Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Brunch – Matthias Goerne Sings Bach

I always think of Matthias Goerne as brooding, intense, and borderline psychotic (similar to, but not to be confused with Christian Gerhaher: brooding, intense, and borderline depressive.) 

It’s partly his über-intense eyes; and, in fact, Matthias Goerne plays brooding, intense, and borderline psychotic very very well (his Wozzeck is a good example.) But he has a softer side, too, as heard here. 

Recently, I was looking for something online (I don’t remember what anymore) and, as so often happens on the interwebz, I more or less randomly came across this circa 2000 disc of Matthias Goerne singing Bach CantatasAll eleven Amazon reader reviews gave this recording five stars! Now I know why, and so will you, when you hear him sing the second aria from Bach’s ubiquitous solo cantata, Ich habe genug (BWV 82). 

I’ve been trying to find words to describe his singing here. First of all, Bach's genius shines brightly in his setting of this text—it's a lullaby, and yet it's so much more

But it takes more than genius music to create a genius musical moment. Herr Goerne’s vocal line is lush, delicate, expressive, and nuanced, and all in an interpretive style that Bach still would recognize (no small thanks to the able accompaniment led by Sir Roger Norrington). I want to say it’s sexy, but that might sound cheap. His voice is comforting, soothing, and makes things like death and passing to the next world more attractive and less scary. I guess maybe I should just share the translation and say that Matthias Goerne sings the text, then stop talking, and let you listen—then you can hear for yourself. 

Slumber, my weary eyes,
Fall softly and close in contentment
O World, I will linger here no more.

For indeed, I find nothing in you
Pleasing to my soul.
Here I am resigned to misery,

But there, there I shall feel
Sweet peace and quiet rest.

(The rest of the recording is quite good, also!)


  1. Duly added to an Arkiv order I just made, because who needs that brake job, really.

    1. ANYone can have brakes! Only the truly blessed have Matthias Goerne's Bach Cantata recording!

  2. Haha! That's how I think of them, too :-). I love this Bach album, too. It's great to hear Goerne in a different vocal guise every so often.

    1. Oh good. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way. I love them both; I'm quite partial to CG's performances, but I think MG does have a more beautiful voice.

    2. Even his breathing is super-expressive. Sigh!


Comments are very welcome! They won't be moderated; but rude, abusive, and/or radically off-topic posts will be removed.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...