Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively AmazonUK   AmazonUS

 

Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (c.1637-1707)
Vocal Music Vol. 2

Das neugeborne Kindelein, BuxWV 13 [7:14]
Der Herr ist mir, BuxWV 15 [8:09]
Fürwahr, er trug unsere Krankheit, BuxWV 31 [12:34]
Alles, was ihr tut, BuxWV 4 [14:21]
Magnificat anima mea, BuxWV Anh.1 [8:45]
John Reuter (bass)
Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir
The Dufay Collective/Ebbe Munk
rec. 12-14 June, 2000, Vejleå Church, Ishøj, Denmark
Texts and translations available online.
NAXOS 8.570494 [51:02]
Experience Classicsonline


This second volume in the Naxos series of Buxtehude’s vocal music was previously issued on Dacapo (Dacapo 8.224160). It is made up of four sacred cantatas – and one ‘interloper’, a setting of the Magnificat mistakenly identified as Buxtehude’s back in 1931 by Bruno Grusnick, but pretty certainly not his.

The four cantatas give us the chance to hear Buxtehude employing a variety of strategies.

Das neugeborne Kindelein sets the four verses of a Christmas hymn first published in 1588 by Cyriacus Schneegass (1546-1597), German hymn-writer, composer and music theorist. The words have a simple radiance, each of the four stanzas made up of four lines rhymed aabb. Buxtehude treats them interestingly; he adopts different approaches for each of the four stanzas. In the first he sets the opening three lines, the initial announcement of the recurrent ‘new’ birth of Christ and its significance, relatively plainly, allowing the words to dominate and hold the attention. Then, as if to celebrate the significance of the words of proclamation, the final line of Schneegass’s first stanza is richly elaborated through repetition and contrapuntal echo. Between each stanza we get an instrumental ritornello and after its first return, the second stanza offers yet more vocal elaboration and responds beautifully to the text’s assertion that the angels are singing in the sky, a response heightened by a greater use of instrumental accompaniment interwoven with the vocal phrases than was allowed to happen in the first stanza. The third stanza speaks of the battle against “Teufel, Welt und Höllenpfort” and the sense of conflict is heightened by much greater use of instrumental interjections which break up the vocal phrases and the lines of the verse. In the fourth stanza, as the text grows to a full realisation that the birth of “das Jesuslein” guarantees the possibility of human salvation, the musical metre changes and the instruments and voices work more obviously together, so that verse, voice and instruments embody, in their new relationship, the transformation into coherent meaning of which the hymn speaks. Buxtehude, in short, has integrated text, singers and instrumental ensemble with a completeness of achieved purpose that makes Das neugeborne Kindelein a minor masterpiece.

In Der Herr ist mit mir the text is taken from the Psalms (Psalm 118 verses 6-7). In the Authorized Version it reads thus: “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me. The Lord taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me”. To the German translation of these verses is added a concluding ‘Hallelujah’. Buxtehude sets the Psalm text in predominantly homophonic fashion, the text remaining clearly and emphatically audible, its meaning emphasised by some patterned rhythmic and harmonic touches. With the ‘Hallelujah’ Buxtehude launches into a virtuoso ciacona made up of nineteen variations over two-bar ostinato bass. The contrast with what has gone before is startling and exciting.

The most dramatically expressive work here is Fürwahr, er trug unsere Krankheit, setting verses from Isaiah prophetic of the crucifixion. There is some powerful instrumental writing and Buxtehude’s music articulates a powerful response to the idea of the Passion; the writing, both for the bass soloist and for the chorus, as well as for the sections of the chorus, is consistently intense and moving. The response to the imagery of Christ’s wounds and “stripes” is especially poignant. Fürwahr, er trug unsere Krankheit is a fine piece, full of sustained melodies and aching harmonies, and it comes off particularly well in this recording.

Alles, was ihr tut is perhaps the most familiar of these four cantatas. It is an exhortation to ensure that (in the words of the Epistle to the Colossians) “whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [ye] do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the father by him”, as well as a petition that God might assist both individual and community. Buxtehude fruitfully juxtaposes elements of the sacred concerto and the aria, as well as the setting of a chorale text to an already existing melody; homophonic passages and contrapuntal writing are employed by turns; the interplay of instruments and voices is always effective and interesting. In passing phrases – both textual and musical – between soloist and chorus, Buxtehude seems to offer an artistic statement as to the proper relationship between the individual and the community in a Christian society. The whole work breathes an untroubled faith and the continuo work from the Dufay Ensemble is particularly striking here.

The external evidence makes it unlikely that the Magnificat is Buxtehude’s; although one copy of the work was found in the collection of Buxtehude’s friend Gustav Düben, who certainly owned copies of works by Buxtehude, it has to be said that he also owned works by other composers too; other surviving copies of this setting come from areas of Europe where Buxtehude is not known to have had any connections. Nor, indeed, does it really sound like Buxtehude; it lacks the subtlety and inventiveness of Buxtehude at anything like his best. It is pleasant but undistinguished and is perhaps best attributed to that old favourite ‘Anon’.

These are not perfect performances. The closing ‘Hallelujah’ of Der Herr ist mit mir hasn’t quite the brilliance and lightness of touch that the music deserves; Johan Reuter’s bass, though tonally very apt and attractive, isn’t quite as expressive as one might wish; just now and then, by the highest standards, the voices of one or two of the choir’s soloists sound overtaxed. On the other hand, the Choir as a whole sings beautifully, their work tonally lovely, their diction exemplary. The performances are certainly plenty good enough to give the hearer a pretty good idea of just how fine this music is.

Glyn Pursglove

see also Review by Brian Wilson




 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.