Variations on an Original Theme Opus 36 (9) Edward Elgar Download 'Variations on an Original Theme Opus 36 (9)' on iTunes
Bach's cautionary tale of coffee addiction handled with a lightness of touch.
Repertoire: Coffee Cantata, BWV211, et al.
Artists: Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir/ Ton Koopman
Label: Challenge Classics CC 72280
This is not so much a cantata as a comic opera that tells of an addiction to coffee, which was a pressing social problem in 18th-century Leipzig where the work was premiered at Zimmerman’s Coffee House by Bach’s Collegium. It’s paired here with an equally light work, the ‘Peasant’ Cantata, BWV212, a rustic romp about two lovers who are determined to have a good time, which includes the drinking of as much alcohol as possible. These must have been quite racy for the time and are not the sort of works we would normally associate with Bach. Neither cantata should be taken too seriously, and Ton Koopman gives the required lightness of touch to them both.