JC Bach, Geist, Buxtehude, SchŸtz & JM Bach

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COMPOSERS: Buxtehude,Geist,JC Bach,Schátz & JM Bach
LABELS: Chandos Chaconne
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Klaglied
WORKS: German sacred concertos
PERFORMER: Michael Chance (countertenor); Purcell Quartet, etc
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 0675
Readers inclined towards the expressively intense musical inflections of post Thirty Years’ War north and central German angst will not be disappointed by this programme. It has been discerningly assembled to include the greatest names of the German 17th century – Schütz and Buxtehude – as well as those of two of Bach’s talented forebears, Johann Christian and Johann Michael, and that of the seldom encountered Christian Geist, an itinerant organist whose life was centred round some of the Baltic towns and capitals.

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Two affectingly poignant aria-laments frame the Purcell Quartet’s menu; one of them is the comparatively well-known Klaglied which Buxtehude wrote on the death of his father. The other is JC Bach’s outstandingly beautiful ‘Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug hätte’ (O, that I had tears enough). JS Bach was later to describe the music of this member of the clan as ‘profound’. It is not hard to understand why, for this piece is sustained throughout with an expressive intensity whose heart-aching modulations are mellowed by gentle lyricism.

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The pervading melancholy of the programme, sensitively realised by Michael Chance, is dispelled in two arias by Buxtehude of a lighter hue, and two of his rewarding string sonatas, these for two violins, viola da gamba and continuo. A delightful disc. Nicholas Anderson