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Telemann: Brockes Passion / Jacobs, Academy For Ancient Music

Telemann / Christensen / Teuscher / Chappuis
Release Date: 04/14/2009 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 902013  
Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Johannes WeisserBirgitte ChristensenLydia TeuscherDaniel Behle
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber ChorusAcademy for Ancient Music Berlin
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 20 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

If there never had been a J.S. Bach no doubt the name and oeuvre of Georg Philipp Telemann would be held in far greater esteem today--which is to say that some very fine works have been unfairly overlooked and perhaps underrated, standing as they inescapably do in the huge shadow of the great master. But you also could make the case that Bach would not have been the same composer were it not for the influence of Telemann, whom he knew, whose music he highly respected (also copied and arranged), and even chose as godfather to his son C.P.E. This Brockes-Passion certainly stands as a masterpiece, both as a compelling musical work and as a profoundly affecting dramatic rendering of the Passion story.
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The text of course comes from Barthold Heinrich Brockes' famous poem, which was set by many composers of the day (including Handel), and whose powerfully descriptive language--including particularly (and unusually) graphic depictions of Christ's trial and crucifixion--did not fail to stir audiences, just as the writer intended. Telemann's music and his structural devices are perfectly designed to maximize the drama and hold our attention while preserving the serious spiritual points of the text--especially reinforcing the conviction that through Christ's suffering and death comes eternal life for all believers.

Telemann achieves this by minimizing the number of momentum-killing da capo arias, by keeping most numbers relatively short but dynamically charged, by employing an incredible variety of music in the crowd choruses, arias, recitatives (both secco and accompanied), duets, and chorales, and by skillfully utilizing a substantial orchestra (requiring some virtuoso soloists) that includes both transverse flutes and recorders, trumpets, horns, viola d'amore, organ, harpsichords, and theorbo.

Telemann shows impressive mastery of orchestration, using his instrumental arsenal to vary timbres and textures to wonderful and often exciting effect (something we expect from Bach, but this is every bit as sophisticated and well-suited to text and mood). Unlike Bach, Telemann is content to set up a beautiful aria that could run for several minutes and then quickly end it ("Gott selbst.." in Part 1; "Ich seh' an einen Stein gebunden" in Part 2) leaving us longing for more, or he may completely change its course, such as in the soprano aria "Heil der Welt" in Part 2, in which Telemann artfully illustrates the text's seemingly conflicted sentiments by combining essentially two arias into one.

And certainly no one has ever written a more compelling--sometimes frightening, always riveting--musical account of the Passion story from the moment of Christ's arrest through the moment of his death. The crowd scenes are particularly memorable and deftly handled--both by Telemann and by these first-rate performers. Telemann also proves nearly as adept as Bach at creating beautiful obbligato instrumental parts in several arias; and he is an assured and tasteful musical scene- and word-painter, notable in the aria "Hier erstarrt mein Herz und Blut" (Here my heart and blood stand still) and in the astonishing moments following Christ's death, where we hear in the orchestra "the roaring in the subterranean caves".

As mentioned, the performers are all excellent--not always the case in productions involving so many performers (six vocal soloists, various instrumental soloists, chorus, orchestra) and of this length (two hours and 20 minutes). But then, there is no finer or more experienced chorus, orchestra, and conductor in baroque repertoire than we have here, and together they and the well-chosen soloists have taken a neglected masterpiece and created another--a standard-setting performance that not only provides substantial listening pleasure but commands renewed respect for Telemann's stature as a composer of both church music and musical drama. The vibrant sound and ideally situated listening perspective, along with the superb notes and elegant packaging complete an essential--and thoroughly enlightening--release for all fans of baroque music.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Brockes Passion, TV 5 no 1 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Johannes Weisser (Baritone), Birgitte Christensen (Soprano), Lydia Teuscher (Soprano),
Daniel Behle (Tenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus,  Academy for Ancient Music Berlin
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1716; Frankfurt, Germany 

