Now comes an equally welcome new release from CPO www.jpc.de/jpcng/cpo/home of Telemann’s Oratorio: Herr Gott, dich loben wir (Lord God, we praise you) and Serenata: O erhabnes Glück der Ehe (O sublime happiness of marriage) performed by Das Kleine Konzert www.rheinischekantorei.de directed by Hermann Max www.hermann-max.de with soloists Hannah Morrison (soprano) www.hannahmorrison.eu/nl/index.html, Margot Oitzinger (alto) www.oitzinger.com Markus Schafer (tenor) www.tenor-markus-schaefer.de Immo Schroder (tenor) www.immo-schroeder-tenor.de, Matthias Vieweg (bass) www.matthiasvieweg.de and Christos Pelekanos (bass).
Composed, in 1732, during his Hamburg years, both the Oratorio: Herr Gott, dich loben wir and Serenata: O erhabnes Glück der Ehe were written for the golden wedding anniversary of the Hamburg City Councillor Matthias Mutzenbecher and his wife Maria Catharina. The excellent booklet notes by Eckart Kleßmann tell us of Mutzenbecher’s business and civic life in Hamburg and that parts one and two of the Oratorio were played before and after the blessing. The Serenata, a secular work, was played during the festive banquet.
Oratorio: Herr Gott, dich loben wir (Lord God, we praise you) (TVWV 11:15a/b) following the usual form of Choral, Recitative and Aria, Telemann adds drama to the Recitatives that lifts them from being merely linking passages, particularly in the expressive performances that these soloists bring. Unfortunately the booklet does not make it clear which of the two tenors and two basses are performing in the various sections.
The opening Choral has Das Kleine Konzert adding a brilliance with a fine blend of voices from the soloists. In the attractive aria Lass nebst den starken Cherubinen soprano, Hannah Morrison has an appealing, flexible voice with some lovely wind sounds from the ensemble. The Recitative Hier nähert sich zu deines Thrones Füßen the bass provides some lovely timbres, full of expression.
I love the sonorities that these singers achieve in the Choral Dein göttlich Macht und Herrlichkeit with fine sounds from the ensemble, some lovely mellow brass.
The Recitative So recht, ihr graubekrönten beiden is beautifully handled by the tenor who has a fine clarity of voice. The tuttis are terrifically done with a fine blend of voices and instruments.
There is a terrific facility to Telemann’s writing in the instrumental opening of the Aria Paar, dem tausend andre weichen, so well played by Das Kleine Konzert, with the bass bringing a strength, richness and fine dynamics to this fine aria.
There is a lovely, joyful Aria/Tutti Erschallender Logesang and an an impressive Choral Es danke, Gott, und lobe dich with the choir and brass resounding in the ample acoustic of the Knechtsteden Basilika. Another lovely Aria is Wundergott von Tat und Namen with deep rich tones and terrific flexibility from the bass, whilst Ermüdet nicht, ihr Vaterhände, the longest aria, receives some exceptionally beautiful singing from the tenor, full of expression and a lovely contribution from the ensemble.
Another fine Aria/tutti is Wirst du unsre Tage mehren, a lovely forward moving aria Telemann at his finest before the concluding Choral Täglich, Herr Gott, wir loben dich. The acoustic of the Knechtsteden Basilika, Germany gives a nice openness without excessive reverberation.
Serenata: O erhabnes Glück der Ehe (O sublime happiness of marriage)(TVWV 11: 15c), a setting of texts by Michael Richey (1678-1761), concerns the ‘contention of the worldly blessings of the state of marriage’ and features the allegorical figures of Love, Fertility, Nurture, Honour and Longevity.
The Serenata opens, surprisingly, with an Aria O erhabenes Glück der Ehe with some lovely long held notes from soprano Hannah Morrison above the other soloists. Tenor Immo Schröder, as Eucharius, brings fine expressive singing as well as flexibility and clarity to the Recitative Ich lasse die Erfahrung sprechen, qualities he also bring to the Aria Im scherzenden Bande vereinter Gemüter with its lovely instrumental opening.
It is Schröder again that brings an attractive lightness of touch in the Aria Erlaubet mir, ihr hocherfahrnen beide with a lovely flute and harpsichord entry.
Matthius Vieweg, as Polycarpus, brings his fine rich tones to the Aria - Recitative Wem sein Geschlecht, the Aria Der lebt gedoppelt auf der Welt, full of strength and expression, a terrific aria, full of rhythmic buoyancy, brilliantly sung.
In the Aria Wo der Brotkorb niedrig hänget bass, Christos Pelekanos, as Trophimus, if lacking the ultimate dexterity of the other bass, is excellent, rich, firm and completely in control.
Margot Oitzinger as Philotimus makes her first solo entry in the Recitative O niedrige Vollkommenheiten with her lovely fresh alto voice that she uses to great effect in the Aria Die Ehre wirft bei Wohlvermählten bringing some fine, flexible singing, so light and buoyant, a lovely performance.
The Recitative Ich muss in euren Sachen reveals Markus Schäfer’s rich, firm, characterful voice as Macobius, full of expression as indeed he is in the Aria Edle Krone grauer Haare, another of Telemann’s fine arias with some lovely instrumental sounds from the lower instruments, lovely sonorities. Schäfer’s flexibility and freedom of expression is quite wonderful.
The glorious voice of Hannah Morrison returns in the Aria Wo so viel Strahlen sich vereinen with a lovely luminescence, never shrill, but always clear and bright. A lovely voice.
The Aria – Recitative Der hat es auf der Welt im Vorzug is one of a number of sections that bring together various of the soloists, in this case five of the singers who work so well together as, in the Aria Teure Seelen, bleibt vertraut! where the lovely flexible voice of tenor Immo Schröder and deep flexible voice of bass Matthias Vierweg combine to great effect.
Telemann gives bass Christos Pelekanos and alto Margot Oitzinger the opportunity to show how well they blend in some lovely long drawn phrases in the Aria Gehäufter Mittel Überfluss.
The Aria O allgewaltiges Gesschicke brings all six soloists together to conclude with the words ‘…do impart the same happiness to more Hamburg fathers.’
With a strong vocal line up and first rate instrumental ensemble this new issue is a most welcome addition to the available recordings of Telemann’s music.
There are full texts and English translations and excellent booklet notes