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J.S. Bach & Handel: Sacred Arias (APE)

J.S. Bach & Handel: Sacred Arias (APE)
J.S. Bach & Handel: Sacred Arias (APE)

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, George Handel
Performer: Aafje Heynis
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: APE (tracks)
Label: Philips/Eloquence
Size: 367 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Bist Du Bei Mir
02. Was Mein Herz Von Dir Begehrt
03. Erbarme Dich’
04. Bereite Dich Zion
05. Es Ist Vollbracht’
06. Ave Maria
07. Schlafe Mein Liebster
08. Arioso Dank Sei Dir
09. Father Of Heaven’
10. Return Oh God Of Hosts
11. Virgam Virtutis Tuae
12. Oh Thou That Tellest
13. He Was Despided

Selections from a great singer

Nothing could better illustrate the cultism and conformity of too much music appreciation in the English-speaking world than the packaging of this Australian-made CD. While the names and faces of “celebrity” performers dominate the exteriors of best-selling recordings of Bach and Handel, the name of Aafje Heynis is scarcely discernible on this offering, as if this singer was as mediocre as she is presently obscure outside Western Europe. In fact, this disk presents a good remastering of classic Heynis recordings dating largely from the later 1950s and early 1960s, including an incomparable rendering of “Dank sei Dir, Herr.” And that represents some of the finest contralto singing ever recorded, with all deference to British acolytes of Kathleen Ferrier, who begrudge Heynis every vote she gets. With a voice of exceptional resonance and flexibility, governed by a superb technique that anticipates her later distinction as a teacher, Aafje Heynis is that rarest of modern performers outside Asia: a singer of profound religious feeling, whose recordings of Bach and Handel resonate with an intense spiritual quest. It is high time that her achievement was properly recognized, and that the full range of her recorded legacy was made available. As an introduction to her singing, this CD can be highly recommended: only one selection – a poorly recorded and accompanied “Ave Maria” – falls short of her best standard.

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