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Graupner: Ein Weihnachts Oratorium / Heyerick, Dieltiens, Blum, Geyer, Scholl


Release Date: 11/09/2010 
Label:  Ricercar   Catalog #: 307  
Composer:  Christoph Graupner
Performer:  Stefan GeyerReinoud Van MechelenElisabeth SchollLothar Blum,   ... 
Conductor:  Florian Heyerick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex TemporeMannheim Hofkapelle
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



GRAUPNER Christmas Oratorio Florian Heyerick, dir; Amaryllis Dieltiens, Elisabeth Scholl (sop); Lothat Blum, Reinoud van Mechelen (ten); Stefan Geyer (bar); Ex Tempore; Mannheimer Hofkapelle (period instruments) RICERCAR 307 (2 CDs: 136:11 Text and Translation)


Die Nacht ist vergangen, GWV 1101/22; Heulet, denn des Herrn Tag ist nahe, GWV 1102/26; Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Wer da glaubet dass Jesus sei der Christ, GWV 1103/40; Tut Busse und lasse sich ein jeglicher taufen; GEV 1104/34; Wie bald hast du gelitten, GWV 1109/14; Jauchzet ihr Himmel, erfreue dich Erde, GWV 1105/53; Sie eifern um Gott, GWV 1106/46; Gott sei uns gnädig, GWV 1109/41; Merk auf, mein Herz, GWV 1111/44


Every year my wife asks me, “What new Christmas CDs are we going to be hearing this year?” The question usually leaves me nonplussed, since there are already so many Christmas albums in our library that it’s not possible to play them all during waking hours. Nevertheless, I’m constantly on the lookout for worthy discs that can supplement the usual Robert Shaw Chorale or Canadian Brass. I’m happy to report that here is a new release that has already made it into our Christmas playlist for 2011, a world premiere recording of a work (or works) that can stand alongside those towering holiday masterpieces, Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.


Christoph Graupner (1683–1760), Kapellmeister at Darmstadt and contemporary of J. S. Bach, has been the subject of increased interest from performers and record labels of late. His music comes from the same Protestant milieu as Bach, Telemann, Fasch, and Stölzel; even the basic structure of the nine cantatas recorded here resembles that of his contemporaries. Each work begins with an extended choral movement followed by two pairs of recitative and aria, and concludes with another choral movement. Conspicuous in its absence, however, is Bach’s Evangelist. Bach is known to have added this part when he brought together the six cantatas that constitute his Christmas Oratorio. The Evangelist role imparted all-important continuity and cohesion to the work that was otherwise missing.


Graupner wrote his cantatas as stand-alone pieces for Advent and Christmas; he never intended them to be gathered into a single work in the manner of Bach. The range of mood and style is quite wide; in the first five cantatas, a mood of penitence and contrition prevails (the titles are dead giveaways), not unlike the Advent cantatas of Bach. By the time we reach the sixth cantata, Graupner summons up the customary celebratory spirit. Surprisingly, he achieves this with a pair of very active timpani, but no trumpets. The trumpets do make an appearance in the eighth cantata, Gott sei uns gnädig , but the parts are perfunctory, not at all in the high-lying florid style of Bach and Handel. These are but two examples of Graupner’s unusual orchestrations, at least for the period. Mostly the accompaniments consist of strings only, with the addition of a single instrumental color such as flute, oboe, horn, or bassoon.


Within that limited tonal palette, Graupner’s writing is exceptionally expressive and colorful. The opening choruses, such as Die Nacht ist vegangen, Wer da glaubet dass Jesus sei der Christ, and Jauchzet ihr Himmel , generate considerable excitement and set the mood. The concluding choruses are often an ingenious reworking of a standard hymn tune such as Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein (GWV 1106/46) or O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (GWV 1111/44), and remind me of similar treatments by Bach and Telemann.


The choral music is unquestionably the Schwerpunkt of these pieces, but many arias are memorable, too. Most notable are Jesus ist mein Freund from GWV 1103/40 and Ach, lass dich sehn from GWV 1111/44, both for bass. The baritone soloist for these and all the other bass solos is the well-known Stefan Geyer; he is clearly the star of the set. Soprano Amaryllis Dieltiens sings on the first two cantatas and on GWV 1101/22, 1109/41 and 1111/44. She has the prettiest voice and the securest technique. Elisabeth Scholl, on the other hand, has a bit of a wobble, which causes some intonational problems. The two tenors both sound rather undernourished, with an antiseptic, decidedly “early-music” delivery that doesn’t work for me. If only Kurt Equiluz were still singing!


