Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Johann Valentin RATHGEBER (1682-1750)
Augsburger Tafelconfekt
Stultorum plena sunt omnia [1:46]
Von der Erschaffung Adam und Eva [3:45]
Modicum, ein wenig [3:07]
Quodlibeticum: Von einem Politico [2:55]
Von der Solmisation in der Musik [9:47]
Von der edlen Musik [3:59]
Der Liebhaber des Gelds, des Weins, des Frauenzimmers [6:30]
Von dem gedultigen Job und seinem bˆsen Weib [3:06]
Von allerhand Nasen [3:43]
Vom Rauch- und Schnupf-Tabak [8:09]
Quodlibeticum: Die Bettelzech [9:06]

Consortium Canticum Leipzig
Kammermusikensemble Freiburg
Rec: October 1994.
ANTES EDITION BM-CD 31.9033 [57.10]

Johann Valentin Rathgeber was ordained as a priest in 1711, after first having worked as a schoolteacher and later a valet. In 1729, he left the Benedictine monastery without permission, and travelled throughout Germany. During this two-year period, he wrote his first compositions.

The term for these works, Tafelconfekt, could be translated as "Mealtime Confectionery" - this is music designed to accompany meals (or table music), short songs for 1, 2, 3 or 4 voices, accompanied by harpsichord or cello. These secular songs deal with the most mundane subjects: an argument between devotees of snuff and those of tobacco; three-part debates about wine, women and song; drinking songs; political discussions, etc.

This "light" music is similar in tone to Bach's secular cantatas - think of the Coffee Cantata, or the Peasant Cantata - and is cheery and unassuming. The songs have a certain dramatic tone to them, not like an opera, but with a similar quality of telling a story. These pieces are often simple melodies, sometimes based on popular songs of the time.

The musicians clearly enjoyed themselves when recording this disc. Their joy comes through, and their voices are warm and flexible. While not great singers, they are honest and fit the music perfectly. This is an attractive programme of music by a little-known composer. One regret is that the lyrics are only in German in the liner notes - those of us who do not read German can have no idea what they are singing about.

An attractive recording of some little-known "light" vocal music, designed to delight the mind and provide entertainment in a secular setting.

Kirk McElhearn


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