Cantatas for the Hanoverian Kings of England – TWV 1:621, 4:15, 12:11, 13:9b & 13:21
Hanna Zumsande (soprano), Dominik Wörner (bass); Barockwerk Hamburg/Ira Hochman
CPO 555 426-2 70:16 mins
Among composers of his generation Telemann’s international contacts were second to none. Three of the five cantatas featured on this recording were written for British monarchs. Two of them, for George II, date from 1760, the year of his death. Bleibe, lieber König is probably connected with the Seven Years’ War, while Lieber König, du bist tot is funeral music for the king who died later in the year. Grossmächtigster Monarch der Briten is birthday music for George III and dates from 1761 or 1762, by which time Telemann was in his early 80s.
All of the music belies the composer’s advanced age. Indeed, as we know from his better-known pieces from the 1750s and 1760s Telemann embraced wholeheartedly and convincingly new directions in music. Bleibe, lieber König and the affecting Lieber Königare scored for bass voice, trumpets, timpani and strings and consist of a recitative and two well-contrasted arias. The more extended Grossmächtigster Monarch is scored for soprano, bass, trumpet, timpani, flutes and strings and consists of recitatives, arias and a duet.
The remaining cantatas are earlier works, whose music is mainly rewarding. Of merit are two duets for soprano and bass in Du bleibest dennoch, where the supple, evenly balanced singing of Hanna Zumsande and Dominik Wörner provides unmitigated pleasure. Ira Hochman directs with vitality, and CPO deserves our thanks for providing so much hitherto neglected or undiscovered repertoire by this indefatigable composer.