Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707)
Sacred Cantatas, Volume 2
Das neugebor’ne Kindelein, BuxWV 13 [6:45]
Quemadmodum desiderat cervus, BuxWV 92 [7:44]
Nichts soll uns scheiden von der Liebe Gottes, BuxWV 77 [10:22]
Dixit Dominus Domino meo, BuxWV 17 [10:03]
An filius non est Dei, BuxWV 6 [12:09]
Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BuxWV 71 [9:21]
Jesu, komm, mein Trost und Lachen, BuxWV 58 [9:02]
Herr, nun läßt du deinen Diener, BuxWV 37 [6:40]
Jesu, dulcis memoria, BuxWV 57 [7:20]
Emma Kirkby, soprano
Michael Chance, counter-tenor
Charles Daniels, tenor
Peter Harvey, bass
The Purcell Quartet (Catherine Mackintosh, violin; Catherine Weiss, violin; Richard Boothby, violone/viola da gamba)
Robert Woolley, organ; Clare Salaman, violin/viola; Rachel Byrt, viola; Jane Rogers, viola; Reiko Ichise, viola da gamba; William Hunt, violone
rec. St. Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, London, 8-10 September 2004.
CHANDOS CHAN 0723 [79:29]




Dietrich Buxtehude is, perhaps, best known for his inclusion in an oft-repeated anecdote in which J. S. Bach walks 300 miles to hear him play.  Buxtehude’s career in Lübeck had him preside over the extensive musical activities of the Marienkirche, which included duties as an organist and composer, affiliation with the collegium musicum, and the solicitation of monetary support for various concert series he directed at the church.  Buxtehude’s reputation was one of a great organ virtuoso, and even now, his virtuosic organ works are his most often-performed compositions.

This disc offers several of Buxtehude’s small scale cantatas for solo voices and vocal quartet.  Quintessentially North German in character, this is by no means the most interesting music available; however, the personnel included on this recording do an admirable job of bringing the music to a professional, well-considered, and expressive level of performance. 

The four singers sing both the solo and ensemble parts, which lends an extraordinarily consistent sound from one movement to the next.  The matching vocal timbres from solo movements to choral movements allow the listener to hear these small-scale works as cogent pieces from movement to movement.   Emma Kirkby is the headlining vocalist on this recording, and her performances are, as usual, highly virtuosic.  She has an incredibly agile voice that can wrap itself around phrases of considerable difficulty.  It seems though, that in exchange for her lightning coloratura, she is forced to sacrifice some color and expressive nuance.  Kirkby’s solo cantata Dixit Dominus Domino meo, is one of the standouts on the disc, both for her performance and for its compositional aspects.  There is much variation from movement to movement that is not present in many of the other selections.  The other vocal standout is tenor, Charles Daniels.  His voice is light, well-focused, and perfect for this repertoire.  On rare occasion, he seems to over-brighten his tone.  In the last movement of Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, Daniels executes some passages of Olympic magnitude.

The Purcell Quartet with its assortment of guests provides solid support for the singers as well as gorgeous playing during instrumental sections.  One hears immediately that these are players who perform together regularly.

If Buxtehude cantatas are the object of your enthusiasm, this disc provides a good number of them performed by some of the best early music specialists out there.  They are a homogeneous bunch of works, so listening to the disc in one sitting borders on monotony.  For a collector, however, this disc should not go unpurchased.

Jonathan Rohr


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