A Telemann Passion – and a lot of recitatives

Completing my reviews of the Cantatas, Oratorios and Passions from Hänssler Classic, recorded by conductor Ulrich Stötzel from 1994 to 2015, I end with the beginning, with the 1994 recording of Telemann’s 1746 Matthew Passion, on Hänssler Classic CD 98.960 – one among over 52 passions and passion-oratorios that he composed.

I’m not as enthusiastic as with the other works recorded by Stötzel. Certainly, the Passion offers eight arias that are as fine as any written by Telemann, but they are like the pearl that you can access only by wringing the shell open – more than half of the Passion is made of long recitatives sometimes giving way to short ariosos, and short choruses, sometimes in the form of simple chorales, and even when better integrated in the dramatic unfolding of the piece, lacking heft and power to really evoke the often violent action they are supposed to depict. The Passion sounds a little too much like some kind of “sprechgesang” theatre play for full musical enjoyment, I find, a kind of revival of Monteverdi’s “parlar cantando” concept of opera.

For the links to the reviews of the other installment in the series, see my review of the 2017 compilation.

More Telemann, from my past

A few months ago I purchased in a lot of CDs on eBay the 8-CD set from Hänssler Classic 8 CD PH17014, essentially compiling the previous recordings of unknown cantatas and a rarely-performed Passion made for the label between 1997 and 2015 by conductor Ulrich Stötzel.

I found the works beautiful, but the set is a rather cheap affair (and, sure, if you pay less you should expect less) with no liner notes or texts, and these cantatas are not just instrumental works, they are words and meaning conveyed by music, you (or at least, I) don’t listen just for sound, but for the unity of music and meaning. So, given my enthusiasm for the pieces I decided to buy some of the original CDs (most of them can be found pretty cheap on the marketplace), and have reviewed them as such (see my blog-posts from May for links, or search Telemann Hänssler, or see my Telemann introductory page).

…and I just posted a review of the set.

Chancing as I did on those superb works, sent me back to the CDs of Telemann’s vocal/choral music that I’ve had in my collection for decades, late 1990s / early 2000s – before Discophage.com or even Amazon.com -, and I intend to listen again and post reviews.

It starts with Hermann Max’s recording of Tageszeiten and Daran ist erschienen die Liebe Gottes on Capriccio 10 319, a CD published in 1991 and acquired in 1996 (remember? we still had hope for a better future in those years…). Good recordings never age.