bach orchestrated in 1935 by composer Anton Webern. Two other Webern chamber works, somewhat thornier to listen to, are also included on the release.