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Fanfare Magazine: 18:6 (07-08/1995)  
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Harmonia Mundi

HMG 501505

Code-barres / Barcode: 0794881944521

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Reviewer: Tom Moore

The seventeenth-century German song literature remains little known to most listeners, even less than the contemporary French airs de cours. The thirty-year paroxysm of religious slaughter in Germany between 1618 and 1648 cannot but have had a great effect on bourgeois comfort and music-making in Germany, and the number of composers of “Arien“ or “Oden“ was small (here represented by Albert, Nauwach, and Adam Krieger). These are generally strophic works, intended for the chamber, without the sort of aspirations toward and connections to the stage that the contemporary Italian cantata had. There have not been many recordings of this repertoire; Cantus Colin released a disc devoted entirely to Heinrich Albert, one of the most prolific song-composers, with almost 200 published in collections between 1638 and 1650 (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77 245, apparently not distributed in the U.S.) René Jacobs also contributed a volume with songs of Nauwach, Albeit, Kittel, and Schein for Accent (8015, not reissued on CD). The songs by Johann Philipp Krieger are drawn from his operas for Weissenfels in the 1680s and 1690s; those by Johann Valentin Görner belong to a new resurgence of domestic song in the eighteenth century also contributed to by Telemann and C.P.E. Bach.

Countertenor Scholl has recorded with Jacobs and Christie. He produces a beautifully clear, bright tone, though perhaps without much depth of color. Scholl shapes the melancholy lines and minor harmonies well. The program he has chosen leans predominantly to the pains of love, the pining gallant who must console himself for the absence or indifference of his lover. (Krieger's cheery paean to Rhine wine is a pleasant contrast.) Scholl's companions are skilled (very nice lute work from Schröder) and the recording is fine. Not for every taste, but will be welcomed by the Kenner.

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