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Lamentationes - Bach, Zelenka / Il Gardellino

Zelenka / Bach,J.s. / Gardellino
Release Date: 07/10/2012 
Label:  Passacaille   Catalog #: 977   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachJan D. Zelenka
Performer:  Lieven TermontBart VandewegeMarcus UllmannAnnelies [Soprano (Vocal)] Brants,   ... 
Conductor:  Marcel Ponseele
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Gardellino
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BACH Cantatas: Schauet doch und sheet, BWV 4; Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben, BWV 102. ZELENKA Lamentationi pro die mercuri sancto : 1, 2 Marcel Ponseele, cond; Damien Guillan (ct); Marcus Ullmann (ten); Lieven Termont (bs); Ripieni Ch; Il Gardellino (period instruments) PASSACAILLE 977 (62:02 Text and Translation) Read more

I am at a bit of a loss how to explain the title of this disc, Lamentations . The program, a pair of cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach and two of the Lamentations by Jan Dismas Zelenka, are all good pieces to have, but apart from the latter, I can find no reason to group them, no matter what allusions their texts may have to the destruction of Jerusalem (which is the focal point of Lamentations anyway). No matter; Il Gardellino under the direction of oboist Marcel Ponseele has delivered excellent performances of four very moving and contemplative works.

The two composers’ styles could not be more different. In the cantatas, the standard format of recitatives and arias bookended by choruses stand formally in stark contrast to the more through-composed Zelenka pieces, even though the latter do occasionally have odd bits of recitative interwoven into the piece. The chorus of only eight singers sounds considerably larger, thanks not only to a good acoustical milieu but also the soft blend that Il Gardellino achieves. In the chorales, the voices are more definitive, particularly in the “O grosser Gott von Treu” of BWV 46. Bach’s use of extended instrumental introductions in the opening choruses, with the soft recorders of this work and the more prescient oboes of BWV 102, allows for not only a fine blend of timbres but also provides good contrast. All three soloists are equal to their tasks. Lieven Termont’s resonant and fluid bass, a near-perfect cantata voice, adds a colorful counterpart to the solo trumpet in his only aria in BWV 46, “Dein Wetter zog sich auf von weiter.” The storm is heralded by a complex and often fanfare-like brass part, indicating that the “weather” is the onslaught of the Babylonian troops, hastening to destroy Jerusalem. In countertenor Damien Guillan’s aria that follows, “Doch Jesus will auch,” the plaintive trio of a pair of recorders above a continuo line performed by a tenor oboe creates an unsettling atmosphere, flowing and emotional. Marcus Ullmann’s clear tenor in his opening recitative, “So klage du,” with a counterpart of susurrating recorders, makes this more an aria than dialog, thus moving the musical drama forward.

Zelenka’s two Lamentations, on the other hand, are much stricter in terms of counterpoint. In the first, Termont’s vocal entrance at the declaration of the incipit creeps in as a messa di voce , eventually adding to a chain of suspensions that resolve only reluctantly. Guillan’s set also uses the vocal part sparingly, although there are some rather interesting pairings, such as the opening solo oboe and violin introduction and the rather more virtuoso adding of all three at the final part, “Ierusalem convertere.”

All in all, the musical blend, the tempos, and the precise playing of the ensemble are noteworthy, and all three voices are perfectly in synch. Ponseele gives a finely nuanced performance of all four works. My biggest quibble is in the booklet. Apparently in my copy the editors didn’t realize that the disc itself places both Lamentations side by side, not following each of the Bach cantatas, meaning that after track 7 everything is off by one, which can be annoying. Moreover, they seem to have left off the excellent trumpeter from the list of performers. And I am not convinced by the notes as to the connections between these works. Still, if you can ignore these problems, then you will be captivated by the excellence of the performance itself.

FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgend ein Schmerz sei, wie mein Schmerz, BWV 46 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Lieven Termont (), Bart Vandewege (), Marcus Ullmann (),
Annelies [Soprano (Vocal)] Brants (), Inge [Soprano (Vocal)] Zutterman (), Reinhoud [Tenor (Vocal)] Vanmechelen ()
Conductor:  Marcel Ponseele
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Gardellino
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1723; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  AMUZ, Antwerp 
Length: 15 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben, BWV 102 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Bart Vandewege (), Marcus Ullmann (), Inge [Soprano (Vocal)] Zutterman (),
Reinhoud [Tenor (Vocal)] Vanmechelen (), Annelies [Soprano (Vocal)] Brants (), Lieven Termont ()
Conductor:  Marcel Ponseele
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Gardellino
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  AMUZ, Antwerp 
Length: 10 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Lamentation: Lamentatione No. 1 pro die mercuri sancto by Jan D. Zelenka
Conductor:  Marcel Ponseele
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Gardellino
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722 
Venue:  AMUZ, Antwerp 
Length: 13 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Lamentation: Lamentatione No. 2 pro die veneris sancto by Jan D. Zelenka
Conductor:  Marcel Ponseele
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Gardellino
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722 
Venue:  AMUZ, Antwerp 
Length: 1 Minutes 29 Secs. 

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