Philippe Jaroussky performs works by JS Bach and Telemann

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: JS Bach,Telemann
LABELS: Erato
ALBUM TITLE: JS Bach • telemann
WORKS: JS Bach: Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust, BWV 170; Ich habe genug, BWV 82; Telemann: Der am Olberg zagende Jesus, TWV 1:364; Jesus liegt in letzten Zuegen, TWV 1:983
PERFORMER: Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor); Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
CATALOGUE NO: Erato 9029592533, Erato 2564649159 (CD plus DVD limited edition)

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Bach’s cantata Ich habe genug is among his most popular with today’s audiences. It found favour with Bach, too, since he prepared four versions of it over a period of 20 years, as well as including the celebrated aria, ‘Schlummert ein’ and its preceding recitative in the Clavierbüchlein which he compiled for his second wife Anna Magdalena. Philippe Jaroussky sings Bach’s third version of the piece which he adapted for a mezzo-soprano vocal range. Jaroussky brings expressive tenderness and eloquent phraseology to the music, both in this mainly elegiac masterpiece and in the cantata Vergnügte Ruh to whose lyrical opening aria in the character and metre of a pastorale he responds with gentle fervour. 

In both cantatas the oboe/oboe d’amore plays an important role where Ann-Kathrin Brüggemann provides a sympathetic, well-balanced partnership with the voice. In addition, BWV 170 features an extensive organ obbligato role requiring in the concluding aria some nimble fingerwork. Juan de la Rubia dexterously rises to the occasion.

The two Telemann cantatas are slighter works but skilfully crafted and with a melodic charm that affectingly mirrors a pervasive textual melancholy. Neither piece, as far as I know, has been previously recorded, and throughout Jaroussky proves an alluring advocate. In these works, both of which are scored for solo voice with chamber ensemble and also in the Bach cantatas, the greatest vocal rewards are to be found in the lower register of Jaroussky’s range. 

Altogether, this is accomplished music-making with characteristically stylish playing by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. The album is available both as a single CD, and in a limited edition which also includes a DVD of Jaroussky performing Ich habe genug, which was not yet available when this review was written.

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Nicholas Anderson