Thursday, October 28, 2010

Complete Sets of Bach Cantatas on Spotify

Places in which Bach lived throughout his life
During J.S.Bach's tenure in Leipzig it was part of his job to perform a church cantata every Sunday and Holiday, so he composed a new work every week and conducted the first performances. Three annual cycles of cantatas survived. Here are three Spotify playlists for three complete recordings of these cantatas, one of the greatest achievements in the history of art.

Bach Cantatas - Rilling (1383 tracks, total time: 2 days) Performed by Helmuth Rilling and Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, recorded during 1969-1985. Sorted by BWV number. The most complete set on Spotify so far.

Bach Cantatas - Suzuki (986 tracks, total time: 1 day) Performed by Masaaki Suzuki and his Bach Collegium Japan. An ongoing project. The latest recording, Vol. 47 was released last month. Arranged in numerical order of the recordings.

Bach Cantatas - Gardiner (1029 tracks, total time: 2 days) Performed by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists. All recorded during Gardiner's transcendental Pilgrimage in year 2000, the releasing progress in still going on. Arranged in numerical order of the recordings. Press Ctrl (Command on Macs) + G to browse in album view

Update: Three more complete sets on Spotify, by Harnoncourt & Leonhardt, Leusink, and Koopman.

Some useful sites: the Wiki page, the "official" Bach Cantatas, A Listener's Guide, Haenssler page for the Rilling set, BIS page for the Suzuki set, and Cantata Finder for the Gardiner set.

BTW according to Spotify, they are "currently experiencing some problems with playlists not loading normally". If you find these playlists empty or incomplete, just subscribe to them, then restart Spotify. Enjoy the eternal blessings of Bach, with Spotify.


  1. Thought I'd share another useful link with you all. Gardiner's label SDG - Facebook page:

  2. The Gardiner pilgrimage is my ABSOLUTE favorite set! He brings so much energy to the cantatas. Every recording is spot on - amazing achievement.

    I had a major disappointment a couple of months ago ( late 2011, when several of these recordings disappeared from Spotify ( Connected with the USA launch ?). They have been coming back slowly, and fortunately the last to re-appear was my personal top choice (vol 22. Just listen to the first track of BWV66 - fantastic energy).

    BUT, they are not all back, and we do not have as many as we had a year ago. So, if anyone with any influence from Spotify is reading this - can we get the un-available recordings restored ?

  3. Thanks very much for recommending the Gardiner playlist. The last two albums were more like Greatest Hits, but the rest were marvelous. The Spotify player often lost its place, as though I’d hit the Shuffle button. The irrelevance and lack of text on the album covers made this tricky to notice and correct.