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Telemann: St. Mark Passion, Etc / Redel, Giebel, Et Al

Release Date: 03/09/1999 
Label:  Philips Duo Catalog #: 462293   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Heinz RehfussIra MalaniukTheo AltmeyerAgnes Giebel,   ... 
Conductor:  Kurt Redel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lausanne Youth ChorusPro Arte Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 28 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

It was Kurt Redel, the conductor, who rescued Telemann's Passion of St. Mark from oblivion and he has every reason to be proud of his discovery and bringing it to life -- a first-rate performance and recording.

Telemann's St. Mark's Passion, one of forty-four Passion settings by this astonishingly prolific composer, is a welcome addition to the growing number of his works in the catalogue. Perhaps he will catch up on Vivaldi: there are a thousand of his Orchestral Suites to choose from! Telemann composed this Passion in 1759, nine years after the death of Bach. He might never have gone to Leipzig had Hamburg not bid higher for the services of the Leipzig Councillors' first choice. He died in 1767, mourned by the whole
Read more world of music, and for some time after his death was widely celebrated as the "father of church music".

Much has been made of the fact that Telemann said he could set a placard to music. Overshadowed by the gigantic figure of Bach, his Passion may often seem superficial—it is said to be one of his best— and slight, but the comparison is inept. In keeping with the new trend of thought, followed also by Bach's sorts, he favoured melodic and harmonic treatment of his material at the expense of counterpoint, and the conventional texture of his accompaniments—often colourfully orchestrated—lend a certain sameness to his arias. The chorales are straightforwardly harmonized, but a touch of counterpoint can be heard here and there in the brief and effective choruses.

The libretto begins with the going out to the Mount of Olives, and so omits St. Mark's account of the Last Supper and, as it ends with the death of Jesus on the Cross, it omits the Entombment. This is indicated by the title of the work "The Story of the Sufferings of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the World, as recounted by the Evangelist Saint Mark". The texts of the arias are thought to be by Brockes or Telemann himself. The new style is shown by the numerous allegorical figures who sing the arias, Religion, the Sinner, Love, Reason, Zeal, Devotion, and so on. After the death of Jesus the voice of God is heard, followed by a duet for two angels giving thanks to Jesus for man's redemption, and a "chorus of mankind" praising the Messiah for the love shown by His bitter suffering for them. A chorale in similar terms concludes the Passion.

The orchestra consists of strings, oboes, bassoon, cor anglais, two flutes (with piccolo) organ and harpsichord continuo. The latter are often imaginatively used and strings accompany Jesus's words as in Bach's St. Matthew Passion, but not so consistently.

The opening Sinfonia is expressive, but might have come from any one of Telemann's Suites: it is followed by a simple chorale. The composer engages frequently in word painting, as for example the heavy string chords when Jesus sings "my soul is sorrowful even unto death", and in an aria describing a ship first on a calm then on a stormy sea (No. 13) ; he illustrates the crowing of the cock on the harpsichord, but treats the weeping of Peter without any melismas, but simply gives "weinen" two notes.

Some of the arias have short orchestral introductions, some begin straightway and one of the latter comes after the kiss of Judas. The singer of the aria bursts in crying "Halt, Verrater" ("Halt, traitor") this is a highly dramatic piece. The soprano is given two very attractive arias, one with flute obbligato; the other with a touching echo refrain, but the best solo number of all is a fine declamatory aria denouncing the violence and mockery of the Crucifixion. Jesus's last words and death are simply but expressively treated.

The performance and recording, particularly in stereo, are first rate. The soloists will be well known to those who collect choral music. Heinz Rehfuss, the Evangelist, sounds a little strained at the top of his voice once or twice but is, in general, excellent. A special word of praise—where all are good—to Theo Altmeyer, the tenor, for some first-rate singing including the declamatory aria mentioned above. The Lausanne Youth Choir lives up to its title—the photograph of the members in the booklet confirms it physically—and sings with great freshness and enthusiasm, and the orchestral playing of the Munich Pro Arte with continuo realizations, are all one could wish. It was Kurt Redel, the conductor, who rescued Telemann's Passion of St. Mark from oblivion and he has every reason to be proud of his discovery and bringing it to life.

-- Gramophone [3/1965, reviewing the original LP release of the St. Mark Passion]
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Works on This Recording

St. Mark Passion (1759), TV 5 no 44 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Heinz Rehfuss (Bass Baritone), Ira Malaniuk (Alto), Theo Altmeyer (Tenor),
Agnes Giebel (Soprano), Horst Günther (Baritone)
Conductor:  Kurt Redel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lausanne Youth Chorus,  Pro Arte Orchestra
Language: German 
Magnificat in C major by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Agnes Giebel (Soprano), Theo Altmeyer (Tenor), Heinz Rehfuss (Bass Baritone),
Franz Reuter-Wolf (Baritone), Ira Malaniuk (Alto)
Conductor:  Kurt Redel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lausanne Youth Chorus,  Pro Arte Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Language: Latin 
Notes: This work was revised by Kurt Redel. 
Magnificat in G major, TV 9 no 18 "Das deutsche magnificat" by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Ira Malaniuk (Alto), Theo Altmeyer (Tenor), Heinz Rehfuss (Bass Baritone),
Agnes Giebel (Soprano)
Conductor:  Kurt Redel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lausanne Youth Chorus,  Pro Arte Orchestra
Language: Latin 
Notes: This work was revised by Kurt Redel. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A hidden gem November 23, 2013 By K. Adams (Honolulu, HI) See All My Reviews "Telemann's St. Mark's Passion is a beautiful piece - one that is not well-known or frequently played. The Redel performance is outstanding - not just the Passion, but also the Magnificats. I recommend this album to anyone who loves Telemann or baroque choral music. The opening sinfonia of the Passion is especially moving." Report Abuse
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