Kindermann, Johann Christoph Bach, Geist, etc

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COMPOSERS: etc,Geist,Johann Christoph Bach,Kindermann
LABELS: Signum
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Sacred Songs of Sorrow
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Rodrigo del Pozo (tenor); Charivari Agréable Simfonie/Kah-Ming Ng
Chilean-born tenor Rodrigo del Pozo has chosen a selection mainly of mid-Baroque German sacred songs for his programme. These are interspersed with instrumental pieces for varying combinations of strings (violin, viols, keyboards and theorbo) played by the Oxford-based ensemble Charivari Agréable Simfonie. It is not difficult to sense in the spirit of these sorrowful texts the aftermath of the Thirty Years War, during which Germany experienced not only savagery but also disease. Basso continuo, concertato techniques and monody, imported from Italy provided 17th-century composers such as Kindermann, who is well represented here, with a wealth of means by which to express the Lutheran faith. A single exception is afforded by a Tenebrae Lesson from a set which Belgian Catholic composer Fiocco composed in 1733. He is, furthermore, the only 18th-century composer to feature here. The best-known piece in this affecting programme is Johann Christoph Bach’s lament ‘Ach, dass ich Wassers g’nug hätte’. Full of bold and heart-rending harmonies by the most expressively gifted of JS Bach’s forebears, it never fails to touch my innermost sensibilities. Del Pozo discloses many subtle nuances in his singing, while the instrumental playing – the gamba part is wonderfully rich – is full of rhetorical gesture, imaginative and sonorous. This is, for me at least, the high-point in a fascinating, emotionally satisfying programme, several of whose songs were quite new to me. A rewarding release. Nicholas Anderson