> BUXTEHUDE vocal Music Vol 2 8.224160 [TB]: Classical Reviews- March 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707)
Vocal Music, Volume 2

Das neugeborne Kindelein
Der Herr ist mit mir
Fürwahr, er trug unsere Krankheit
Alles, was ihr tut
Magnificat anima mea

Johann Reuter (bass)
Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir
Dufay Collective
Ebbe Monk (conductor)
Rec 12-14 June 2000, Vejle  Kirke, Ishíj, Denark
DACAPO 8.224160 [50.59]


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Vocal music was not Buxtehude's principal interest, either by profession or inclination, yet he still produced well over 100 compositions for the voice. DaCapo has entered upon a project to record this repertoire, and this second volume contains much that is of interest, performed and recorded to a high standard.

The first thing to state is that all the performances sound well. The singing is accurate and intonation and ensemble entirely reliable. The instrumental contributions are rarely ostentatious and the 'original instruments' of the Dufay Collective balance the voices and sound just right for the musical style.

Buxtehude's style is both direct and sophisticated. If the music does not linger in the mind in the way that, say, Bach's choral music does, it still sounds well and can be enjoyed by that standard alone. Of the works collected here the Magnificat has a winning directness and vitality, with plenty of contrasts among the part-writing, including some colourful solo singing from various members of the Copenhagen Choir.

Better still (and best of all among these pieces?) is the cantata Fürwahr, er trug unsere Krankheit (Surely He hath borne our griefs), which has a text of only eight lines, yet spans a full 12 minutes. The opening sinfonia is arresting, distinguished by shifting dynamics which make a telling impression, while the vocal writing is imaginative and varied, again with some distinguished contributions from individual members of the choir. Johan Reuter is a splendid bass soloist, in fine voice.

The booklet contains full texts and translations and has authoritative notes, although the paper is rather thin. This may not ultimately be the best of Buxtehude, but it is still full of interest and does much to raise the profile of one of the best composers of the baroque era.

Terry Barfoot

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