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Johann Kuhnau
Weicht Ihr Sorgen Aus Dem Herzen 	(16:31)
1 	Aria "Weicht, Ihr Sorgen" 	3:17
2 	Recitativo "Ich Bleib In Gott Gelassner Ruh" 	1:36
3 	Aria "Weicht, Ihr Sorgen" 	0:59
4 	Recitativo "Was Frag Ich Nach Der Welt" 	1:03
5 	Aria "Ich Habe Gott, Was Fehlt Mir Noch?" 	2:57
6 	Recitativo "So Kann Ich Allen Tand Der Schnöden Welt Verachten" 	1:17
7 	Aria "Komm Doch, Süße Stunde" 	5:22
8 	Ach Gott, Wie Läßt Du Mich Verstarren 	7:20
Vincenzo Albrici
9 	Omnia Quae Fecit Deus 	8:33
Johann Kuhnau
10 	In Te Domine Speravi 	8:22
Vincenzo Albrici
11 	Mihi Autem Bonum Est 	6:07

Johann Kuhnau 12 Bone Jesu 8:20 Und Ob Die Feinde 13 Aria "Und Ob Die Feinde" 2:56 14 Recitativo "Gott Unsre Feste Burg Steht Noch" 1:37 15 Aria "Wir Haben Die Reinen Und Seligen Lehren" 1:29 16 Recitativo "Ein Jeder Mag Nur Als Ein Christ" 2:16 17 Aira "Nimm Mich Mir Und Gib Mich Dir" 3:06 Soprano Vocals – Barbara Christina Steude Bassoon – Flora Padar Cello – Guido Larisch Ensemble – Concerto Con Voce Harpsichord, Organ, Leader – Jan Katzschke Lute – Ulrich Wedemeier Oboe – Ann-Kathrin Brüggemann Viola – Ulrike Kaufmann, Werner Saller Violin – Christa Kittel, Gerd-Uwe Klein Violone – Harald Martens


Johann Kuhnau (1660-1722) is best known as the cantor whom Bach succeeded at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. He deserves more: in many ways his claim to be recognised as the greatest German composer of keyboard music before Bach is a good one, for example. Yet there are only a handful of CDs containing his music currently available; fewer concentrating on his vocal output; fewer still devoted exclusively to this melodious, inventive composer, whose music is shot through with devotion, concentration and singularity of purpose - and is graceful, elegant, dynamic and immediately appealing at the same time. A lawyer with expertise in various contemporary European languages and cultures (especially literature), Kuhnau is also credited with the development - effectively the 'invention' - of the keyboard sonata.

From the ever-enterprising CPO here is a CD featuring a selection of Kuhnau's sacred vocal music performed by German soprano Barbara Christina Steude, who was born in the Bach town of Mühlhausen; she specialises in the (German) Baroque and is an advocate for the undiscovered works of the period. The CD includes very satisfying performances of two complete cantatas, Weicht ihr Sorgen aus dem Herzen and Und ob die Feinde for the 15th and 23rd Sundays after Trinity respectively.

Each is approached with undisguised vigour by Steude and Concerto con voce under Jan Katzschke. A collection like this inevitably stands or falls by the prowess of its sole singer. You can hear Steude's enthusiasm in her spontaneity and breathiness. Her controlled articulation of the musical lines and love of colour which are well matched by the lively, yet never wayward, playing of the between six and nine instrumentalists of Concerto con voce, whose only available CD to date this is. The ensemble was founded by Steude and Katzschke specifically to present music from the Renaissance to 21st century as it can be appreciated by an understanding of Bach.

The same attachment to Kuhnau's own persuasively inventive textures and tunefulness is clear in their approach to the two single-movement pieces by Kuhnau included here: In te Domine speravi (also for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity) and the Bone Jesu for the 13th. At no time during their performance is there a sense that the musicians are going through a series of 'set pieces'. Nor trying to recreate a contemporary milieu. Rather, they present a winning, convincing and idiomatic account of the music.

Ach Gott, wie läßt du mich verstarren was written when Kuhnau was under 30 years old. It's a kind of funeral aria for two of the officers at the composer's first appointment in Zittau. There are moments when Steude's voice verges on the emotional; wavers, almost (a minute into the final aria of Weicht ihr Sorgen, for example, and in the first and last thirds of Ach Gott). But this tends to add depth to her interpretation, not annoyance. Though if Kuhnau's chromaticism reminds you of Purcell's (and it should - especially in this funeral music), her slight vibrato would be out of place.

Vincenzo Albrici (1631-1696) was a family friend and significant influence on Kuhnau. Two shortish movements from Albrici's Geistliches Konzert are also included on this CD. Each displays an extroversion and Italianate exuberance melodically which one would expect to contrast more starkly with the Protestant Kuhnau's style than they actually do. For the younger composer was sufficiently open to cosmopolitan sources (two of his own teachers had been pupils of Schütz, who twice visited Italy) to absorb whatever he wanted from all worlds. Omnia quae fecit Deus and Mihi autem bonum est receive the same dedication and expressivity that Steude and Concerto con voce afford the works by Kuhnau himself. They also demonstrate how much Kuhnau's works lack the darkness - which is not the same as seriousness - and even ponderousness of some of his contemporaries. Steude captures very well Kuhnau's restraint, his determination not to overreach gratuitously - without ever restricting the emotional compass needed.

Lovers of the German Baroque will have no hesitation in buying this CD - and not merely for the historical importance of Johann Kuhnau. His music is very attractive in its own right. The youthfulness and excited singing of Steude may be just a little too theatrical for some tastes. But to see it as freshness and genuine forwardness instead is to warm to these qualities in a singer who fully understands the battle which Kuhnau waged against theatricality in church music and who appreciates the need to find the same quality of compromise as the composer did when prevailing trends seemed to lead in the opposite direction.

