Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
Captain’s Music 1724:
Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones; Beloved abode of blissful serenity
Ludger Rémy, cond; Magdalena Podkoscielna (sop); Andreas Post (ten); Matthias Vieweg (bs); Ekkehard Abele (bs); Michaelstein Telemann Collegium (period instruments)
777 176 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 78:52
Text and Translation)
The breadth and depth of Telemann’s music continues to astound. We all know that the adjectives of “most prolific composer ever” may or may not be true (he definitely ranks up there), and we have all heard music by him that seems, well, to be kind, less than inspired. But what is far more amazing is the number of works that are truly extraordinary creations by a man who tossed off concertos and vocal pieces in such an effortless manner. Quality, in other words, is very high among most all of Telemann’s compositions, and the often-common view that he was basically a second rate workman who knew how to create on demand is put to the lie by any number of his efforts.
I was not familiar with his so-called “Captain’s Music”; it is not a name he gave to anything, only a category that explains the number of pieces he created in the yearly celebrations of honoring the military captains of the some 10,000 soldiers stationed in Hamburg, where the composer had ascended to the position of city music director. This happened in 1721, and two years later began these great tributes to the 50 or 60 men who were responsible for the order of the city, a veritable flypaper for conflicts of all kinds, since its increasing prominence as a place of trade and economic importance (the Elbe river provided it a most favorable physical locale). The military presence in the city was not only needed, but held in great regard.
There were, of course, many speeches and opulent addresses, followed by a many-coursed meal and lots of toasts. When Telemann took over this functional music, it was declared that the future order of the music was to be as he had established it, that is, an oratorio followed by a serenade. Telemann wrote this music for a total of 36 celebrations spanning 44 years, though only nine of these pieces have survived in their original bipartite form. The first piece was religious in nature, the second secular, though of a noble type, emphasizing the virtues of unity, valor, etc. The music is simply wonderful, some of the best I have heard by this composer, though I must confess that the serenade is to me more striking; the vocal lines are taut and florid, while the composer’s harmony almost reminds one of Vivaldi in spots. He seems determined to present his texts in music that is uncomplicated while at the same time engrossing enough to engage a pack of celebratory listeners. (One can only imagine what the soldiers present thought of it—perhaps it was a different time.) The many arias and choruses are varied and contrasting in their essences, with a clever mixing of the vocal roles to keep the presentation lively. Worthy music, this, and a real surprise to this listener.
Ludger Rémy is a name new to me, as are all of these forces, but he keeps a controlling hand on each of these works, and is well supported by the great engineering that cpo provides for this surround-sound presentation. Generally recommended, but especially for those who think they have heard enough Telemann.
FANFARE: Steven E. Ritter
Works on This Recording
Kapitänsmusik 1724, TV 15 no 2 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Magdalena Podkoscielna (Soprano),
Ekkehard Abele (Bass),
Andreas Post (Tenor),
Matthias Vieweg (Bass)
Michaelstein Telemannisches Collegium
Written: 1724; Hamburg, Germany
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