Notes and Editorial Reviews
One of Telemann's later works, this Passion oratorio was composed to a text by Karl Wilhelm Ramler. How it came to be set by both Carl Heinrich Graun in Berlin and Telemann in Hamburg, the results performed within weeks of each other, is a topic of great speculation that's pointedly covered in the historically oriented program notes. Telemann's work is scored for four soloists, chorus, and a small orchestra. Ramler assumed that everyone knew the story of the Crucifixion; the solos, accompagnatos, and chorales all comment on the story rather than giving a blow by blow account. As sectioned in this interpretation, Part I is devoted to events that took place in the Garden of Gethsemane and Part II to the horrors of Mount Golgotha. The overall
tone is reverent and hopeful rather than morbid and grim, and the work is full of lovely arias, choruses, and chorales.
Telemann's use of obbligato wind instruments is thoroughly masterful, from the dulcet flutes in the alto aria "Ein Gebet um neue Stärke", to the transverse piccolos that delightfully chirp away in the soprano chorale "Singt dem göttlichen Propheten" near the beginning of Part II. A soulful horn solo is the focus of the Introduction (Lamento), while the same instrument is used in military fashion in the tenor aria "So stehet ein Berg Gottes". An expressive oboe d'amore accentuates the bass aria "Ihr weichgeschaffnen Seelen".
With one exception, a somewhat bland soprano, the soloists are marvelous, singing with great expression and conviction to fully convey the meaning of every word. The small chorus is divided 5/8/6/6, more lower voices than upper, which produces a lovely darkish timbre--and it sings with impeccable intonation and good diction. The orchestra, including the aforementioned soloists, has a lovely sound, and conductor Ludger Rémy finds the right pace for every passage. The recording is warm and intimate, with lots of space around the singers and instrumentalists. [10/16/2000]
--Rad Bennett, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Der Tod Jesu, TV 5 no 6 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Dorothee Mields (Soprano),
Britta Schwarz (Alto),
Jan Kobow (Tenor),
Klaus Mertens (Bass)
Michaelstein Telemann Chamber Orchestra,
Magdeburg Chamber Choir
Written: 1755; Germany
Date of Recording: 10/1999
Venue: St. Boniface Ev. Church, Ditfurt
Length: 76 Minutes 12 Secs.
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