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Johann Philipp KRIEGER (1649-1725)
XII Sonata à due Violini (1688)
Sonata 1, in D minor (5:52)
Sonata 2, in E minor [5:33]
Sonata 3, in F major [5:59]
Sonata 4, in G major [6:10]
Sonata 5, in A minor [5:37]
Sonata 6, in B flat major [4:27]
Sonata 7, in B minor [6:11]
Sonata 8, in C major [5:30]
Sonata 9, in G minor [5:19]
Sonata 10, in D major [5:19]
Sonata 11, in A major [5:17]
Sonata 12, in C minor [6:19]
Parnassi musici: Margaret MacDuffie (violin); Matthias Fischer (violin); Matthias Müller (viola d gamba); Hubert Hoffmann (archlute); Helene Lerch (organ, harpsichord)
rec. 2-5 May, 2002, Schüttbau, Rügheim
CPO 777 294-2 [67:27]

Johann Philipp Krieger - not to be confused with his younger brother Johann - was born in Nuremberg, and studied there with Gabriel Schütz . He then spent time in Copenhagen where, as well as studying the organ with Johannes Schröder, he studied composition with Kaspar Förster. He became Kappellmeister at Bayreuth and in 1675 was granted permission to spend two years travelling and studying in Italy. In Venice he furthered his studies with Johann Rosenmüller and Giovanni Battista Volpe (organist of St. Marks), while in Rome he became a pupil of Bernardo Pasquini and Antonio Maria Abbatini. On his return north of the Alps, he spent periods working in Frankfurt and Kassel before (in 1675) being appointed conductor at the court in Halle. In 1680 he moved with that court to Weisenfels, where he worked for the rest of his life.
We know that Krieger composed many cantatas and at least 18 operas, but much of this vocal music is now lost. He published three collections of instrumental music – the trio sonatas recorded here, a set of trio sonatas for solo violin, viola da gamba and continuo (1693) and Lustige Feld-Music (1704) for four wind instruments.
The twelve trio sonatas of 1688 are interesting and entertaining pieces, especially when performed with the idiomatic sympathy and intelligence which that excellent ensemble Parnassi Musici characteristically bring to the task. Each sonata is in a single movement, though the seeds of later multi-movement forms are clearly there in the contrasts which often shape the single movements. The Venetian idioms of Rosenmüller (some of whose trio sonatas Parnassi Musici have recorded on cpo 999 387-2) are clearly audible at times, but the music is also firmly grounded in northern European traditions, especially in Krieger’s use of the ostinato bass.
There are some attractive melodies here (e.g. in the tenth sonata) and some striking use of canon (as in the third sonata). All in all, the music is thoroughly rewarding, often surprisingly lyrical, often fascinating in its exploration of polyphonic possibilities.
Throughout there is an atmosphere of seeming spontaneity to the work of Parnassi Musici, a sense of flexibility grounded in substantial shared experience. The violin work of Margaret MacDuffie and Matthias Fischer is very fine, whether the music be fast or slow (where there are some lovely tones to be heard); the interplay of voices, between violins and the viola da gamba of Matthias Müller sounds like a real musical conversation. The continuo work is especially impressive, assertive (though never excessively so) and astutely varied. Music and performers both benefit from a bright and well-focussed recorded sound. In short, it is hard to imagine a more inviting way to encounter the chamber music of this composer, whose reputation would, I suspect, have been considerably higher had more of his work survived.
Glyn Pursglove


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