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Bach: Arias

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About this title: In the crush of mezzo sopranos actively recording, Angelika Kirchschlager's warm and direct voice stands somewhat apart from the perhaps overly subjective Cecilia Bartoli and the possibly overly objective Anne-Sofie von Otter. This combination has worked well in many, even most, of Kirchschlager's recordings: her disc of Korngold and Mahler songs was affecting without being affected and her disc of lullabies was sentimental without succumbing to mawkishness. In many ways, this disc of Bach arias is quite as lovely as anything Kirchschlager has done: her tone is beautifully rounded, her phrasing is alert to the meaning of the text and the music, and her sensitivity to the nuances of Bach's vocal writing makes her interpretation of each aria separate and special. But teaming Kirchschlager with the Venice Baroque Ensemble, a period instrument ensemble directed by violinist Giuliano Carmignola, does her no good. Against the dry sound of the Baroque violinist, Kirchschlager's thoroughly modern vocal...

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