German baritone Benjamin Appl was Gramophone ‘Young Artist of the Year 2016’ and is one of the stars of the European ‘Echo Rising Stars’ concert series
Appl is a former chorister of the famous German choir Regensburger Domspatzen and is now one of the most interesting artists of his generation, with a great voice and magnetic stage presence
The new album presents a selection of music by Johann Sebastian Bach chosen by Appl himself from famous as well as less known cantatas and also from the St. Matthew Passion. It was recorded with the renowned Ensemble Concerto Köln, one of the leading ensembles for historically-informed performance practice
ABOUT THE RECORDING
Now based in London, Regensburg native Benjamin Appl has already made a name for himself as a BBC New Generation Artist and winner of the Gramophone 2016 Young Artist of the Year Award. Named a Rising Star of the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO), he has thrilled audiences around the world with his beautiful voice, profound interpretations and congenial stage. His first album ‘Heimat’ (Sony Classical) released last year was given excellent reviews by the critical media: “Outstanding with his chiseled dark baritone and a subtle and nuanced sound, silky piano passages and immaculate diction. […] singing of timeless poignancy,” said radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. In March 2018, ‘Heimat’ was awarded the Orphée d’Or Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau for Best Lieder Interpretations.
Together with early music ensemble Concerto Köln, the young baritone now presents his new solo album featuring selections from Bach’s highly varied cantata output. The recording retraces the liturgical church year with well-known and lesser known music from the early and late Bach cantatas and arias from the St Matthew Passion plus Bach’s secular cantatas. The album thus explores the development of the genre from the traditional choral cantata all the way to the ‘modern’ cantata form developed by Erdmann Neumeister with its recitatives and arias modeled on Italian opera.
Benjamin Appl sings the arias “Willkommen werter Schatz” (Cantata No. 36 “Schwingt freudig euch empor”), “Kron und Preis gekrönter Damen” (Cantata No. 2014 “Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!”), “Mache Dich mein Herze rein” from the Matthew Passion, the aria “Zu Tanze, zu Sprunge” (Cantata No. 201 “Geschwinde, ihr wirbelnden Winde”), and the aria “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan” (Cantata No. 100 of the same name). Instrumental sinfonias from four cantatas are also included on the disc. A bonus track features the famed and beloved “Jesus, bleibet meine Freude” (“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”).
“What a tremendous gift to have the privilege of singing Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantatas and Passion settings, because I feel they possess indescribable power. I am constantly amazed by the way this music speaks directly to people, moves them, and is reflected in their eyes,” says Benjamin Appl about singing Bach.