LABELS: Dabringhaus und Grimm
WORKS: Gioas, Re di Giuda
PERFORMER: Gesa Hoppe, Ingeborg Herzog (soprano), Katharina Kammerloher (mezzo-soprano), Hugo Mallet (tenor), Thomas Quasthoff, Jörg Hempel (baritone) Gütersloh Bach Choir, Detmold CO/Gernot Schmalfuss
CATALOGUE NO: MDG 338 0748-2
Cartellieri doesn’t appear in The New Grove, but on the strength of this azione sacra (a Sacred Action rather than an oratorio) he should. Born in Danzig (Gdansk) in 1772, he ended up in Vienna where Prince Lobkowitz became his patron in 1796, took an active role in Vienna’s musical life and died aged only 35. When Part I of Gioas, re di Giuda (Joash, King of Judah) was first performed in Vienna at a concert in March 1795, it shared the programme with Beethoven making his public debut by playing his First Piano Concerto.
The child Gioas was the only member of the family to survive a massacre ordered by his evil grandmother Atalia. At seven years old he is anointed king and his followers kill the usurper. Using a text by Metastasio, Cartellieri strings together recitatives (mostly to orchestral accompaniment) and arias with an occasional ensemble. The chorus has little to do; the orchestra includes trombones, but it is the horns for whom the virtuoso passages are reserved. On this recording Kammerloher and Quasthoff are outstanding among good soloists, of whom the composer makes considerable vocal demands. A fascinating discovery. Christopher Fifield