Buxtehude: Vocal Works 7

Album title:
Buxtehude: Vocal Works 7
Composer(s):
Buxtehude
Works:
Chorales, arias, ciacconas, concertos and a cantata
Performer:
Amaryllis Dieltiens, Gerlinde Samann, Dorothee Wohlgemuth (sopranos), Maarten Engeltjes (alto), Tilman Lichdi (tenor), Klaus Mertens (bass); Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra/Ton Koopman
Label:
Challenge Classics
Catalogue Number:
CC72256
Performance:
starstarstarstarstar
Recording :
starstarstarstarstar
5
Reviewer:
BBC Music Magazine
Buxtehude: Vocal Works 7

The previous release in Ton Koopman’s ongoing survey of Buxtehude’s complete surviving works tackled one of the Lubeck master’s best-known settings: the cantata cycle Membra Jesu Nostri. Now follows a double-disc set of relative rarities offering a tantalisingly varied snapshot of Buxtehude’s first two decades at the Hanseatic city’s Marienkirche. On no account be deterred by the prosaic title ‘Vocal Works 7’. Riches abound: from the pious extended elaborations of Lutheran chorales – including the austere Mit Fried und Freud composed on the death of Buxtehude’s father in 1674, with its heartfelt companion Klaglied – to the Italianate vivacity of Quemadmodum desiderat cervus, an irresistible ciaccona setting of carefree exuberance which tenor Tilman Lichdi performs with mellifluous brio. Arias to German and Latin texts, sacred concertos and a funeral ‘Dialog’ are also included, ensuring that all the major genres of late 17th-century Lutheran music are touched on. Assisted by a compellingly intimate recording, Koopman and his Amsterdam forces get the scale of the music just right, providing a compelling example of how less can be more. Voices and instruments – including up to six gambas – weave a seductive skein of tender music-making as responsive to the supple penitential pleading of Nimm von uns, Herr as it is to the rapturous soaring soprano dueting of Laudate pueri. And lute and dulcian enrich Koopman’s suave, sometimes playful, organ continuo. Quite simply, a must-hear.

Paul Riley

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