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American Record Guide: (07-08/2020) 
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Reviewer: Peter Loewen

When in 1668 Dietrich Buxtehude was appointed organist at the Marienkirche in Lübeck, he also took over the responsibility of organizing the Abendmusiken—a public concert series given annually in the Advent season. These concerts were a source of civic pride and rivals, both in scale and quality, to the operas produced in Hamburg. Several of the cantatas and sonatas on this program were probably composed for the Abendmusiken, though most of them are actually preserved in the Düben Collection, compiled by the Hofkapellmeister Gustav Düben in the 1640s, 1650s, and 1710s for the royal court of Sweden.

This is an absolutely gorgeous recording, with some brilliant singing by Mailys de Villoutreys and string playing by La Reveuse. Although Dietrich Buxtehude's solo cantatas dominate, he shares the program with other North German masters, namely Franz Tunder (1614–67), Heinrich Schütz, Johann Philipp Förtsch (1652–1732), and Christian Geist (c. 1650–1711). Tunder's exquisite 'Ach Herr, Lass Deine Lieben Engelein', which opens the program, is in the familiar style of German lament—a two–part cantata with a rich string sonata before and between the two arias. Johann Philipp Förtsch's 'Aus Der Tiefen Ruf Ich Herr Zu Dir' has much of the same character, though he indulges in more chromatic expression. Similar arias occur among the works of Erlebach, Johann Michael Bach, and others. Compare, for example, Franz Vitzthum's recording of Erlebach's aria 'Trocknet Euch Ihr Heissen Zähren' (Christophorus 77366; July/Aug 2013). Buxtehude's 'Dixit Dominus' is of a different character—full of joy, charged with a dance–like exchange in triple meter between voice and violins (Stephan Dudermel and Fiona–Emilie Poupard) in the 'Gloria Patri'. Geist's 'Resurrexi Adhuc Tecum Sum' is more dramatic that Buxtehude's cantatas. He appears to borrow from the style of contemporary Italian opera, moving swiftly from recitative to aria–like music. The program closes with a wonderful performance of Buxtehude's cantata Herr, Wenn Ich Nur Dich Habe. De Villoutreys's singing is sensitive and tender as she seems to caress the long melismas over what sounds like a descending ground bass. The instrumental music that comes between the cantatas is every bit as expressive and demanding as the pieces for voice. The Anonymous Sonata for Three Viols is full

of passage work that calls for dexterity. In Buxtehude's Sonata VI in D minor from his Opus 1, musicians navigate with breathtaking ease the wild shifts from one affect and tempo to another. Altogether beautiful music and outstanding singing and playing.

Texts and notes are in English.


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