Sound Samples

Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 1. Sinfonia
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 2. Chor (Chor gläubiger Seelen) "Mich vom Stricke meiner Sünden"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 3. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Als Jesu nun zu Tische saße" / 4. Arioso (Jesus) "Das ist mein Leib"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 5. Arie (Tochter Zion) "Der Gott, dem alle Himmelskreise"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 6. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Und bald hernach nahm er den Kelch" - 7. Arioso (Jesus) "Das ist mein Blut"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 8. Arie (Tochter Zion) "Gott selbst, die Brunnquell' aller Guten"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 9. Choral "Ach, wie hungert mein Gemüte"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 10. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Drauf sagten sie dem Höchsten Dank" / ... / 15. Rezitativ (Petrus, Jesus) "Auf wenigste will ich"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 16. Arie (Jesus) "Mein Vater!" / ... / 18. Arie (Jesus) "Ist's möglich, daß dein Zorn sich stille"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 19. Arioso (Tochter Zion) "Sünder, schaut mit Furcht und Zagen" / 20. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Die Pein vermehrte sich"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 21. Arie (Tochter Zion) "Brich, mein Herz, zerfließ in Tränen"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 22. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Ein Engel aber kam" / ... / 28. Rezitativ (Judas, Jesus) "Nimm, Rabbi, diesen Kuß von mir"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 30. Rezitativ (Evangelist, Jesus) "Petrus zog gleich sein Schwert hervor" / 31. Chor (Chor der Jünger) "O weh, sie binden ihn"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 32. Accompagnato (Petrus) "Wo flieht ihr hin?" / 33. Arie (Petrus) "Nehmt mich mit, verzagte Scharen"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 34. Rezitativ (Evangelist, Kaiphas, Jesus, Ein Kriegsknecht) "Und Jesus ward zum Palast Kaiphas'"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 35. Arie (Tochter Zion) "Was Bärentatzen, Löwenklauen"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 36. Rezitativ (Evangelist, Petrus, 1., 2. & 3. Magd) "Dies sahe Petrus an" / ... / 38. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Drauf krähete der Hahn"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 39. Accompagnato (Petrus) "Welch ungeheurer Schmerz" / ... / 42. Arie (Petrus) "Schau, ich fall' in strenger Buße"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 43. Choral "Ach, Gott und Herr, wie groß und schwer"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 44. Rezitativ (Evangelist, Kaiphas, Jesus) "Als Jesus nun, wie hart man" / 45. Chor (Chor des hohen Rates) "Er hat den Tod verdient!"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 46. Arie (Gläubige Seele) "Erwäg, ergrimmte Natterbrut"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 47a. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Die Nacht war kaum vorbei" / ... / 48. Arie (Tochter Zion) "Meine Laster sind die Stricke"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 49. Rezitativ (Judas) "Oh, was hab' ich verfluchter Mensch getan!" / ... / 51. Accompagnato (Judas) "Unsäglich ist mein Schmerz"
Brockes-Passion, I. Teil: 52. Arie (Tochter Zion) "Die ihr Gottes Gnad' versäumet"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 53. Rezitativ (Evangelist, Jesus) "Wie nun Pilatus Jesum fragt" / ... / 55. Rezitativ (Pilatus, Evangelist) "Hast du denn kein Gehör?"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 56. Duett (Tochter Zion, Jesus) "Sprichst du denn auf dies Verklagen"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 57. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Pilatus wunderte sich sehr" / ... / 63. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Wie er nun sah"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 64. Rezitativ (Tochter Zion) "Besinne dich, Pilatus" / ... / 66. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Drauf führten ihn die Kriegsknecht' hinein"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 67. Arioso (Eine gläubige Seele) "ch seh' an einen Stein gebunden"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 68. Rezitativ (Eine gläubige Seele) "Drum, Seele, schau mit ängstlichem Vergnügen" / ... / 70. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Wie nun das Blut in Strömen von ihm rann"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 72. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Verwegner Dorn, barbarsche Spitzen!"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 75. Arie (Tochter Zion) "Jesu! Jesu, dich mit unsern Seelen"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 76. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Drauf beugten sie aus Spott vor ihm die Knie" / ... / 78. Arie (Evangelist) "Ja, scheuten sich nicht"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 79. Arie (Tochter Zion) "Schäumest du, du Schaum der Welt" / 80. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Worauf sie mit dem Rohr"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 82. Heil der Welt, dein schmerzlich Leiden ( Arie, Tochter Zion)
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 83. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Wie man ihm nun genug Verspottung"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 84. Arie und Chor (Gläubige Seelen) "Eilt, ihr angefochten Seelen"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 85. Rezitativ (Maria) "Ach Gott, ach Gott! Mein Sohn" / 86. Duett (Maria, Jesus) "Soll mein Kind, mein Leben sterben"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 87. Rezitativ (Evangelist, Tochter Zion) "Und er trug selbst sein Kreuz" / ... / 89. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Wie sie nun an die Stätte"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 90. Arie (Eine gläubige Seele) "Hier erstarrt mein Herz und Blut"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 92. Choral "O Menschenkind, nun deine Sünd'"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 93. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Sobald er nun gekreuzigt war" / ... / 95. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Und eine dichte Finsternis"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 96. Arie (Gläubige Seele) "Was Wunder, daß der Sonnen Pracht"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 97. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Und um die neuente Stund'" / ... / 102. Accompagnato (Jesus) "Mich dürstet!"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 103. Arie (Eine gläubige Seele) "Mein Heiland, Herr und Fürst!"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 104. Rezitativ (Evangelist) "Drauf liegt ein Kriegsknecht hin" - 105. Accompagnato (Jesus) "Es ist vollbracht"
Brockes-Passion: 106. Terzett (Drei gläubige Seelen): O Donnerwort! O schrecklich Schreien!
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 107. Arie (Eine gläubige Seele) "O selig's Wort, o heilsam Schreien!" / 108. Rezitativ (Eine gläubige Seele, Evangelist) "O selig, wer dies glaubt"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 109. Duetto (Tochter Zion, eine gläubige Seele) "Sind meiner Seelen tiefe Wunden" / 110. Rezitativ (Tochter Zion, Evangelist) "O Großmut! O erbarmendes Gemüt!"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 112. Accompagnato (Gläubige Seele, Hauptmann) "Ja, ja, es brüllet schon"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 114. Arioso (Gläubige Seele) "Bei Jesu Tod und Leiden"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 115. Chor "Mein' Sünd' mich werden kränken sehr"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 116. Arie (Tochter Zion) "Wisch ab der Tränen bittre Ströme"
Brockes-Passion, II. Teil: 117. Chor "ch bin ein Glied an deinem Leib"

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