Buxtehude: Sacred Cantatas, BuxWV 10, 31, 34, 41, 50 & 79

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COMPOSERS: Buxtehude
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Sacred Cantatas, BuxWV 10, 31, 34, 41, 50 & 79
PERFORMER: Cantus Cölln/Konrad Junghänel
There is a rich variety of formal types and styles to be found in Buxtehude’s sacred vocal music. Among the most favoured are elaborate solo arias with instrumental support, hymns or poems with instrumental ritornellos, dialogue cantatas and cantatas grounded in the cantus-firmus technique. Cantus Cölln has chosen pieces which reflect both Buxtehude’s versatility as a technician and, above all, his powers of invention. One of the most impressive pieces on the disc is the chorale cantata Herzlich lieb hab’ich Dich which demonstrates very well Buxtehude’s skill in word-painting. This colourful gift in affective writing is conveyed with comparable strength, though by somewhat different means, in the dialogue cantata Gott, hilf mir. Buxtehude’s sense of drama is heard to effect yet again in the finely pictorial Ich suchte des Nachts, a scene from The Song of Solomon. The voices of Cantus Cölln are eloquent advocates for this superb but scarcely known repertoire, only the upper strings occasionally falling short of the highest standards maintained elsewhere. Trumpets, cornetts and oboes introduce frequent dashes of colour while a vibrant and rich-textured continuo group provides admirable support throughout. A rewarding issue. Nicholas Anderson