Bach Cantata recommendations

I'm looking for some suggested recordings to increase my acquaintance with Bach's significant (and lengthy) body of cantatas. Would appreciate:

1) Recommended works to start with
2) Recommended recordings of same

I am far more interested in quality of performance than 'audiophile' quality of recording, but great sonics are a definite bonus.

I am not a devotee of "authentic-period" instrumentation/intonation, but am not adverse to same. I just want to appreciate more of the genius of Bach's composition and have grown up with much of his work apart from an in-depth knowledge of the cantatas.

Any and all suggestions welcome. TIA

Helmuth Rilling is one of the established experts. He has recorded all of them.

You can get all 69 of his Bach Cantata CD's on the Hänssler label if you've got the cash!
Probably about $1000. Ha!
For recommendations..??..there are so many......

I guess everyone should have a copy of BWV 140 "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" "Wake, arise, the voices call us".

Cantata No. 208 (BWV 208). It has the popular "Sheep May Safely Graze" melody.

Cantata No. 147 (BWV 147) has the popular melody known as "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring".

While technically not a Cantata....also pick up a copy of the Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243

For something fun try the Cantate du Cafe (Coffee Cantata), BWV 211 and the "Peasant Cantata" BWV 212

I have performed a good number of these. I'll look through my music and see what gems are in there.
No. 106, "Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit," blew me away the first time I heard it thirty-some years ago and continues to do so every time I play it. I prefer the performance led by Fritz Werner on Musical Heritage Society MHS 665, though Joshua Rifkin and The Bach Ensemble do a nice, if completely different, interpretation. I would stay away from the Bach Guild issue under Felix Prohaska unless you like your Bach performed, "in the manner of Brahms."
Just about anything on the ARCHIV label.


BUT ... if your tastes are anything like mine (I like "large" orchestras, non-period performances) you may want to look at something by Karl Richter. There was a total of 3 CDs issued under the DG Masterwork (discontinued?) series, a total of 10 cantatas for budget price. There is also a recently issued Collectors Edition 10 CD (?) box set with Magnificat, Mass in B Minor, 2 Passions, and something else that I forgot ;) again at budget price.

Other suggestions that I came across was Herreweghe on Harmonia Mundi. Again there are a few that are ressiued at budget price that you can try out before commiting serious $$

Good luck :)