Fšrster

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Förster
LABELS: CPO
WORKS: Oratorios and Sonatas
PERFORMER: La Capella Ducale, Musica Fiata/Roland Wilson
CATALOGUE NO: 999 584-2
Kaspar Förster (1617-73) has been the victim of musicological chance. The scholar Arnold Schering identified his genius in 1911, declaring him superior to Carissimi, his teacher in Rome in 1633. But only now has his remarkable music been unearthed, by Roland Wilson, from the Uppsala library in Sweden. This recording reveals two motets, Monteverdian in style, voices singing phrases which instruments then repeat as if themselves empowered with words. Three sonatas are gloriously coloured, strings alternating with wind, Wilson a fluent high cornettist. A dulcian buzzes charmingly below violins in a trio sonata.

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Best, though, are three ‘Dialogues’, Carissimi-like oratorios with narrator, characters and contemplating chorus. As David meets Goliath, cornetti represent warlike trumpets, the chorus laments the ‘cruel fate of Israel’ in poignant twists of harmony, Harry van der Kamp is a fearsome and sneering Goliath. The boy David is sung by Gundula Anders, her vocal quality captivating though occasionally driven a touch flat by expressive passion. Förster himself was an exceptional bass, and Kamp plumbs a convincing bottom ‘A’ (track 4), helped a mere semitone by authentic high-pitch tuning. Alto David Cordier too is arresting, wrapped in a halo of strings in a sorrowful motet.

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A real discovery – Schering was right. George Pratt