Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Georg Philipp Telemann, Konrad Junghänel, Cantus Cölln|
G.P. Telemann: Trauer-Actus Canatas
Genres: Pop, Classical
This collection of five cantatas by Telemann (out of the nearly 1,500 he composed!) are all dark-hued and contemplative. They are concerned mostly with death, faith in God to the end, life's ephemeral nature, and the desi... more »
This collection of five cantatas by Telemann (out of the nearly 1,500 he composed!) are all dark-hued and contemplative. They are concerned mostly with death, faith in God to the end, life's ephemeral nature, and the desire for a clean soul. But out of such somber, austere subject matter comes not only very beautiful music, but greater variety than one might suppose. In "Sei getreu bis in den tod" (Be faithful unto death), Telemann gives us four arias for separate voice types, and while the accompanying instrumentation remains sparse--organ and strings--he varies the moods by subtle shifts in tempi, the occasional use of pizzicato strings against a solo violin, and so forth. When a chorus is called for, Junghänel uses the five soloists. The effect is very intimate and just right for the meditative quality of the works. In "Du aber, Daniel, gehe hin" (Go thy way, Daniel), he adds a flute and oboe to the mix and the beautiful instruments-only start to the work is alone worth the price of the CD (although the lively fugue that follows is a stunner, too). The performances are ideal--pious without being droopy, and handsomely sung and played. If you like Baroque religious music with more than a hint of gravity, this is bound to please you. --Robert Levine
The Young German Telemann
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 07/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Thomas Carlyle is still around, with his grim Victorian hero worship, and nowhere have his Great Man theories of history thrived more than in musicology. I grew up with the Three B's - Bach, Beethoven, Brahms - though an antechamber of greatness was reserved for Wagner. The canonization of Bach really began with Felix Mendelssohn, and it's sad but true than Protestant chauvinism and German nationalism have contributed to a view of musical history that regards Bach as an isolated supernova which occurred before the Big Bang of Romanticism. I certainly don't wish to subtract an iota of Bach's luster. I've worshiped Bach all my life as faithfully as he worshiped his image of God. But Bach was not isolated; he was embedded in a rich musical culture where fine composers sprouted from every substantial town. Bach was 'primus inter pares' -- first among equals -- and sharing recognition with some of the others will not diminish his glory.
One of the 'pares' was Georg Philipp Telemann (1680-1757). In fact, Telemann's reputation in his lifetime far eclipsed Bach's, and in our lifetimes some of Bach's cantatas have been discovered to be really works by Telemann. The five cantatas on this CD could easily be mistaken for Bach... or one of the older Bachs, or Pachelbel, or Buxtehude, or more particularly Kuhnau, who was Telemann's immediate model. These are chamber cantatas, written for small ensembles of instruments; the choruses are sung by the five various soloists, nicely guaranteeing better-than-choral ensemble. Such cantatas were written for normal occasions of Lutheran worship rather than for festivities. Thus they are more devotional and meditative than celebratory. The instruments include two violins, viola, cello, violone, three gambas, oboe, four recorders, and chamber organ, although not all the instruments are heard on every cantata.
Konrad Junghänel and Cantus Cöln perform these pieces in 'echt deutsch'(pure German)fashion. All the singers are in fact German-speakers, and the enunciation is brisk; if you speak German, you won't need the notes. But Junghänel's interpretation is also 'echt deutsch' to my ears - 'mässig'(massive/measured)in tempi and dynamics. This is not a bad thing for a batch of cantatas composed by a very young Telemann for performance in Hildesheim and Leipzig. Two of the pieces may date from Telemann's eighteenth or nineteenth years. If you want to compare, you can hear a more effervescent Italianate performance on a CD of Telemann Chamber Cantatas by the Vivaldi specialists Musica Pacifica with sopranos Christine Brandes and Jennifer Lane. Me, I hear beauties in both styles."
Beautiful if slightly tepid Telemann
Michael Rigsby | Madison, CT USA | 03/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Telemann is known today too well for his instrumental chamber music and too little for his wonderful vocal compositions, which were composed primarily for church use (although his opera Orpheus, available in a terrific recording from Harmonia Mundi, is also a revelation). This recording of cantatas on themes of sorrow and death, "Trauer-Actus" is beautifully performed in the meticulous style one expects from Konrad Junhaenel and Cantus Coelln. The instrumental performances are particularly fine. My only complaint is that, despite the themes of death, the overall musical approach would benefit from a more energized approach. There is a slightly "careful" quality that, too my ear, ultimatley undermines the theme of faith, which is ultimately what the texts are about. An alternative approach to the cantata "Du aber Daniel, gehe hin" can be heard on Ricercar's series, Deutsche Barock Kantaten, vol. VI (RIC 079061)."
John Middleton | Auckland, NZ | 03/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What wonderful performances these are, of a handful of Telemann's beguilling sacred cantatas. There is surprising variety within those chosen for this disc, even though their texts all share the common theme of desire for death.
Telemann's are generally simpler than the cantatas of Bach, but no less enjoyable. In fact (dare I say it?) I feel that the second presented canata (Du aber, Daniel, gehe hin) is worthy of the first (and greatest) of 'the 3 Bs' himself! It is interesting to note that at least two of Bach's canatas are thought to be by Telemann. (BWV 141 and 160)
If you can cope with the (usual) lugubrious texts then this CD is well worth getting for the sheer beauty of both music and performance. Keep them coming!