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Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637 - 1707)
Membra Jesu Nostri - Cantatas

Membra Jesu Nostri Cycle of Seven Sacred Cantatas BuxWV 75
Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn (The Son of God Triumphs Today) BuxWV 43
Martina Bovet (soprano)
Maria Cristin Kiehr (soprano)
Andreas Scholl (counter-tenor)
Gerd Türk (tenor)
Ulrich Messthale r(bass)
Concerto Vocale/René Jacobs (director)
No recording details provided


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This is a recording of previously released material and presents a fine opportunity to explore a genre, scarcely known up until now, from the greatest German-based composer of the late seventeenth century.

Little is known of Buxtehude’s early life but it is thought that he was born in Denmark around 1637. He has been best remembered for his compositions for organ which consist of preludes, fugues, toccatas, chaconnes, music from chorales, and the passacaglia which influenced Bach's Passacaglia in C Minor. As part of his duties as organist of St. Mary's Church in Lübeck, Buxtehude composed for numerous sacred occasions and also certain public events in the city. The greatest proportion of his large output comprises some 120 vocal scores; mainly sacred cantatas composed in a wide variety of scorings and styles.

This coupling performed by Concerto Vocale under the direction of Belgian counter-tenor René Jacobs is exceptionally attractive and interesting. The jubilant spirit of the Cantata Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn forms a fascinating and striking contrast with the devout meditations of the cycle of Seven Sacred Cantatas Membra Jesu nostri.

The instrumental ensemble offer most subtle and colourful playing with lovingly sung interpretations from the soloists, including the renowned counter-tenor, Andreas Scholl, being impeccably clear and well balanced. The splendid direction from the talented René Jacobs gives impressive attention to detail which makes the performance so moving, suitably reverent and compelling.

Buxtehude’s sacred music is at last starting to get the exposure that it rightly deserves and this reissue from Harmonia Mundi most ably assists the cause. A release excellently performed and recorded.

Michael Cookson

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