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Telemann: Cantatas - Easter, Ascension, Pentecost

Telemann / Collegium Vocale Siegen
Release Date: 02/28/2012 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 98624   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Georg PoplutzAngela FroemerStefanie WustJens Hamann
Conductor:  Ulrich Stötzel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Siegen Bach Collegium VocaleHannover Hofkapelle
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

TELEMANN Ich weiß, daß neub Erlöser lebt, TWV 1:873. Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen, TWV 1:642. Daran ist erschienen die Liebe Gottes, TWV 1:165k Ulrich Stötzel, cond; Stefanie Wüst (sop); Angela Froemer (alt); Georg Poplutz (ten); Jens Hamann (bs); Collegium Vocale Siegen; Hannoversche Hofapelle (period instruments) HÄNSSLER 98.624 (48:51 Read more class="ARIAL12">Text and Translation)

The entire corpus of Telemann cantatas, a vast and largely uncharted realm, continues to be explored with this disc of three festive works that were written as part of a cycle of cantatas for Frankfurt that the composer began in 1716 and extended up through 1720. This forms part of a series by conductor Ulrich Stötzel to expand the availability of the vast and equally unknown territory of the Baroque cantata of the 18th century, a process that is surely eventually to lay to rest the idea that Johann Sebastian Bach was pretty much way out ahead of the pack writing works that were unique to the period. Indeed, the music in these three works will remind one of Bach, showing that whatever he wrote both for Weimar and Leipzig was part of an active and vibrant tradition that permeated most Lutheran centers during the period, extending until the end of the century, though in diminishing quantity.

Stötzel has chosen three very different works for this disc, part of a series of concerts broadcast on West German Radio and released on the Hänssler label. The first work, intended to be performed for the second day of Easter, is more reflective, with a subdued accompaniment and a trio of arias interspersed by recitatives and flanked by the usual choruses. After a nice, flowing introduction, the first is a declamatory statement into which the solo bass and tenor insert brief commentary, the former with a forceful walking bass and the latter with violins scurrying about in the background. The oboes are handled carefully and distinctly from the strings, as one might expect of a good orchestrator like Telemann, providing textural and emphatic contrasts to the string figuration. Sometimes the composer can sound old fashioned, as in the second tenor aria, which has no real display for the voice, and oboes that move along colla parte with the violins in a single contrasting line. In the second cantata, Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen , the clarion call of the trumpet is echoed by the chorus in the opening movement, ensuring that the jubilant text by Erdmann Neumeister is understood by all. This line, nicely played by Friedemann Immer, weaves in and out of the texture, lending the sound a Handelian quality. This also extends to the call-and-response chorus “Denn Gott ist König,” where, after what seems a rather solemn chorale-like introduction, the bass and trumpet forcefully declare “Lobsinget” (Sing Praises), whereupon a second chorus appears with some of the most impressive melismatic choral writing of the time. When one gets to the aria “Was frag’ ich nach der Welt?” another trumpet is added in a concerto-like display with the soprano that is positively Vivaldian in scope and degree of difficulty. Here, soprano Stefanie Wüst mirrors the brilliant, clear tone of the clarino trumpets with ease and precision. The final cantata begins with a tough solo for the recorder, which initially sounds like an organ stop but soon begins to behave like a concerto soloist with eloquent runs, ornamentation, and technical difficulties, all handled brilliantly by performer Annette Berryman. Wüst’s soprano aria “Jesus ist und bleibet mein” features a pastoral tune in the oboes, against which Telemann contrasts cascading triplets in the violins, an effective use of counter-rhythms and contrast. In all, these are highly original and skilled works, just what one would expect of Telemann, and moreover his focus on the homophonic chorus and lack of real counterpoint in all but one or two minor spots make all three works seem several decades ahead of when they were written.

Stötzel follows a rather nice trend in period-instrument performances of late wherein he lets the tempos vary according to textual Affekt , thus probably coming much closer to Telemann’s intentions, as well as giving these performances a wonderfully dramatic interpretation. The chorus often seems a bit reverberant, but given that it is probably a bit larger than the usual small one-on-a-part ensemble that I’ve heard recently in cantata recordings, this lends it a distinctive depth. The soloists are all excellent, with clear tone and excellent interpretive skills. All is in tune (though there are a few blats in the trumpet initially, and the second trumpet player in the aria “Was frag’ ich nach der Welt” is not named), and I am impressed by the precise phrasing. Alto Angela Froemer’s voice seems more mezzo than a true alto, but I like the lighter tone and the blend with the darker tone of tenor Georg Poplutz in the final duet (somehow listed as an aria) in the third cantata, “Heil’ger Geist, ins Himmels Throne.” All in all this is an excellent disc. The only recording I can find of any of these works is the cantata Daran ist erschienen in a performance by Hermann Max’s Rheinische Kantorei from 1992, and that I found quite adequate for its time, though cautious. Here, we have a wonderful replacement and Telemann lovers will surely want to have this disc in their collections.

FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

Ich weiss, dass mein Erlöser lebt by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Georg Poplutz (Tenor), Angela Froemer (Alto), Stefanie Wust (Soprano),
Jens Hamann (Bass)
Conductor:  Ulrich Stötzel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Siegen Bach Collegium Vocale,  Hannover Hofkapelle
Period: Baroque 
Daran ist erschienen die Liebe Gottes, TV 1 no 165 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Georg Poplutz (Tenor), Angela Froemer (Alto), Stefanie Wust (Soprano),
Jens Hamann (Bass)
Conductor:  Ulrich Stötzel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Siegen Bach Collegium Vocale,  Hannover Hofkapelle
Period: Baroque 

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