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Lucia Popp (soprano)
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen” BWV 51 (1730) [17’52”]
From  Christmas Oratorio – Aria – “Grosser Herr und starker Konig” (1734) [5’22”]
Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
From Psalm 111 “Ich Danke dem Herren von ganzem Herzen.28 (1708) [2’44”]
From Psalm 111 “Er sendet eine Erlosung seinem Volk” (1708) [2’17”]
Georg Frederic HANDEL (1685-1759)
From The Messiah, Oratorio,(1742) The Trumpet Shall Sound” [9’34”]
From Samson, Oratorio,(1743) “Let the bright Seraphim” [6’12”]
Lucia Popp (soprano), Jorma Hynninen, (bass)
Carol Dawn Reinhart (trumpet)
Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra/Marinus Voorberg
Recorded in Amsterdam, 1982. ADD
ARTS ARCHIVES 43015–2  [44’45”]

 

 

This disc illustrates how marketing men can make the contents of a disc seem not what it actually is. The disc is called “Lucia Popp sings cantatas and arias with trumpet by Bach, Handel and Telemann.” In fact, Lucia Popp sings on only half of the items; the rest are taken by Jorma Hynninen. The only soloist to appear on all items is the trumpeter, Carol Dawn Reinhart, and instead of being prime soloist she is relegated to third position. I suppose this is understandable but if an unwary fan of Lucia Popp buys this disc he or she is likely to be disappointed.

Having expressed my surprise about what lengths the record companies will go to get a sale, I must report that this disc is sheer delight from start to finish. The Bach cantata for soprano, trumpet, and orchestra is probably one of the most well known items here. Lucia Popp brings to it all of her well known artistry – a bright pleasant voice, minimum of disfiguring vibrato, accurate pitching and ability to get around all of Bach’s difficult vocal writing with an ease that leaves me astonished. Coupled with this, the Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra plays superbly well, making a brilliant foil to the virtuosity of the trumpeter, who dovetails with the soloist very naturally.

Jorma Hynninen takes over for the aria from the Christmas Oratorio “Sov’reign Lord and God Almighty”. It is from the first cantata making up the Christmas Oratorio. The choice of trumpet as solo in this aria is an obvious one, as the aria had originally been to a secular text and was intended as homage to the King of Saxony. Hynninen makes as good a job of it as Lucia Popp has made of the preceding work. This first class artistry is carried on to the next two arias on this disc by Telemann.

Lucia Popp takes the first, and Jorma Hynninen takes the second. Both of these arias are in Telemann’s florid style, utilising the trumpet in a very virtuoso role. In mediaeval times the trumpet was considered a regal instrument, only allowed to be played in the presence of the King. There were two kinds of trumpet in use, having different mouthpieces, and producing two types of sound. One produced a relatively mellow tone (principale), a descendant of the Mediaeval field trumpet, and the other was the brighter-toned clarino instrument. Each required an extremely accomplished soloist and both Bach and Telemann were fortunate in having such soloists available to them.

We then come to the two arias from The Messiah and Solomon. Jorma Hynninen takes over for “The Trumpet Shall Sound”, and the usual criticism of not being able to pronounce the words is not a problem here, as it is sung in the German translation. I enjoyed this very much. When we come to the aria from Samson, made famous not so long ago by Joan Sutherland on her “Art of the Prima Donna” records, and by Kiri Te Kanawa: she of the yellow hat at the wedding of Prince Charles (first time around).

This soprano aria is taken relatively steadily and is in German again. Once again, the sound of the voice is superb, as is the accompaniment.

Are there any shortcomings – well, yes – why only 45 minutes of music? There must have been much more available from this soprano to swell out the playing time.

This is a very enjoyable disc, well sung, played, and recorded, but why Arts Archives. Lucia Popp has not been with us for all that time, and I am puzzled why this logo should have been used. Arts’ normal label might have been a better platform for this repertoire and these artists.

John Phillips

 

 



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