BAROQUE MUSIC FOR TROMBONE AND VOICE • Anton Scharinger (bs); Datura Trb Qt • ARS MUSICI 232168 (54:18 Text and Translation)
Selections by AHLE, BYRD, CORELLI, KUHNAU, MAINERO, PRAETORIUS, SCHÜTZ, SELLE
This is a welcome reissue of a 1993 release, though the performances are not all ideal. For the playing of the Datura Trombone Quartet and the other instrumentalists I have nothing but praise, and anyone who fancies hearingRead more such repertoire—Renaissance dance suites by Don Giorgio Mainero (c.1535–82) and Michael Praetorius (1571–1621), a pavane by William Byrd (1543–1623), and Baroque sonatas by Johann Kuhnau (1660–1722) and Arcangelo Corelli (1653–1713)—in this instrumental guise should snatch up this release without delay. The reservation occurs regarding the four works for solo bass voice and trombone quartet, by Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672), Thomas Selle (1599–1663), and Johann Rudolf Ahle (1625–75). Anton Scharinger has had a notable career, and for the most part sings well here. However, he uses an operatic method of vocal production that tends to overpower these far more intimate works, and occasionally betrays a slight unsteadinesss in his vibrato. More damaging, however, are the excessively fast tempi selected for some of these pieces. By way of comparison, all four were also recorded for a 1994 release on the BIS label with baritone Stephen Macleod and the Triton Trombone Quartet; the respective timings are as follows:
Scharinger / Datura Macleod / Triton
Fili mi, Absalom 4:57 6:16
Attendite, popule meus 7: 22 8:06
Domine, exaudi orationem 3: 27 4:11
Herr, nun läßt Du Deinen Diener 4:35 4:23
The tempi chosen by Macleod and the Trition ensemble for the two Schütz pieces (both frequently recorded; to my knowledge the Selle has only one other recording and the Ahle two) are within the mainstream, though still a bit on the quick side, as some performances of Fili mi, Absalom time out at seven to eight minutes. Scharinger and the Datura Quartet, however, plow through that stunningly noble and tragic kingly lament at a pace that largely vitiates its dignity and solemnity, turning it into something more akin to an angry rant. Similar though lesser damage is done to the Selle Domine. In addition, Macleod simply has a far superior command of the style of singing required for this music (and he also uses vibrato).
The recorded sound is clear and suitably spacious. Texts are provided in the original Latin, and in German but not English translation. Since there is no duplication of the instrumental works between this disc and the BIS release (which does include English translations of the texts), and those items are well performed, the fellow trombone aficionado will want to acquire both discs. Recommended, then, with reservations as noted.
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