This is the record that introduced me to the great Canadian contralto, Maureen Forrester, who died yesterday at the age of 79 from complications of Alzheimer's disease, from which she had suffered for a number of years. She was a humane, funny, down-to-earth person, and over the top hilarious as the witch in Hansel and Gretel in a television version of that opera. And she possessed a voice of enviable focus and beauty, surely one of the very greatest contraltos of the twentieth century. She it was who once stated that contraltos were consigned to play "witches and bitches" in the operatic repertory.
Her death, more than most, saddens me. Through the years the sheer, velvety beauty of her voice had the capacity to console me in hard times and to help me rejoice in good ones. Her recordings of Bach cantatas, especially, are hard to beat. As I said, this record introduced me to this great singer. I do not know if it is available on CD; I'm posting it today as a heart-felt, musical tribute to an artist of deep musical integrity and a woman of vast good humor and expansive humanity, whose loss I feel personally.
One does not hear Bach sung like this these days. More's the pity.
ADDENDUM: The Amadeus label apparently made this record available on CD, though the prices it is selling for on Amazon indicate it must be out of print.