Heinichen: Lamentations; Passion Music

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COMPOSERS: Heinichen
LABELS: Archiv
WORKS: Lamentations; Passion Music
PERFORMER: Mechthild Georg (soprano), Axel Köhler (alto), Jörg Dürmüller, Scot Weir (tenor), Raimund Nolte (bass); Musica Antiqua Köln/Reinhard Goebel
Reinhard Goebel and his Musica Antiqua Köln caused quite a stir with their release of concertos by the Dresden composer, Heinichen, a couple of years ago. Now they follow it up with a programme of his sacred vocal music. The most spaciously conceived works are the three Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet, and the German Oratorio, both written by Protestant Heinichen for the Catholic Dresden court in 1724. One of the striking features of this music is its wide stylistic range and far-flung terms of reference. If it does not uniformly engage our attention, Heinichen compensates us with harmonic ideas of sometimes striking originality, often far removed from those of his contemporary, Telemann. There is a marked idiomatic polarity in the Lamentations between an older, archaic manner of declamation and another which hints strongly at early Classicism and which is often imaginatively accompanied. In the German Oratorio Heinichen offers us a more sustained example of his skill in deploying instrumental colour and enlivening the text with affective rhythms and vocal declamation. There are some outstandingly vivid moments here, among them the relentless lashing chords which accompany Peter’s betrayal of Jesus (‘Ach mein Mund’). All is performed with finesse and imagination.