An unprecedented project in the rock field: a five-CD box set of unreleased material by a cult artist that never had anything close to a chart hit. Of course Captain Beefheart is the ultimate cult artist, and one with a following so rabid (if limited) that the compilation has a wider audience than many would anticipate. Despite the impressive chronological span and variety of demos, live performances, backing tracks, and outtakes, be cautioned that this is not a best-of or ad hoc career overview. A good deal of the tracks (some of which have long been available on bootleg) are of slightly substandard or low fidelity, and Beefheart's most significant work is ultimately contained on his numerous official releases.
Just over twenty secular cantatas by JS Bach have survived, and we know of almost thirty other cantatas that are now lost. The secular cantatas were almost all composed for some important, festive event in a family or in public, academic or political life. The present disc includes one of the most regularly performed of these works, the Coffee Cantata. This was written around 1734, probably for a performance at the Zimmermann Coffee House in Leipzig.
The disc opens with O holder Tag, a wedding cantata for solo soprano dated, in the version here performed, to 1741. (The piece was actually used in more or less modified form by Bach on at least five different occasions, from as early on as 1729.) The solo soprano, in her first BIS recording, is Carolyn Sampson who is one of the most exciting performers in her field today. A stunning introduction to the world of Bach's cantatas and to the incomparable Bach Collegium Japan directed by Masaaki Suzuki.