A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 12/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"MICHAEL CHANCE IS THE CONSUMMATE MUSICAL COMMUNICATOR!!!
Klaglied (Lament) sets the tone for this excellent disc by Chandos. The "aria" both sacred and secular was utilized by several mid-17th century composers such as Geist and Buxtehude whose music can be heard on this recording. By the 1660's devotion had become more subjective centered on the individual's emotional experience of God. The affective and accessible style of the aria was perfect for conveying the sweetness of personal communion with God, as well as humility before his might.
Man's relationship with God makes for "heavy" text and emotional music. But Michael Chance and the Purcell Quartet are up to the challenge. On this disc are 4 vocal works by Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707). They are: 'Jesu, meine Freud und Lust'Bux WV59 (Jesu, My Joy and My Desiring) in which we hear an ecstatic, almost mystical poem, senuously tasting Jesus' 'kiss' and 'nectar'. This is performed in a dance meter, the voice alternating with the strings.
'Wenn ich, Herr Jesu, habe dich,'BuxWV107 (If I have you, Lord Jesus) again stresses the believer's personal relationship with Jesus, this time in a simple strophic song with string ritornello.
'Klaglied, BuxWV76/2'(Lament) in which the emotion intensifies as Buxtehude sets his own elegy on the death of his father in 1674. The 'Klaglied' has a simple but plaintive tune with many heartfelt descending leaps and has a contrapuntal string accompaniment.
'Jubilate Domino,BuxWV64' is a big contrast to the previous works; in fact, it is a virtuoso showpiece,perhaps written for an Italian castrato. It uses the concerted style, with the singer chasing a virtuostic viola di gamba part through the musical texture. I must mention that this rendition is the most romantic that I have ever heard, and I have several recordings of this particular work. The strings of the Purcell quartet outdo themselves in the lushness of their playing and Chance follows suit with his own seductive interpretation; incredibly exciting to hear.
Christian Geist(1650?-1711) in his work 'Vater unser, der du bist im Himmel' (The Lord's Prayer) did not use the aria style, but rather sets the Lutheran chorale that paraphrases 'the Lord's Prayer'.
The three remaining vocal pieces on this disc are by central German composers: 'Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott'SWV447(Have pity on me, O Lord)by Heinrich Schutz is one of his few settings of a Chorale. He accompanies it with a rich, dissonant string texture.
'Auf,Last uns den Herren loben'(come let us praise the Lord)Johann Michael Bach composed this morning hymn in the fashionable, tuneful aria style, thanking God for deliverance from perils of life and war.
'Ach, dafs ich Wassers gnug, hatte'(Oh that I had tears enough) Johann Christoph Bach sets a deeply penitential text drawn from the psalms and the Lamentations of Jeremiah.
Of the many recordings of these arias, and I have 2 others, this is the BEST!. Michael Chance with his vast experience singing all genre of music comes through in a big way when he sings this very difficult and demanding music. He is a master at conveying the wide and varied emotional content that this music demands. Combine this with his flawless diction and his UNIQUE tone quality, an you know that you are getting the perfect performance. Of course, he has a marvelous group on this disc with him : the Purcell Quartet. They are top-notch in every way, able to read every nuance of the music, not only when accompanying, but also in soloing. What a wonderful treat for the early music lover!"