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Johann Philipp KRIEGER (1649-1725)
Musicalischer Seelen-Frieden
Herr, auf dich trau ich (c.1690-96: pub. 1697) [12:30]
Es stehe Gott auf (c.1690-96: pub. 1697) [6:52]
Gott, man lobet disch in der Stille (c.1690-96: pub. 1697) [10:21]
Ecce nunc benedicite Domino (c.1690-96: pub. 1697) [6:24]
Sonata Sesta à doi Op.2; in A [7:49]: in F [8:33]; in G [5:51]
Dorothee Mields (soprano)
Hamburger Ratsmusik/Simone Eckert
rec. May 2012, Refektorium Heilsbronn
Texts and translations
CARUS 83.372 [58:54]

Johann Philipp Krieger was a tireless, indeed indefatigable composer of church music. It’s calculated that during his 45-year career he composed no fewer than 2,150 cantatas - some 80 have survived - and Simone Eckert’s notes, to which I’m indebted, point out Krieger’s exceptional industry, as well as his considerable annoyance when some or other ‘bungler’ submitted a composition in his absence.
 
In this disc we hear a selection of his music including sacred concertos from the collection called Musicalischer Seelen-Frieden - perhaps surprisingly for someone so prolific his only published sacred music collection -four of which are heard in premiere recordings. Krieger’s contribution to this genre was amongst the most significant by a German composer of his time. His most important trio sonatas are also in this inventive disc.
 
Krieger inherited a Franco-Italian musical direction, and had the good fortune in particular to move in a cosmopolitan milieu rich in Italian composers. He was active, and greatly admired, in Vienna from which city he became court Kapellmeister in Wiessenfels and it was here that all the works in this disc were written.
 
The four Psalm settings are graceful and most attractive pieces showing some influence of Schütz and Buxtehude. They’re fluid and thoughtfully set out for the soprano soloist and small accompanying group of two violins and basso continuo. Psalm 31, Herr, auf dich trau ich, sports a delightful, exhilarating Allelujah and Es stehe Gott auf (Psalm 68) is more compact still at seven minutes in length but just as convincingly set. Soprano Dorothee Mields sings beautifully throughout. Hers is a voice of great purity and refinement, possessing much subtlety within a calibrated palette of colours. She sings without much vibrato. She enjoys the Italianate divisions of Gott, man lobet disch in der Stille where Krieger employs a great deal more floridity than in the companion settings. She is imaginatively accompanied by Eckert and the Hamburger Ratsmusik.
 
The three trio sonatas make for a good contrasted programme, though no doubt Mields’s admirers might have wanted more from her. They show the prevailing Italian concertante influence - he had known Legrenzi, Cavalli and Ziani, after all, amongst others, and indeed earlier in his career had brought nine Italian virtuosi with him to perform in Bayreuth. The music of the trios is sophisticated and expressive and admirably co-opts the Chaconne, for instance, to Krieger’s own technical and expressive uses.
 
I hope we’ll hear more from these musicians in this repertoire; as this is a conspicuously admirable disc.
 
Jonathan Woolf