Telemann: Trauer-Actus (Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüchtig); Du aber, Daniel, gehe hin

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LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Trauer-Actus (Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüchtig); Du aber, Daniel, gehe hin
PERFORMER: Cantus Cölln/Konrad Junghänel
This disc joins several other recent issues in its exploration of hitherto largely untapped sacred vocal music belonging to Telemann’s precocious youth. Indeed, two of the five pieces are thought to be products of a teenage pen. Another, ‘Ach Herr, strafe mich nicht in deinem Zorn’ (Psalm 6), may be the work which established Telemann’s early musical reputation in Leipzig while still a student at the University. Though these are pieces full of interest they almost disappear in the shadow of the funeral cantata ‘Du aber, Daniel, gehe hin’. This beautifully crafted composition was very possibly written while Telemann was in his twenties and is an early manifestation of the expressive delicacy and melodic lyricism which characterise his idiom. The performers have been able to avail themselves of Jakob Ditmar’s copy, once thought to have been destroyed in World War II, but which was among the 200-plus cantatas by Telemann belonging to the Berlin Sing-Akademie archive that recently surfaced in the Ukraine (earlier recordings depended upon a reconstruction by Gustav Fock). Cantus Cölln under its director Konrad Junghänel achieves thoughtful and polished performances which are attentive equally to literary and musical detail. Their account of the ‘Trauer-Actus’ is superior to any predecessor, and its scoring, similar at times to that of Bach’s ‘Actus tragicus’ (BWV 106) – both may well belong to the same decade – is sustained transparently and with lightly articulated inflections. Nicholas Anderson