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Machet die Tore Weit. Baroque Christmas Cantatas from Central Germany (FLAC)

Machet die Tore Weit. Baroque Christmas Cantatas from Central Germany (FLAC)
Machet die Tore Weit. Baroque Christmas Cantatas from Central Germany (FLAC)

Composer: Philipp Heinrich Erlebach, Christian August Jacobi, Christian Liebe, Gottfried Ernst Pestel, Basilius Petritz, Johann Schelle
Performer: Birte Kulawik, Dorothea Wagner, David Erler, Hans Joerg Mammel, Matthias Lutz, Saechsisches Vocalensemble, Batzdorfer Hofkapel
Conductor: Matthias Jung
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: CPO
Catalogue: 7773322
Release: 2007
Size: 297 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: cover

Schelle: Machet die Tore weit
01ю Machet die Tore weit und die Tur in der Welt hoch (Chorus)
02. Auf, mein Herze, schicke dich (Soprano)
03. Drum so wirf die Riegel ein (Alto)
04. Heil’ge dich mit Reu und Leid (Tenor)
05. Denn des Konigs sanfter Mut (Bass)
06. Lass ihn willig dann zu dir (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass)
07. Machet die Tore weit (Chorus)

Petritz: Die Herrlichkeit der Herrn
08. Sinfonia
09. Die Herrlichkeit der Herrn (Chorus)
10. Die schwere Nacht (Soprano)
11. Der Taube hort (Alto)
12. Und diese Zeit ist’s (Tenor)
13. Hilf, frommer Gott (Bass)
14. Die Herrlichkeit der Herrn (Chorus)

Erlebach: Fürchtet euch nicht
15. Furchtet euch nicht (Chorus)
16. Entsetzet euch nicht (Soprano)
17. Mein Jesus erscheint (Alto, Tenor)
18. Ist Gott fur uns (Bass, Chorus)

Jacobi: Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt
19. Also hat Gott die Welt geliebet (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, Chorus)
20. Bis willkommen, du edler Gast (Chorus)
21. Und kommst ins Elend her zu mir (Soprano, Tenor)
22. Das hat also gefallen dir (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, Chorus)
23. Duet: Ach, mein herzliebes Jesulein (Soprano, Alto)
24. Lob, Ehr sei Gott im hochsten Thron (Chorus)

Liebe: O Heiland aller Welt
25. Sinfonia
26. O Heiland aller Welt (Soprano)
27. Ich seh’ von ferne schon (Tenor)
28. Doch bist du, Jesulein, zur Welt (Soprano)
29. Drum will ich nun fortan (Tenor)
30. So gluhet und schuret (Chorus)

Bessel: Komm, du schone Freudenkrone
31. Sinfonia
32. Komm, du schone Freudenkrone (Soprano, Alto, Tenor)
33. Ich komme, meine Schwester (Bass)
34. Siehe ich verkundige euch (Soprano 2)
35. Bis willkommen, du edler Gast (Chorus)
36. Amen (Chorus)

This disc represents one of a number of attempts to fill in the landscape of German music between Schütz and Bach — a landscape that Albert Schweitzer once famously characterized as filled with hills rather than mountains. The program offered by this excellent agglomeration of Saxon musicians, playing pieces that originated in their own region, doesn’t do much to refute Schweitzer’s description, but it includes a lot of simple, festive music that anyone can enjoy at Christmastime. All the pieces were apparently labeled as being for Christmas use, although some, like Christian August Jacobi’s Also hat Gott die Welt geliebet (For God so loved the world that he gave his only son…) would seem odd choices for that season. The music here comes from around 1700. What the Bach cantata enthusiast comes away with is a new appreciation for how important the subjective cantata texts of Erdmann Neumeister and his followers were to the artistry of Bach’s sacred music: the composers here could write big choruses that, though shorter than Bach’s, were no less splendid, but they were working in forms that were essentially simpler than Bach’s, where religious sentiment seems to pour forth with the passion of an opera. These cantatas consist of an opening chorus, often with trumpets and drums, perhaps preceded by an instrumental sinfonia, and followed by a set of text stanzas that are given in turn to a set of soloists. Two of the pieces woodenly run through soprano, alto, tenor, and bass in order; the others use the vocal combinations to express the text in some way. The scope is limited — the choruses around about three minutes long, and the individual solos mostly about a minute. But there’s an attractive simplicity about the whole thing, partly because the ensembles involved — the Sächsisches Vokalensemble, the Batzdorfer Hofkapelle, and a quintet of soloists — give fresh testimony to the high level of musical accomplishment in medium-sized German towns. This is not an essential Christmas disc, but it will please any Bach lover who tries it out.

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