BACH: Cantata, BWV 51 "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen." KRIEGER: Sonata
sesta a doi. ROSENMÜLLER: Sacred Concertos. FINGER: Sonata in C.
ZELENKA: Laudate Pueri.
TELEMANN: Kapitänsmusik 1724 TVWV 15:2
"Spotless Rose" - Hymns to the Virgin Mary: Music
of Paulus, Britten, McDowall, Howells, Busto, Willan and Ford.
Lovers of baroque music performed on original instruments will wish to investigate this superb Phoenix SACD. First-class all the way, with two major soloists. Ruth Ziesak is recognized as a specialist in this repertory, and Reinhold Friedrich shows his diversity—he also excels in contemporary music, recently premiering a work written for him by Wolfgang Rihm. The conductorless Berlin Barock ensemble, founded in 1986, is superb, and audio quality excellent, with performers in front. Of equal interest, perhaps, is cpo's disk of Telemann's Kapitänsmusik 1724—the oratorio Freuet euch des Herren, ihr Gerechten, and the Serenata Geliebter Aufenthalt beglückter Stille, two of his extensive compositions written in honor of the captains who were in charge of military matters in Hamburg at the time. The oratorio is based on sacred texts, the serenata intended to be "table music." These were given at festive concerts, and presumably are here performed in totally authentic style. Profuse scholarly program notes are provided in three languages. For me, a little of this goes a very long way—but should this repertory intrigue you, give it a try. SACD sound is good enough to convey the performances.
It seems odd to me that Chandos would elect to issue their recording called Spotless Rose in SACD format. This is a wide-ranging program of hymns to the Virgin Mary, a lovely program beautifully sung by the Phoenix Chorale directed by Charles Bruffy, but why this on SACD from Chandos when their multi-channel focus should be on orchestral music that shows off, and benefits from, the format? Audio quality on this new Chandos release is fine, but playing time is only 54:20.
R.E.B. (October 2008)