WORKS: Das neugeborne Kindelein; Der Herr ist mit mir; Fürwahr, er trug unsere Krankheit; Alles, was ihr tut; Magnificat anima mea
PERFORMER: Johan Reuter (bass); Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir, The Dufay Collective/Ebbe Munk
CATALOGUE NO: 8.224160
Though much of Buxtehude’s music lay forgotten for nearly 250 years, he is now recognised as one of the 17th-century’s greatest composers. His vocal music is particularly exquisite – witness the cantata recordings by Ton Koopman, Konrad Junghänel and Jos van Immerseel, or Andreas Scholl’s version of Klaglied, the beautiful lament Buxtehude composed for his father’s funeral.
Dacapo’s series is proving tardy. We’ve had to wait four years for Vol. 2, it’s barely 50 minutes in length and eight of those are given to a Magnificat long known not to be by Buxtehude at all! Still, the genuine works here are estimable, showing his skill at both working within and subtly transforming the traditional German repertoire of aria, sacred concerto and chorale cantata. Perhaps the most impressive pieces are the Passion concerto ‘Fürwahr, es trug unsere Krankheit’, with its dramatic solo parts for bass and soprano, and the terse ‘Der Herr ist mit mir’, its extended ‘Alleluia’ a lively chaconne.
Performances are generally sensitive, though Ebbe Munk favours leisurely tempi and the sound is soft-focus, thanks partly to the acoustic, partly to a choir singing works that, like Bach’s a few decades later, were probably intended to be sung one-voice-per-part. Graham Lock