MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

CD: Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Passion Cantatas

Der am Ölberg zagende Jesus, TVWV 1:364 [16:18]
Was gibst du denn, o meine seele, TVWV 1:1510 [11:06]
Jesus liegt in letzten Zügen
, TVWV 1:983 [15:55]
Ich will den Kreuzweg gerne gehen
, TVWV 1:884 [14:16]
Ach Herr! Lehr uns Bedenken wohl
, TVWV 1:24 [11:55]
Klaus Mertens (bass-baritone)
Accademia Daniel/Shalev Ad-El
rec. 17 March 2006 Kirche Leipzig-Gundorf, Germany; 7-9 June 2007 Kirche Polditz, Germany DDD
CPO 777 299-2 [69:53]
Experience Classicsonline

Here is a splendidly sonorous and sensitively performed CD of five sacred cantatas by the extremely prolific Telemann. Amongst the musical attributes which the composer describes in his application in 1712 for the post of Kapellmeister at Frankfurt is his own singing voice…"zwischen Tenor und Baß" (between tenor and bass) - or baritone. Taken together with at least one letter to city authorities complaining that because of an absence of singers, Telemann had to 'hire [him]self', it seems likely that he wrote this music at least partly with himself in mind. Indeed, an unusually large proportion of the 1,400 cantatas which Telemann wrote did include a part for such a voice (range, timbre and delivery style, as far as we can tell) as Telemann's.

A lot is resting on Klaus Mertens shoulders in these performances, then. He has worked, of course, with many 'early music' specialists…Ton Koopman (the staple baritone on the latter's superb Bach cantata series) and Frans Brüggen, Nicholas McGegan, Philippe Herreweghe, René Jacobs, Sigiswald Kuijken, Gustav Leonhardt and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

Here he is in fine form. His voice has a solidity and generosity slightly redolent of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's. This results in an authority in the way that each piece is structured and articulated. Listen, for example, to the opening of 'Mein liebster Heiland' [tr.15] in Jesus liegt in letzten Zügen. Absent are any notions of rushing, self-indulgent pondering, speculating, wavering - uncertainties about the place of the words in the context of the cantata itself, and its meaning within the wider liturgical milieu. But equally important is the complete absence in Mertens' approach of woodenness, rigidity or inflexibility. Particularly impressive is the extent to which Martens infuses his solos with such drama… Telemann, after all, was also an opera composer. But the drama here is only that inherent in the Passion itself; the Passion is never 'used' as a vehicle for other ideas.

His is a singing style that inspires confidence while knowing that we are also hearing singing full of the Affekt that was so important to Baroque composers. We are moved, emotionally compelled and taken with the sentiment of the music, which is, after all, concerned with Christ's death. But our feelings change in accordance with the bar to bar, almost - certainly phrase to phrase - alternations of circumstance …regret, hope, anger, resignation as the Passion story is told. Mertens avoids any hint of perfunctoriness. Despite the fact that the story is so familiar and the resonances or sympathies which Telemann intended to evoke so huge, Mertens sets them out with an attention and freshness that are somehow very genuine and trusted. His exposition of the opening first number, 'Ich will den Kreuzweg gerne gehen' [tr.18], in Ich will den Kreuzweg gerne gehen itself is poignant in the extreme. But because Mertens sings from within the circumstances of this affirmation - not just because we know what poignancy means.

The Accademia Daniel under Shalev Ad-El play their period instruments with support where that is all that Martens needs and with vigour and spirit in passages requiring greater presence. The tendency, given the theme, is for sombre and melancholy. Yet nowhere is the playing lugubrious or maudlin. A wonderful balance, which would seem to come from great familiarity with the music. The scoring is necessarily spare and understated. At most Accademia Daniel comprises a dozen players. But their sound is focused, tender and expressive. Such numbers as 'Wie der Blumen' [tr.25] in Ach Herr! Lehr uns Bedenken wohl show the touching and very real empathy between Martens and the Accademia.

The liner notes have an interesting set of essays on the music's background, artists' biographies and texts in German and English. The recording is warm and the acoustic appropriately gentle. This is music that must be listened to closely, not overheard. If that's how you approach it, you'll be amply repaid. No other available recordings of these works exists. If they did, they'd have to have some pretty strong performances to have the advantage over this energetic yet unselfconscious and beautiful cpo release.

Mark Sealey


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




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


      Composer surveys
      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

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


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

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



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

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
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
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
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.