MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

 58,121 reviews
   and more ... 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


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

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


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Johann KUHNAU (1660-1722)
Complete Sacred Works - Volume II
Lobe den Herren, meine Seele [11:11]
Christ lag in Todes Banden [8:47]
Gott der Vater, wohn uns bei [17:12]
Lobe den Herren, meine Seele [12:31]
Schmücket das Fest mit Maien [17:18]
Opelia Musica, camerata lipsiensis/Gregor Meyer
rec. 2013/2015, St. Georgen, Rötha, Germany
CPO 555 020-2 [67:24]

Kuhnau is mostly known as J. S. Bach’s predecessor for twenty-one years at Leipzig’s Thomaskirche. Like Bach, he was a keyboard virtuoso, and there are several recordings of his Biblical Sonatas and his Fresh Fruits for the Clavier. Kuhnau probably wrote as much music as Bach, although his fate was to become an “unknown” composer. Kuhnau was also an author of satirical novels, so he might have appreciated the irony. His reputation was weakened by a feud with the young Telemann, who successfully (if inaccurately) branded Kuhnau as an enemy of musical progress. Nor was the case for Kuhnau helped by the fact that much of his choral music was lost, with only some thirty cantatas surviving. One of these was mistakenly attributed to Bach, the former Cantata No 142 Uns ist ein Kind geboren, which gives a clue that Kuhnau’s music might actually be of interest.

This recording is a welcome second volume in a series dedicated to reviving interest in Kuhnau from Gregor Meyer, the Opelia Musica, and the camerata lipsiensis (review of Volume I). The performances are small in scale, but not in spirit. Opelia Musica consists of 4 voices (SATB), and the camerata lipsiensis has fifteen instrumentalists. Their performances are clear and clean, with a strong rhythmic sense and interesting timbres. I wonder what sonorities a somewhat larger group might elicit from this music, but these versions are very satisfying.

Kuhnau worked in an era of considerable musical change, just before the consolidation of high baroque musical conventions. His works, most of which are undated, contain much stylistic variety, as German religious music moved from the Sacred Concertos of Heinrich Schütz to the type of cantata associated with Bach.

These differences are highlighted on this disc in two different cantatas called Lobe den Herren, meine Seele. The earlier work features brief contrasting sections, with accompanying instruments echoing the Venetian models, which were popularized by Schütz. The second setting is organized into the recitative and aria format of the early Eighteenth Century. Accompanying instruments are treated differently, as well, with an outstanding oboe d’amore joining alto and bass in a gentle duet on the Lord’s compassion and grace. The final movement is a stirring Alleluia for alto and bass, in contrast to the earlier version, which ends less imaginatively by repeating the opening chorus.

Schmücket das Fest mit Maien is largely a dialogue cantata between God the bridegroom and his bride, the congregation. Its highlight is the bride’s love song summoning gentle winds, accompanied by a pair of recorders. The concluding chorale is especially festive, making the most of organ and instruments. Christ lag in Todes Banden and Gott der Vater, wohn uns bei continue the light and crisp performances. There is nothing lugubrious or dense here, only inventive music in intelligent and spirited performances.

Richard Kraus



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 cpo reviews

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

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus