Georg Philipp Telemann, Klaus Mertens, Accademia Daniel - Passion Cantatas

Published Wednesday 2nd September 2009
Georg Philipp Telemann, Klaus Mertens, Accademia Daniel - Passion Cantatas
Georg Philipp Telemann, Klaus Mertens, Accademia Daniel  - Passion Cantatas

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: CPO 7772992

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Being an enthusiast rather than an expert your reviewer is often surprised at the interesting material out there awaiting discovery. I had heard of Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) but had filed him away as being another German composer who is not as good as Bach. I stand by that sweeping generalisation (which, in my opinion, is true for all German composers) although having heard this collection I now want to upgrade my assessment of Mr Telemann. The singer on this CD is bass-baritone Klaus Mertens who has appeared on more than 150 releases. We all know that quantity is no guarantee of quality but no singer can be asked to record so prolifically unless he is at least quite good. Mertens is excellent. He has a lovely, warm voice and brings out all the depth in these five songs about the Passion of Jesus. Naturally Mertens sings in German so the translations in the CD booklet are much appreciated. Suitable musical accompaniment is from the period ensemble Accademia Daniel, directed by Shalev Ad-El. These cantatas are of particular interest as we suspect that the composer wrote them for him to sing them himself but you will need to read Eric F Fiedler's interesting booklet notes to see the evidence for yourself. The songs are wordy, being theology set to music, but the melodies are strong enough to keep our attention focused, even when we cannot understand the words. In places it is apparent that Telemann and Bach have dipped from the same well. This CD is recommended as an example of very good singing and is of special interest to those who love a deeper voice; musically it would appeal to those who enjoy the vocal music of Bach.

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