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Telemann: O Erhabnes Gluck Der Ehe

Telemann / Morrison / Das Kleine Konzert / Max
Release Date: 10/29/2013 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777808   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Hannah MorrisonMatthias ViewegImmo SchröderMarkus Schäfer,   ... 
Conductor:  Hermann Max
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 43 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

TELEMANN Herr Gott, dich loben wir TWV 11:15a/b. Serenata O erhabnes Glück der Ehe TWV 11:15c Herman Max, cond; Hannah Morrison (sop); Margot Oitzinger (alt); Markus Schäfer (ten); Immo Schröder (ten); Matthias Vieweg (bs); Christos Pelekanos (bs); Das Kleine Konzert (period instruments) CPO 777 808 (2 CDs: 103:02 Text and Translation)

One Read more of the perquisites of being the city composer in 18th-century Hamburg was the ability to take on special commissions from the local gentry. For Georg Philipp Telemann, this meant extra income and a chance to become intimately involved socially, and indeed Paul Hindemith might have found a model for his Gebrauchsmusik (a term that Hindemith hated, of course) in his two-century old predecessor. The prolific Telemann was especially adept at writing for these sorts of occasions, knowing who the soloists would be and probably also being able to pretty much name his own ensemble (restricted only by cost and possibly the social status of the commissioners). According to the excellent booklet notes by Eckart Klessmann, apparently there were over 20 of these pieces, of which 11 have survived. I would probably venture to guess that, given his proclivity towards rapidly turning out such music, the overall number may eventually be increased.

In any case, the two works, an oratorio and a lighter-hearted serenata, were composed in 1732 for the golden wedding anniversary of Matthias Mutzenbecher and Maria Catharina, which was held with great pomp and circumstance in the St. Nicolas Church in Hamburg. Mutzenbecher was a town councilor and therefore someone of considerable importance (which is probably why he rated one of the large churches for the celebration), and Telemann probably could not have refused the commission even if he had wanted to. One of the prominent city poets, Michael Richey, provided the texts for both of these works, the first to be performed as part of the church celebrations, and the second during the more secular banquet that followed in the home of their eldest son. Since the text was provided in printed form, this was meant to be a signal event in Hamburg’s annual calendar.

For Telemann, the choice of the usual cantata oratorio was probably a given. Unlike those of his colleague Handel, it lacks narrative plot, excess instrumental insertions (such as an overture), and conspicuous musical display. It is larded throughout with chorales, each of which seems to use consequent phrases where the composer can insert the trumpets and timpani as some sort of reinforcement. Florid lines for these instruments are replaced by a kind of punctuation, indicating the solemn function of the chorales. The arias are all of the sort that would not be out of place in any cantata of the period, and indeed, the third, “Paar dem tausend andre weichen,” seems like the meandering line was taken straight out of the Harmonisches Gottesdienst that occupied Telemann at about this time. There is a hint of counterpoint in the quartet “Siehe, also wird gesegnet,” which seems a bit of an anomaly, given that the rest of the work is pretty homophonic. I especially like the quartet “Erschallender Lobgesang,” with its vigorous, modern style that is pure galant. The serenata, on the other hand, seems to imply that Telemann had more fun at its composition. There are a host of non-characters, names such as Eucharius, Polycarpus, and Macrobius, who as a rule have absolutely no dramatic function other than to outline various paeans to the couple. I cannot ever imagine the serenata as suitable for any staging whatsoever (though of course something must have been done at its performance). This makes it absolutely viable for a recording, however, where the music can be appreciated without paying too much close attention to the characterization. From a musical standpoint, it is interesting that Telemann chooses to link the two works by a 6/8 meter gigue rhythm in the final quartet of the oratorio and the first of the serenata. There is the obligatory chorale in between, but it is clear that the composer was thinking of both as part of an extended whole, and therefore not to be used separately. There is a nice passage of repeated laughter, which immediately tells one that this is tongue-in-cheek. In the next aria, “In scherzende Bande,” there is an imitation hurdy-gurdy drone, even as the strings spin out cascades of triplets. Fortunately, tenor Immo Schröder’s flexible voice handles his tortuous line with decided ease. There is a nod to Handel in the spare bass and continuo of the aria “Wo der Brottkorb,” noting that the lower tessitura reflects the full breadbasket indicative of wealth and security. Telemann uses two liquid sounding chalumeaux at the final quintet to make the lyrical line featuring “watery eyes and swelling hearts” flow in an aqueous manner as the benediction is given.

The serenata is a neat work, but one also must realize that it is highly specialized, containing material that would not really work elsewhere, something Telemann too must have realized. As usual, Hermann Max and the Kleine Konzert turn out an excellent performance. He has a knack for choosing singers who have clear voices with the appropriate sense of blend and phrasing to be able to integrate well into the highly nuanced playing of the ensemble. In short, this achieves the same sort of high standard that one has come to expect of Max. If you have by now reformed your vision of Telemann’s music, this is another side that allows him to have the descriptor “multifaceted” as a composer. It will make an excellent addition to your Telemann collection and is to be highly recommended.

FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

Herr Gott, dich loben wir, wedding cantata for chorus, flute, oboe, bassoon, 3 trumpets, timpani, st by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Hannah Morrison (), Matthias Vieweg (), Immo Schröder (),
Markus Schäfer (), Christos Pelekanos ()
Conductor:  Hermann Max
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1732 
Venue:  Basilika, Knechtsteden 
Length: 1 Minutes 7 Secs. 
O erhabnes Glück der Ehe, wedding serenata for chorus, flute, chalumeau, oboe, bassoon, strings & co by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Hannah Morrison (), Matthias Vieweg (), Immo Schröder (),
Markus Schäfer (), Christos Pelekanos ()
Conductor:  Hermann Max
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1732 
Venue:  Basilika, Knechtsteden 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 

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