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Telemann: Baroque Cantatas / Kammerchor Bad Homburg; Johann Rosenmüller Ensemble

Notes & Reviews:

Georg Philipp Telemann remains one of the most fascinating and yet controversial composers of the Late Baroque. Some ridicule him for his prolific but reputedly superficial output while others view him as a universal musical genius. The cantatas by Telemann featured on this release provide an insight into over 50 years of creative activity. All works featured here were written for the Reformation Day and the feast of St Michael (29th September). Three of the five cantatas have a magnificent orchestration with trumpets and timpani. Performing these magnificent works are the acclaimed ensembles Kammerchor der Erloserkirche Bad Homburg and the Johann Rosenmuller Ensemble.


Telemann's mighty cantatas
This release features five cantatas that Georg Philipp Telemann wrote for Reformation Sunday (more or less).

October 31 wasn't officially fixed as Reformation Day until the 19th century. Nevertheless, as early as 1617 many German states were using the first Sunday after October 31st to commemorate Luther's establishment of the protestant church.

Whether celebrating Reformation Sunday or the Feast of St. Michael (also around the same time), these five cantatas are fine examples of Telemann's sacred writing. The works span about fifty years, and development of Telemann's style is dramatic.

The earliest work, "Jesu wirst Du bald ersheinen" is a relatively sparse and conservative work from 1711. The use of cornet and trombone harkens back to the renaissance, giving the cantata an air of ancient timelessness. The basis of the work is a tune by Martin Luther, "Es ist gewisslich an der Zelt." The soloists' material is tuneful but restrained.

What a contrast to the 1757 "Welch’Getümmel erschüttert den Himmel." If "Jesu wirst Du bald" was unassuming and introspective, "Welch' Getümmel" is unabashedly celebratory and triumphant. In this cantata, trumpets and tympani provide flourishes and fanfares. The bass soloist sings highly ornamented arias. The choral writing is a blend of imaginative counterpoint and full-bodied harmonies.

The other works also have their merits, not least of which are the performances of the soloists. Soprano Simone Schwark and bass Markus Flaig deliver a seamless duet in "Wertes Zion," their voices blending beautifully. And alto Johanna Krell's warm, intimate singing of "Kraft und Worte" I found especially charming.

The Kammerchor der Erlöserkirche Bad Homburg has a smooth, rich ensemble blend and sometimes sounds bigger than it is (a real plus for "Welch’Getümmel").

Four of the five works on this release are world premiere recordings, and I think they all deserve a hearing. Telemann's best known for writing a lot of music. This release, featuring works spanning his career, reminds us just how good most of it is.
Submitted on 03/09/17 by RGraves321 
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