SchŸtz, Bernard, RosenmŸller, Buxtehude, Geist, Heinrich Bach, Krieger & Hofmann

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COMPOSERS: Bernard,Buxtehude,Geist,Heinrich Bach,Krieger & Hofmann,Rosenmáller,Schátz
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: German 17th-Century Church Music
WORKS: Works by Schütz, Bernard, Rosenmüller, Buxtehude, Geist, Heinrich Bach, Krieger & Hofmann
PERFORMER: Robin Blaze (countertenor); The Parley of Instruments
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67079
Like Andreas Scholl’s 1998 Kantate CD, this oddly-titled disc actually focuses on one particular facet of German Baroque church music – the Italianate cantata for solo alto voice and obbligato instruments. Such cantatas became popular early in the 17th century and flourished well into the 18th, attracting the talents of composers such as Schütz, Rosenmüller, Buxtehude and JS Bach. Curiously, given its quality and variety, this repertoire remains little explored on disc, although a few pieces have become familiar: Buxtehude’s ‘Jubilate Domino’, for example, and Johann Christoph Bach’s lament ‘Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug hätte’, which are the only pieces to appear on both Kantate and this new collection.

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The Parley of Instruments have assembled a fascinating set of material, including Christian Geist’s spacious, sombre setting of the Lord’s Prayer, Johann Philip Kreiger’s elegant Epiphany cantata ‘O Jesu, du mein Leben’ and the exquisitely performed ‘Schlage doch’, once attributed to J. S. Bach (as Cantata 53) but now thought to be by an earlier Leipzig composer, Melchior Hoffman. Rising countertenor star Robin Blaze sings with a light, clear tone, secure technique and evident finesse, although his chaste sound means he can’t match Scholl for richness of tone or expressive power. Graham Lock