George Philipp Telemann, La Stagione Frankfurt , Michael Schneider - Ich Hoffete Aufs Licht

Published Sunday 29th May 2011
George Philipp Telemann, La Stagione Frankfurt , Michael Schneider - Ich Hoffete Aufs Licht
George Philipp Telemann, La Stagione Frankfurt , Michael Schneider - Ich Hoffete Aufs Licht

STYLE: Choral
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
LABEL: CPO 7776032

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Georg Philipp Telemann was born in Magdeburg in 1681, educated at the University of Leipzig and from 1721 until his death in 1767 was Cantor of the Johanneum and director of music for the five principal city churches in Hamburg. In his long career Telemann wrote a great deal of music of all kinds in a style that extends the late Baroque into the age of Haydn. This CD is from the series "Musica Sacra Hamburgensis 1600-1800" which is of much greater interest to the citizens of that great city than those of us who are not Hamburgers. Indeed this reviewer felt as though he was eavesdropping a private conversation, a feeling that is not helped by his complete and utter lack of understanding of the German language. Still, the tunes were pleasant and the singing particularly good. The subject matter is also, for the non-specialist, obscure being the funeral music written on the news of the death of the Emperor Charles VII in 1745. "Emperor" here means Holy Roman Emperor and his death was particularly significant for the city of Hamburg at that time, being one of the northernmost outposts of Catholicism and under threat from Denmark and Prussia. I told you it was obscure! So we cannot expect the music to be light-hearted and Telemann does not have the musical gifts of his contemporary and friend Johann Sebastian Bach who could make even the most sombre occasion an opportunity for writing joyful music. As a composer Telemann was professionally competent and, dread phrase, worthy but dull. The period ensemble La Stagione Frankfurt do a splendid job aided by eight admirable vocalists. So collectors of late Baroque funeral music will have a great time with this release and the rest of us will respectfully leave them to it.

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