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RECORDING OF THE MONTH Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst (1726) Volume 6: Seven Cantatas for
high voice, oboe and basso continuo. Endlich wird die Stunde schlagen , TVWV 1:440 [9:19] Was gleicht dem Adel wahrer Christen , TVWV 1:1511 [10:37] Schmeckt und sehet unsers Gottes Freundlichkeit , TVWV 1:1252
[12:18] Warum verstellst du die Gebärden? TVWV 1:1502 [13:31] Ein jeder läuft, der in den Schranken läuft , TVWV 1:425 [9:39]
Der Reichtum macht allein beglückt , TVWV 1:313 (first recording)
[8:40] Schaut die Demut Palmen tragen , TVWV 1:1245 [9:38]
Jan van Elsacker (tenor)
rec. Hoff Kirke, Lena, Østre Toten, Norway, 27-30 April 2011 and 10
April 2013. DDD.
Booklet includes texts and translations. TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0180 [76:04]
My colleagues and I have used up most of our superlatives
in reviewing earlier releases in this excellent series, scheduled to
record all 72 cantatas in Telemann’s 1726 collection for the whole church
Though only one of the works here is claimed as a first recording (TWV
1:313), there is no other recording in the current UK catalogue of TWV
1:1511 or 1:425. Nor do any of them appear on any of the CPO1
and Capriccio recordings of the Telemann cantatas – the chief rivals
to the Toccata project. The Dynamic series and the 2-CD Brilliant Classics
set are download only now - the latter costing more than when it was
available at budget price on CD and without booklet, though well worth
streaming from classicsonlinehd.com.
As before the cantatas are grouped according to the soloist’s voice
type rather than by the period of the church year. On this album we
range from Advent II via the Christmas period and the Sundays after
Epiphany, now known as Ordinary Time, to Lent II and Palm Sunday. There’s
less variety than you might expect but what the cantatas lack in that
respect they more than make up in beauty.
Those coming new to the series should be aware that these are not like
the Bach Cantatas, which mostly contain choral parts and chorales for
congregational participation. Telemann employs just the solo voice
and a small group of instruments. In eighteenth-century Hamburg a cantata
preceded the sermon and one followed; some of the performers had to
dash off to other churches during the sermon, hence the reduced forces
for the works included in the Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst for
use after the sermon. They also seem to have been intended for domestic
None of the soloists have been ‘big’ names but all have been first class.
Jan van Elsacker has made a number of recordings for various labels.
He has a voice that suits the baroque repertoire, though he has also
recorded music by Schubert and Schumann. I didn’t specifically mention
his contribution to Keiser’s Brockes-passion (Ramée RAM1303)
in my brief
survey of music from the Outhere group for Passiontide and Easter,
so let me make amends now and acknowledge that it added to my appreciation
of that recording, as did Zsuzsi Tóth (soprano) and Peter Kooj (bass).
I should also have mentioned his contribution as Inteletto in
Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo (Alpha ALPHA065)
when I compared that recording with the more recent version from Concerto
Vocale and René Jacobs (Harmonia Mundi – review).
In making amends now I hope to remind readers of the qualities of those
Elsacker’s is a light tenor voice, almost sounding like a counter-tenor
at times, but he has a good range and he needs it – just occasionally,
as in the first cantata, Telemann calls on a voice with an almost baritonal
range. I certainly didn’t find any of the slight edginess that Johan
van Veen reported in his review
of Melchior Franck’s Penitential Psalms (CPO 777181-2)
Bergen Barokk offer accomplished support throughout and the recording
is very good. Though it’s an ‘ordinary’ CD, my Pioneer SACD player
and Cambridge Audio blu-ray/SACD player both found more in it than my
The booklet is excellent, too. If I have a grumble it’s that it’s so
full that it’s hard to get in and out of the jewel case. Toccata under-sell
themselves by claiming a playing-time of 73:42 – I make it an even more
generous and thoroughly enjoyable 76:04.
This could be an ideal place to get into this ongoing series but I should
warn you that, having heard it, you may well be tempted to go for its
five predecessors. This is the first of them that I have reviewed on
disc as opposed to downloads: the Recording of the Month accolade is
for the whole series to date.
1 Most recently ‘Luther’ Cantatas on 777753-2 – DL
News 2014/4. As well as eclassical.com,
this, slightly less expensively: neither offers the booklet of essential
texts. Nor do classicsonlinehd.com,
where it can be sampled by all and streamed by subscribers.
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