John Eliot Gardiner's choral Pilgrimage exploring the magnificence and grandeur of all of Bach's cantatas continues with this 2CD release, combining cantatas for the eighth and tenth Sunday after Trinity, recorded live in August 2000. 'BWV 178 Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält', premiered in Leipzig on 20th July 1724 derives from the Gospel reading (Matthew 7:15-23) and warns against hypocrites and false prophets. With its opening powerful chorus, the mood is set for this chilling cantata fraught with anger and a grim mood of foreboding. In contrast, hope and belief permeate 'BWV 136 Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz' and 'BWV 45 Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist'. The penitential tone of BWV 136 is stressed through the beautifully crafted pleas of 'Prüfe mich' ('Try me') which appear in the extensive opening choral fugue. BWV 45 is Bach's last surviving cantata for this Sunday and is replete with emotional turmoil. In 'BWV 46 Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgendein Schmerz sei', Bach unsurprisingly, excels producing a richly thematic cantata depicting clearly the story's vivid, unsettling patterns of destruction and restoration, of God's anger and Christ's mercy. The antithesis between God's anger and mercy resurfaces in Bach's two later cantatas for this Sunday; 'BWV 101 Nimm von uns Herr, du treuer Gott and BWV 102 Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben!' With their customary brilliance and expert musicianship, the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists triumph, making this the ideal next instalment in what many have already come to regard as the first choice of recorded Bach Cantata series.