Collection: German Baroque Cantatas

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Buxtehude,Erlebach,Johann Christoph Bach,Legrenzi & Albertini,Rovetta,Schutz,Tunder
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Works by Schütz, Buxtehude, Rovetta, Tunder, Johann Christoph Bach, Erlebach, Legrenzi &Albertini
PERFORMER: Andreas Scholl (countertenor); Basel Consort, Concerto di Viole
CATALOGUE NO: HMC 901651

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This imaginative anthology draws on the riches of German sacred vocal music in the generations before Bach, ranging from two of Schütz’s Kleine geistliche Konzerte of 1639 to an operatic aria by Philipp Heinrich Erlebach from 1710. Even the Italian composers find a rightful place in the programme: the sonatas by Legrenzi and Albertini included as instrumental interludes both belong to northern European traditions; and the Salve regina by Giovanni Rovetta, Monteverdi’s successor at St. Mark’s, Venice, is sung in an adaptation by the Lübeck organist Franz Tunder as Salve mi Jesu, which removes its Marian associations to make it suitable for Protestant worship. (Confusingly, the booklet credits Rovetta with a different piece by Tunder – a blot on the otherwise handsome presentation.)

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Scholl sings throughout with a purity of tone, technical command and attention to detail which recall the great Alfred Deller. He encompasses with equal conviction lamentation, as in the fine Ach, dass ich Wassers g’nug hätte by Johann Christoph Bach (whom his cousin’s son Johann Sebastian considered ‘a profound composer’), and rejoicing, as in Buxtehude’s brilliant Jubilate Domino. With strong, expressive support from the viols of Concerto di Viole and the violins, lute and organ of the Basel Consort, this is a disc to cherish. Anthony Burton