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Weckman: Das Kantatenwerk / Ricercar Consort, Et Al

Release Date: 11/08/2005 
Label:  Ricercar   Catalog #: 216   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Matthias Weckmann
Performer:  James BowmanIan HoneymanMax van EgmondGreta de Reyghere
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ricercar Consort
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BRUHNS Cantatas: Hemmt eure Tränenflut 1,3,4,6; Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt 4; Wohl dem, der den Herrn fürchtet 1,2,6; De profundis 6; Paratum cor meum 4,5,6; O werter heil’ger Geist 1,3,4,6; Die Zeit meines Abscheids ist vorhanden Read more class="SUPER12">1,3,4,6; Erstanden ist der heilige Christ 4,5; Der Herr hat seinen Stuhl im Himmel bereitet 6; Ich liege und schlafe 1,3,4,6; Mein Herz ist bereit 6; Muss nicht der Mensch 1,3,4,6. BUBETSKY Cantata: Erbarm dich mein 1,3,4,6 1 Greta de Reyghere, 2 Jill Feldmann (sop); 3 James Bowman (ct); 4 Guy de Mey, 5 Ian Honeymann (ten); 6 Max van Egmond (bs); Ricercar Consort (period instruments) RICERCAR 291 (2 CDs: 151:04 Text and Translation)

BUXTEHUDE Cantatas: Herr ich lass dich nicht 5,7; Dialogus inter Christum et fidelem animam 1,7; Nichts soll uns scheiden von der Liebe Gottes 1,3,7; Wenn ich, Herr Jesu, habe dich 3; Jesu meine Freud und Lust 3; Ich halte es dafür 1,7; Ich suchte des nachts 5,7; O Clemens, o mitis, o coelestis Pater 1; An Filius non est Dei 4,5,7; Mein Herz ist bereit 7; Drei schöne Dinge sind 1,7; Ich bin ein blume zu Saron 7; Laudate pueri Dominum 1,2; Gen Himmel zu dem Vater mein 1; Singet dem Herrn 1; Klag-leid 1 1 Greta de Reyghere, 2 Agnès Mellon (sop); 3 Henri Ledroit, 4 James Bowman (ct); 5 Guy de Mey, 6 Ian Honeyman (ten); 7 Max van Egmond (bs); Ricercar Consort (period instruments) RICERCAR 252 (2 CDs: 145:00 Text and Translation)

WECKMANN Cantatas: Weine nicht; Zion spricht 3,4,6; Herr, wenn ich nur dich habe 3,4,6; Wie liegt die Stadt so wüste 1,6; Dialogo von Tobias und Raguel 3,4,6; Kommt her zu mir alle 6; Angelicus coeli chorus 1,6; Gre grüsset seist du, Holdselige 1,4; Wenn den Herr die Gefangenen zu Zion 1,3,4,6; Rex virtutum 6; Der Tod ist verschlungen in den Sieg 1,4,6; Es erhub sich ein Streit 1,2,3,4,6,8. TUNDER An Wasserflüssen Babylon 1; Ach Herr, lass deine liebe Engelein 1; Wachet auf! Ruft uns die Stimme 1; Da mihi Domine 6; O Jesu dulcissime 6; Herr, nun lässest du deinen Deiner in Friede fahren 6,7; Salve coelestis Pater 6. ANONYMOUS Es ist g’nug 1 1 Greta de Reyghere, 2 Jill Feldmann (sop); 3 James Bowman (ct); 4 Ian Honeyman, 5 Guy de Mey (ten); 6 Max van Egmond, 7 James Weaver (bs); 8 Capella Sancti Michaelis; Ricercar Consort (period instruments) RICERCAR 216 (2 CDs: 155:55 Text and Translation)

The baroque cantata went through a period of evolution before it reached its zenith in the examples left to posterity by Bach. Placing opera and oratorio aside, the cantata was by far the most important form of vocal music in the Baroque era. Initially it was a modest form with a string of contrasting sections (recitative, aria, etc.) and in Italy where the form is thought to have been born, there was usually a single vocalist, but in some cases as many as two or three vocalists were involved. The cantata was largely secular until the late 17th century, but the sacred cantata (which included a variety of choral movements, some of which were quite intricate and prolonged ) became a major feature of Lutheran liturgical music in early 18th-century Germany. Over time, the typical accompaniment grew from only continuo instruments to an orchestra that included obbligato instruments.

In Germany the cantata became the principal form of music in the Lutheran worship service. Some have traced its origins to the chorale-based works of Praetorius, Scheidt, and Schein rather than to Italian ancestors. The German cantata stands apart from those of other countries, primarily because it was nurtured as a sacred genre and because its origins and development were largely independent of Italian models. The diverse texts and musical structure are also far removed from the more straightforward elements found in the Italian form.

These older cantatas are not that far distant from their 18th-century descendants. Arioso movements or chorales are present; biblical and aria texts were added to chorale cantatas, final chorales were tacked on to aria-like cantatas, etc. Examples include the late cantatas of Dietrich Buxtehude, Johann Schelle, Johann Kuhnau, Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow, and many others. In the transition to the more “modern” cantata, i.e., the era of Bach, there is the principle of mixed texts, a style that can also be found in the Bach cantatas.

These multi-CD sets offer us a keyhole glimpse at the evolution of the form as it made its way to its greatest exponent, Johann Sebastian Bach. In no way do they represent a complete cross-section of the pre-Bach repertoire but they are examples from the quills of four of the most gifted composers in the pre-Bach years: Nicholas Bruhns (1665–1697), Dietrich Buxtehude (1737–1707), Franz Tunder (1614–1667), and Matthias Weckmann (1643–1680). The forces required for these performances vary from a single voice with continuo to elaborate settings with multiple soloists, choir, and orchestra, and the texts—as mentioned above—include both scripture and poetry, the latter being varied in its quality, but never lacking in piety.

All of the composers represented here were masters of their art, crafting music of great beauty and equal religiosity, and the music is superbly offered by the carefully chosen soloists. The vocal and instrumental execution is second to none. Although the soloists sport the lightweight and pure tone that has become the norm for music of this period, their presentation is properly matched to the text, so if an introspective or powerful declamatory passage arises, it is dealt with in proper style. The vocal lines are carefully etched and just as carefully phrased, resulting in a series of performances that are nothing less than exquisite. They were realized with vigor and affection, commitment and purpose, and are replete with structural cohesion, eloquence, passion, and spontaneity, resulting in an offering that is characterized by a rich variety of style and timbre. I have a soft spot in my heart for music of this sort and it gets even softer if the performances are as good as these.

The liner notes are educational and informative and the attractive and environmentally friendly packaging uses as little plastic as possible. In summation, one would be hard pressed to find more sympathetic interpretations, not to mention ones that are more musical; that’s why you’re reading about these artistically stunning releases in our Classical Hall of Fame!

FANFARE: Michael Carter
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Works on This Recording

Zion spricht, der Herr hat mich verlassen by Matthias Weckmann
Performer:  James Bowman (Countertenor), Ian Honeyman (Tenor), Max van Egmond (Bass)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ricercar Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1663; Germany 
Wie liegt die Stadt so wüste by Matthias Weckmann
Performer:  Max van Egmond (Bass), Greta de Reyghere (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ricercar Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1663; Germany 

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