Back in 2017, British countertenor Iestyn Davies teamed up with regular collaborators Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo for a recital of Bach solo cantatas, including the much-loved BWV170 Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust . The results were Gramophone Award-winningly good.

Iestyn Davies

It’s not marketed as Volume II, but this new recording from the same forces is the follow-up, completing the sequence of Leipzig cantatas from 1726 – probably composed, Richard Wigmore’s sleeve notes remind us, for “an outstandingly gifted boy alto” – with BWV169 Gott soll allein mein Herze haben and BWV35 Geist und Seele wird verwirret.

Davies’ voice – still boyish-pure and agile but animated with a man’s artistry and sophistication – is an ideal vehicle for works whose demands are staggering. The beauty of these accounts, particularly Gott soll allein , is undeniable. But it’s always tempered by expressive restraint, balanced (like the texts themselves) between stern Lutheran piety and rapture. It’s a conflict that’s thrillingly dramatized in the aria Stirb in...