We keep following Bach in 1724. For the second Sunday after Easter of that year, he composed cantata 104 Du Hirte Israel, höre. Of all the recordings I listened to, I prefer the one of Ton Koopman with his Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir, here on YouTube.
My main reason for choosing this recording is tenor Paul Agnew’s fabulous singing. Type his name in the “search” box on this blog and you’ll find more fan mail from me 🙂
But also: this recording has the best balance among the voice parts in the choir in the opening chorus, and Klaus Mertens presents a bass aria I can actually listen to without getting irritated. Sorry Philippe Huttenlocher (on the Harnoncourt recording), Stephen Varcoe (Gardiner), and Stephan MacLeod (Bach Collegium Japan).
This is a very pretty cantata, entirely based on the “good shepherd” theme for this Sunday, using pastoral motifs in the music, oboes in the orchestra, and displaying an innocent character overall, much more so than the more complicated cantata 85 Bach would write for this same Sunday a year later, which I wrote about last year in this post.
Wieneke Gorter, April 30, 2017.