PACHELBEL Christ lag in Todesbanden. Was Gott tut das ist wohlgetan. Jauchzet dem Herrn. Motets: Jauchzet dem Herrn. Gott is unser Zuversicht. Toccata. Was Gott tut das ist wohlgetan • Jean Tubéry, cond; Namur CCh; Les Agrémens • RICERCAR 255 (60:55 Text and Translation)
Although Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706) is represented very well in theRead more current catalogs, the principal disc in my collection is a program of motets under Werner Jacob (9:6; CD in 13:1 and 18:2), an excellent recording by the composer’s successor at St. Sebald in Nürnberg and an early example of attention newly paid to the composer’s sacred works. The largest works in this new collection are the three cantatas for soloists, chorus, strings, and continuo. The two motets are short works for double chorus, and the remaining three pieces are organ works. The recording was made at the end of the composer’s tercentenary, an occasion that was scarcely observed at all.
The motets come toward the end of a line of 17th-century Lutheran choral works. Almost all of Pachelbel’s motets, like those of his predecessors and even J. S. Bach, are for double chorus. Jauchzet dem Herrn has been recorded by Werner Jacob in the disc just mentioned and by Roland Wilson in a disc devoted to him (28:2). In 1993 Konrad Junghänel included both works in a superb collection of motets by Pachelbel with motets by two members of the Bach family added.
The cantatas, on the other hand, fall near the beginning of a form that Bach brought to perfection. One can observe resemblances between the settings of the Easter cantata, Christ lag in Todesbanden, by the two composers. Indeed, Thomas Hengelbrock recorded both of them on a Hänssler CD a few years ago, and soon after that Roland Wilson included Pachelbel’s setting in the disc just mentioned. The other two cantatas are not available elsewhere and seem to be first recordings. Jauchzet dem Herrn is called a late work because it uses two oboes, replaced in this performance by two rather sour cornets on the grounds that oboes were rare at the time (no longer the case). They are given important melodic lines that engage in dialogue with the vocal soloists.
The three organ works, two of them based on the vocal music heard here, are brief. They are played on a church organ at Gedinne, a fine instrument. This disc will be worth hearing long after the anniversary year is past.