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Telemann: Brockes Passion / Jacobs, et al

Album Summary

>Telemann, Georg Philipp : Brockes Passion, TV 5 no 1
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

"This Brockes-Passion certainly stands as a masterpiece, both as a compelling musical work and as a profoundly affecting dramatic rendering of the Passion story... the performers are all excellent - not always the case in productions involving so many performers and of this length. But then, there is no finer or more experienced chorus, orchestra, and conductor in baroque repertoire than we have here, and together they and the well-chosen soloists have taken a neglected masterpiece and created another--a standard-setting performance that not only provides substantial listening pleasure but commands renewed respect for Telemann's stature as a composer of both church music and musical drama. The vibrant sound and ideally situated listening perspective, along with the superb notes and elegant packaging complete an essential--and thoroughly enlightening--release for all fans of baroque music." -ClassicsToday (10/10)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
The Hamburg poet Barthold Heinrich Brockes wrote the Passion oratorio libretto Der für dieSünde der Welt gemarterte und sterbende Jesus for Reinhard Keiser to set to music in 1712. Handel composed a setting in London about four years later (probably for Hamburg), and in April 1716 Telemann's version was first performed in Frankfurt. The broody opening Sinfonia makes one think of Haydn's late orchestral writing at its most daring. The Berlin AAM's playing is lean and angular but the 35-strong RIAS Chamber Choir seems overpowering at times, and it would be good to hear this work performed by smaller and more integrated forces.

René Jacobs divides the soprano arias for the Daughter of Zion and the Faithful Soul between Birgitte Christensen and Lydia Teuscher (the booklet fails to indicate what singer performs which arias): 'Was Bärentatzen, Löwenklauen' has snappy percussive horn fanfares, and several contrasting arias during the scene of Christ's scourging are among the highest points of the oratorio. Marie-Claude Chappuis's singing of Judas's guilt-wracked scene, in which the betrayer resolves to commit suicide, is extraordinary. The trio 'O Donnerwort!' crackles with theatrical velocity.

Johannes Weisser is a grainy Jesus, but his declamatory singing in the volatile 'Erwäg, ergrimmte Natterbrut' is impressive. Donát Havár does not have a mellifluous timbre but is a good communicator of Peter's texts. Jacobs paces the oratorio as if it is a vivid religious opera: he omits six arias and two recitatives 'for reasons of dramatic coherence'. There are moments of brittle intensity that could have afforded more gentleness, but Jacobs's committed vision provides us with a valuable glimpse of Telemann's brilliant imagination.

BBC Music Magazine
Jacobs... has mustered, with characteristic discernment, a highly responsive cast of soloists. Daniel Behle is a communicative Evangelist, responding alertly to Telemann's elegantly shaped recitative... As Jesus, Johannes Weisser brings warmth and appropriate gravitas. The remaining cast, fresh-voiced, lightly articulated and agile, gives uninterrupted pleasure, and that goes for the excellent RIAS Chamber Choir too.

The Telegraph
Telemann's musical setting highlights the drama with brilliant orchestral touches. Throughout, the orchestral playing is amazingly vivid and Birgitte Christensen as Mary is thrilling.

Sunday Times
A string of beautifully varied arias are leavened by chorals, and there is an astonishing trio for Three Believing Souls, describing the earthquake after the death of Christ. This is the avant-garde music of the period by an ever-inquiring, always rewarding composer.


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Works Details

>Telemann, Georg Philipp : Brockes Passion, TV 5 no 1
  • Performers: Daniel Behle (Tenor); Marie-Claude Chappuis (Mezzo-soprano); Birgitte Christensen (Soprano); Donat Havar (Tenor); Lydia Teuscher (Soprano); Johannes Weisser (Baritone)
  • Conductor: René Jacobs
  • Running Time: 7 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1716