God mottakelse av Vol. 2

I musikktidsskriftet Fanfare Magazine får Volume 2 i serien “Harmonischer Gottesdienst” god omtalle av Jerry Dubins:

“The arias are, without exception, tuneful, bracing, invigorating, wonderfully entertaining, and great fun.
So perfect a reproduction of the female alto voice is Franz Vitzthun’s countertenor that even a really close listening might not convince you it belonged to a male. He is truly amazing. And I have nothing but praise for the instrumentalists comprising the Bergen Barokk. Not a foot, or, should I say, a finger goes amiss. This is a brilliant release, right down to its booklet containing a scholarly essay, complete texts, and documentation on the instruments, performance materials, and the editions used, all in three languages. If I were giving an award for Baroque disc of the year, this one would win it. Urgently recommended.”

Vi gjengir hele anmeldelsen her:

TELEMANN

Erwachet zum Kriegen. Erquickendes Wunder der ewigen Gnade. Jauchzet, frolocket, der Himmel ist offen. Halt ein mit deinem Wetterstrahle. Ist Widerwärtigkeit den Frommen eigen. Liebe, die vom Himmel stammet

• Bergen Barokk (period instruments) • TOCCATA 57 (55:27 )

This is Volume 2 in a planned cycle of Georg Philipp Telemann’s complete collection of 72 sacred cantatas for the liturgical year, published under the imposing title Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst, oder Geistliche Cantaten zum allgemeinen Gebrauche. Volume 1 was reviewed by Brian Robins in 30:3.
The title was intended to elucidate the dual-use purpose of these works. Like Bach’s liturgical cantatas, Telemann’s were performable at Lutheran church services; but more modest in length and in numbers of performing forces required, as well as far less technically demanding of instrumentalists and singers, unlike Bach’s, they were primarily written for private, at-home devotional singing and playing. To that end, Telemann’s cantatas became available by subscription in 1725, making them the first complete cycle of cantatas for the liturgical year to be published.
I use the word “modest” advisedly. Each cantata, in effect, is a vocal concerto consisting of three movements—a moderate to fast-paced aria, a rhythmically free, declamatory, extended recitative, corresponding to a slow movement, and a moderate to fast-paced concluding aria. The performing forces employed are a single solo voice—in this case, that of countertenor Franz Vitzthum—and a trio of instruments—here played by Bjarte Eike, violin; Hans Knut Sveen, harpsichord and organ; and Markku Luolajan-Mikkola, cello. What makes the vocal parts less technically challenging than those in Bach’s cantatas is not that the arias and recitatives are in themselves fashioned for beginners (certainly the concluding arias, “Flüchtige Schatten,” from the Cantata Jauchzet, frolocket and “Herr der starken Himmelsheere” from the Cantata Liebe, die vom Himmel stammet require more than a learner’s permit). Rather, it’s the way in which Telemann sets voice against instruments. Bach, more often than not, treats his voices as independent lines that engage in contrapuntal dialogue with the instruments. There is not always pitch support or rhythmic orientation for the singer, who is set against the instrumental voices rather than with them. In contrast, Telemann’s settings are of a more homophonic nature. Even when the instruments engage in furioso flurries, there is a rhythmic and harmonic regularity that always coincides with the voice on the beat to lend support and orientation. In this, Telemann’s manner and style of aria setting strikes me as closer to that of Handel than to that of Bach.
That aside, Telemann’s musical invention is infectious. Except for the recitatives, which, by nature, take on a more serious tone, the arias, like many of Bach’s, make no distinction between a sacred and a secular style. If you didn’t know that the words were about religious faith and praise for God and Jesus, you might just as easily think you were listening to a late Baroque opera aria about a young man defending the honor of his lover or some such other peacock posturing. The arias are, without exception, tuneful, bracing, invigorating, wonderfully entertaining, and great fun.
So perfect a reproduction of the female alto voice is Franz Vitzthun’s countertenor that even a really close listening might not convince you it belonged to a male. He is truly amazing. And I have nothing but praise for the instrumentalists comprising the Bergen Barokk. Not a foot, or, should I say, a finger goes amiss. This is a brilliant release, right down to its booklet containing a scholarly essay, complete texts, and documentation on the instruments, performance materials, and the editions used, all in three languages. If I were giving an award for Baroque disc of the year, this one would win it. Urgently recommended.

Jerry Dubins

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