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Telemann: Der Tod Jesu / Heyerick, Anthoni, Saelens, Geyer


Release Date: 05/29/2007 
Label:  Etcetera Records   Catalog #: 1289   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Yves SaelensStefan GeyerGreetje Anthoni
Conductor:  Florian Heyerick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex TemporeLe Mercure Galant
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



TELEMANN Der Tod Jesu Florian Heyerick, cond; Greetje Anthoni (sop); Yves Saelens (ten); Stefan Geyer (bar); Ex Tempore; Le Mercure Galant ET’CETERA 1289 (69:46 Text and Translation)


This originally appeared a decade ago as René Gailly 92025 (not submitted for review), a label no longer available in France. The work fits into our recent discussions about Passion music in Hamburg. While Telemann and then C. P. E. Bach continued to provide a Passion setting every year, Carl Read more Graun launched a new tradition in 1755 with his passion-cantata Der Tod Jesu , a concert work on a libretto by Carl Ramler drawing on all four gospel accounts, rather than a liturgical setting. In fact, when C. P. E. Bach was appointed to Hamburg, he immediately sought to know whether he would be expected to provide a Passion every year or an oratorio “in the style of Ramler.” But Telemann had already set the Ramler libretto in the same year as Graun, and his was performed first, but it was quickly forgotten, while in Berlin Graun’s work attained great popularity. Yet Telemann’s was the more advanced work, Classical rather than Baroque. Graun’s work has been recorded by Martin Schneider, Uwe Gronostay (8:2), Louis Devos (10:1), Pál Németh (15:6), and Sigiswald Kuijken (27:6), though the two reviewers in the last case seemed to be unaware of the earlier versions. Telemann’s version had been recorded earlier by Wolfram Wehnert, but when the most recent version by Ludger Rémy (24:1) appeared, the reviewer made no mention of this intermediate version.


Not for Ramler was the breast-beating over the sinfulness of mankind and the need for repentance, feelings evoked by Holy Week in Lutheran as much as in Catholic liturgy. The later 18th century was more amenable to a sentimentalized meditation on the humanity of Christ. Hence, much more in Graun’s successful setting than in Telemann’s, which was quickly forgotten, his libretto replaced such works as Bach’s St. Matthew Passion until long after Mendelssohn revived it. Heyerick discusses the episode in an interesting note that is fluently translated (e.g., “Two composers were already jumping up and down in impatience to set the text to music well before it was finished.”). The two were friends and consulted each other, resulting in two settings that are very similar in such details as division into numbers, solo voices, and orchestration. Telemann’s was performed a week earlier, but Graun’s won more acclaim, perhaps because Berlin was a more prominent musical center.


The performance is admirable. The three unfamiliar soloists give excellent accounts, while the vocal and instrumental groups, Belgian in origin, perform superbly. I cannot imagine a finer presentation of this work. Recommended to Baroque enthusiasts.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

1. Der Tod Jesu, TV 5 no 6 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Yves Saelens (Tenor), Stefan Geyer (Baritone), Greetje Anthoni (Soprano)
Conductor:  Florian Heyerick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Tempore,  Le Mercure Galant
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1755; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1995 
Venue:  Studio Steurbaut, Gent 
Length: 69 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: German 

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