De Profundis Clamavi

COMPOSERS: Bach,Bruhns,Geist and Buns,Schmelzer,Weckmann
LABELS: Ramee
PERFORMER: Peter Kooij (bass); L’ArmoniaSonora/Mieneke van der Velden

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Whether or not the distinctive, often expressively intense music of mid-to-late 17th-century Germany was a corollary of the savage Thirty Years’ War is a matter for speculation; but the devastation that it left in its wake was such that artistic sensibilities can hardly have remained unaffected.

This recital by the Netherlands bass Peter Kooij contains music set to German and Latin texts; sometimes, as in Bruhns’s cantata De profundis clamavi, it is supplicatory in its declamation but in every instance it’s grief-laden.

One of the loveliest and least known pieces on this recording is by German composer and organist Christian Geist, whose commentary on Christ’s burial, in the form of a strophic aria, yields an intimate, reflective intensity.

Kooij’s warmly coloured, well-focused voice, together with all the stylistic assurance that he demonstrates in his Bach singing, makes for rewarding listening.

From among a wealth of rewarding vocal pieces, Johann Christoph Bach’s Lament Wie bist du denn, O Gott stands out for its expressive power and for its passages of virtuosic writing.

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Two instrumental works by Biber and Schmelzer – his famous Lament upon the death of Ferdinand III is played with tenderness and restraint by L’Armonia Sonora – complete a programme of merit. Strongly commended for performance, recording and documentation alike.