Graupner: Cantatas

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: Christophorus
ALBUM TITLE: Graupner: Cantatas
WORKS: Cantatas GWV 1145/11, GWV 1102/11b, GWV 1106/19, GWV 114/11
PERFORMER: Miriam Feuersinger (soprano); Capricornus Consort Basel


Miriam Feuersinger’s debut recording includes four world premieres: as her opening Angst und Jammer (Dread and Woe), soars with silvery clarity above an anguished chromatic string counterpoint, I wonder how much more exquisite Graupner still lies hidden. In fact, he wrote over 1,400 cantatas!

If his employer, Ernst Ludwig, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, had released him, Graupner would have beaten JS Bach to the post of Leipzig cantor, possibly at huge loss to our musical heritage – Graupner was incredibly prolific while in Darmstadt. Graupner’s musical means – whether harmonies or melodies – are simple. He mostly treats the voice lyrically. GWV1144/11 opens with oboe chorale above motivic strings, before Feuersinger takes over in ethereal mode, pure and vibrato-free, to produce a moment of pure magic.

Graupner’s experience employed as harpsichordist at the Hamburg opera, with Keiser and the young Handel, exerted a strong influence on his musical structures. In several cases, he inserts a recitative between an aria and its repeat, and freely mixes continuo-only with accompanied recitative, including passionate repetitions of phrases, reserved in opera for high drama. His most care-free moments – the ‘sweet laughter’ of a ‘lamenting heart’ – match the charming naivety of Handel during his Italian years.

Excellently recorded – this is quite simply a life-enhancing disc.


George Pratt