The choral work is a marvel. Judging from the names, most of the singers hail from the Low Countries. The roster changes from cantata to cantata, but the quality remains surprisingly high. The orchestra, likewise made up of Belgians, Dutchmen, and a few Frenchmen and Germans, is a polished group. Organ continuo is used throughout. The recorded sound is wonderfully atmospheric and detailed. Full texts and translations are provided.


Here, then, is the perfect addition to your Christmas library, especially if your tastebuds have been jaded by one too many servings of Messiah.


FANFARE: Christopher Brodersen
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Die Nacht ist vergangen, GWV 1101/22 by Christoph Graupner
Performer:  Stefan Geyer (Bass), Reinoud Van Mechelen (Tenor), Elisabeth Scholl (Soprano),
Lothar Blum (Tenor), Amaryllis Dieltiens (Soprano)
Conductor:  Florian Heyerick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Tempore,  Mannheim Hofkapelle
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
2.
Heulet, denn des Herrn Tag ist nahe, GWV 1102/26 by Christoph Graupner
Performer:  Stefan Geyer (Bass), Reinoud Van Mechelen (Tenor), Elisabeth Scholl (Soprano),
Lothar Blum (Tenor), Amaryllis Dieltiens (Soprano)
Conductor:  Florian Heyerick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Tempore,  Mannheim Hofkapelle
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
3.
Wer da glaubet dass Jesus sei der Christ, GWV 1103/40 by Christoph Graupner
Performer:  Stefan Geyer (Bass), Reinoud Van Mechelen (Tenor), Elisabeth Scholl (Soprano),
Lothar Blum (Tenor), Amaryllis Dieltiens (Soprano)
Conductor:  Florian Heyerick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Tempore,  Mannheim Hofkapelle
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
4.
Tut Busse und lasse sich ein jeglicher taufen, GWV 1104/34 by Christoph Graupner
Performer:  Stefan Geyer (Bass), Reinoud Van Mechelen (Tenor), Elisabeth Scholl (Soprano),
Lothar Blum (Tenor), Amaryllis Dieltiens (Soprano)
Conductor:  Florian Heyerick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Tempore,  Mannheim Hofkapelle
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
5.
Wie bald hast du gelitten, GWV 1109/14 by Christoph Graupner
Performer:  Stefan Geyer (Bass), Reinoud Van Mechelen (Tenor), Elisabeth Scholl (Soprano),
Lothar Blum (Tenor), Amaryllis Dieltiens (Soprano)
Conductor:  Florian Heyerick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Tempore,  Mannheim Hofkapelle
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
6.
Jauchzet ihr Himmel, erfreue dich Erde, GWV 1105/53 by Christoph Graupner
Performer:  Amaryllis Dieltiens (Soprano), Lothar Blum (Tenor), Elisabeth Scholl (Soprano),
Stefan Geyer (Bass), Reinoud Van Mechelen (Tenor)
Conductor:  Florian Heyerick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Tempore,  Mannheim Hofkapelle
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
7.
Sie eifern um Gott, GWV 1106/46 by Christoph Graupner
Performer:  Amaryllis Dieltiens (Soprano), Elisabeth Scholl (Soprano), Lothar Blum (Tenor),
Stefan Geyer (Bass), Reinoud Van Mechelen (Tenor)
Conductor:  Florian Heyerick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Tempore,  Mannheim Hofkapelle
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
8.
Gott sei uns gnädig, GWV 1109/41 by Christoph Graupner
Performer:  Stefan Geyer (Bass), Reinoud Van Mechelen (Tenor), Elisabeth Scholl (Soprano),
Lothar Blum (Tenor), Amaryllis Dieltiens (Soprano)
Conductor:  Florian Heyerick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Tempore,  Mannheim Hofkapelle
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
9.
Merk auf, mein Herz, GWV 1111/44 by Christoph Graupner
Performer:  Elisabeth Scholl (Soprano), Lothar Blum (Tenor), Amaryllis Dieltiens (Soprano),
Stefan Geyer (Bass), Reinoud Van Mechelen (Tenor)
Conductor:  Florian Heyerick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Tempore,  Mannheim Hofkapelle
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 

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