WORKS: Betrachtung der neunten Stunde an dem Todes-Tage Jesu; Cantatas
PERFORMER: Maria Zadori (soprano), Kai Wessel, David Cordier (alto), Wilfried Jochens (tenor), Harry van der Kamp, Hans-Georg Wimmer, Stephen Schreckenberger (bass); Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert/Hermann Max
CATALOGUE NO: 999 500-2
This Passion oratorio is the latest in an engaging series of Telemann’s vocal works to have appeared on CPO. It’s virtually a companion disc to the previous release, which featured the delightful 1759 Christmas oratorio Die Hirten an der Krippe zu Bethlehem (The Shepherds at the Crib in Bethlehem). Like that disc, this one complements its oratorio with two cantatas on related themes; but whereas the Christmas pieces exuded an irresistible festive charm, the three works here focus on death and salvation and are far more sombre affairs.
Betrachtung der neunten Stunde an dem Todes-Tage Jesu (Contemplation of the Ninth Hour of the Day of Jesus’s Death) dates from 1755 and was one of the first fruits of the Indian summer that saw the aged Telemann produce a last crop of masterpieces. It’s a modest, austere work, with Telemann deftly alternating chorales, ccompagnatosan & two splendid arias for bass — ‘Wohin denn’, a spirited earthquake aria, and the poignant ‘Wo bist du’. Of the cantatas, Ein Mensch ist in seinem Leben wie Gras, first performed in 1729, boasts a lamenting tenor aria with violin obbligato, while Herr, ich habe lieb die Stdtte deines Hauses (c!708) is more upbeat and,
with four attractive solo arias, the most operatic of these pieces. Performances are consistently good – a highly commendable release. Graham Lock