Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Johann Pachelbel, London Baroque, Emma Kirkby|
Pachelbel: Arien & Concerti
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
The Composer Shot Out Of A Canon
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 02/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Soprano Emma Kirkby is a genuine superstar, better known in some circles than any breast-baring booty-wagging pop singer. Scoff if you like, but those circles include people of education, wealth, and influence. These days, however, the Baroque musicians are the rebel individualists and the pop music icons are cookie-cutter conformists mass marketed by the industry. Emma's voice is not as meltingly beautiful as it was twenty years ago, but her tuning and flexibility are as spectacular as ever.
Bass Klaus Mertens is also a familiar voice from the many Bach performances he's recorded; his strength is a kind of sturdy majesty, shown to great effect on the longest tarck of this CD, Pachelbel's "Spiritual Concert" Ach Herr wie ist meiner Feinde so viel. Alto Kai Wessel and Tenor Jan Kobow are also Germans, making the name of this crafty ensemble, London Baroque, somewhat spurious. The instrumentalists include five out of eight Germans, and the performance was recorded in Heilsbronn and marketed by a company in Bamberg. Yes, fellow anglophones, the center of gravity of Early Music has shifted mightily from England to the Continent.
Johann Pachelbel is so well-known for his Canon (which any gigging musician charges double for performing at weddings) that it may take greater persuasive powers than mine to convince listeners that he was a supremely gifted composer of vocal music, second to none except perhaps JS Bach. The pieces chosen for this CD are brilliant miniatures - arias for one or two voices accompanied by a few virtuosic instruments (violins, violas, or trumpet) plus basso continuo. This was a repertoire perfected immortally by Heinrich Schuetz; interestingly, London Baroque has chosen an aria for soprano and violin for the first track, Christ ist erstanden, which sounds so much like Schuetz that I had to reach for the notes to be sure of what I was hearing. Pachelbel lived two long generations after Schuetz.
The other 13 arias sound considerably more like Buxtehude or one of the Bachs, and all but the alto/tenor duets will bear the comparison. Texts are included, but only in German; anglophones, live with it! or else reassert your significance in the market and the concert hall. The violinists, Ingrid Seifert and Richard Gwilt, were unknown to me but perform with flair and precision. The continuo is exactly what it should be, discreet, precise, and resonantly supportive. This is a first-rate production, which I can recommend for cognoscenti as well as for folks who claim "not to know much about classical music but to like it.""