The recording is good … close and immediate; very suitable for the music. The booklet contains full texts in German or Latin and English with some historical and biographical contexts of composer and performers. Not one to miss. ---Mark Sealey,

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]]> (bluesever) Kuhnau Johann Fri, 06 Apr 2018 13:19:56 +0000
Kuhnau – Sacred Music (1998) Kuhnau – Sacred Music (1998)

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	Ihr Himmel Jubilirt Von Oben 	13:19
1 	Symphony – Chorus & Soloists: Ihr Himmel Jubilirt 	3:22
2 	Contertenor Recitative: Es Ist Vollbracht 	0:43
3 	Countertenor & Bass Duet: Hilf Mir Es, Jesu, Auch Vollbringen 	3:18
4 	Countertenor Recitative: Indessen Bleibt Die Seele 	0:35
5 	Countertenor Aria: Jesu, Wenn Ich Dich Nur Habe 	3:18
6 	Chorus & Soloists: Gieb, Jesu, Dass Dein Wille 	2:03

	Weicht Ihr Sorgen Aus Dem Hertzen 	13:50
7 	Sonata – Aria: Weicht Ihr Sorgen Aus Dem Hertzen 	2:47
8 	Recitative: Ich Bleib In Gottgelass' Ner Ruh 	1:36
9 	Aria: Weicht Ihr Sorgen Aus Dem Hertzen 	0:56
10 	Recitative: Was Frag Ich Nach Der Welt 	1:00
11 	Aria: Ich Habe Gott, Was Fehlt Mir Noch? 	2:31
12 	Recitative: So Kan Ich Allen Tand 	1:22
13 	Aria: Komm Doch, Komm Doch Süsse Stunde 	3:38

	Wie Schön Leuchtet Der Morgenstern 	13:30
14 	Chorale: Wie Schön Leuchtet Der Morgenstern 	1:55
15 	Tenor Recitative: Allein, Heut Wird Der Grosse Klein 	0:55
16 	Chorus: Uns Ist Ein Kind Geboren 	1:43
17 	Tenor Aria: O Wundersohn, Dein Überirdisch Wesen 	2:26
18 	Tenor Recitative: Doch Leuchtet In Der Niedrigkeit 	1:25
19 	Tenor Aria: Kommt, Ihr Völker, Kommt Mit Haufen 	1:46
20 	Tenor Accompagnato: Ich Huld' Ge Dir, Grossmächt' Ger Prinz 	1:19
21 	Soprano Duet – Chorale: Zwingt Die Saiten In Cythara 	2:01

	Gott, Sei Mir Gnädig Nach Deiner Güte 	12:11
22 	Chorus: Gott, Sei Mir Gnädig Nach Deiner Güte 	2:23
23 	Countertenor Aria: Wasche Mich Wohl Von Meiner Missetat 	1:36
24 	Countertenor Recitative: Denn Ich Erkenne Meine Missetat 	0:23
25 	Soprano & Bass Solo – Chorus: An Dir Allein Hab' Ich Gesündiget 	2:06
26 	Tenor & Bass Arioso: Siehe, Ich Bin Aus Sündlichem Samen Gezeuget 	1:43
27 	Chorus: Entsündige Mich Mit Isopen 	1:04
28 	Soprano & Tenor Arioso – Chorus: Lass Mich Hören Freud Und Wonne 	2:56

	Tristis Est Anima Mea
29 	Tristis Est Anima Mea Usque Ad Mortem 	4:50

	O Heilige Zeit 	15:57
30 	Chorus & Soloists: O Heilige Zeit! 	3:20
31 	Bass Aria: Wüte Nur, Du Alte Schlange 	2:39
32 	Countertenor Arioso: Ach, Denk Ich Zwar, Mein Liebster Jesu 	2:57
33 	Soprano Aria: Eigne Dir Mein Herze Zu 	2:04
34 	Tenor & Bass Duet – Chorus: Was Ist Der Mensch Als Staub Und Erde 	1:54
35 	Countertenor Arioso: Haltet Mich Nicht Länger Auf 	1:31
36 	Bass Arioso – Chorus: Ich Bin Entzückt 	1:32

Bass Vocals – Colin Campbell, Peter Harvey
Bassoon – Alastair Mitchell
Cello – Jane Coe
Countertenor Vocals – James Bowman, Robin Blaze
French Horn – Andrew Clark, Roger Montgomery
Oboe – Katharina Spreckelsen
Organ – Gary Cooper
Soprano Vocals – Deborah York, Lisa Beckley, Marianne Hellgren, Susan Hamilton
Tenor Vocals – Charles Daniels, James Gilchrist
Theorbo – David Miller
Timpani – Charles Fullbrook
Trumpet – Crispian Steele-Perkins, James Ghigi, Phillip Bainbridge
Viola – Katherine McGillivray, Rona Tavior
Violin – Anne Schumann, Simon Jones
Violone – Mark Levy

Choir, Orchestra – The King's Consort
Conductor, Score Editor [Editions By] – Robert King


Johann Kuhnau was one of life’s polymaths—as well as being a composer he trained as a lawyer, spoke several languages, helped found Leipzig’s opera house, theorized about music and even found time to write a novel sending up the shortcomings of the contemporary music scene. Musically he’s the link between Schütz and Bach, but he was alive to many different stylistic traits as this selection of sacred music demonstrates. From the brilliantly brassy opening of Ihr Himmel jubilirt to the restrained intensity of Tristis est anima mea, it’s music invigorated at every turn by The King’s Consort.


As the distinguished German-baroque scholar John Butt points out in his clear and informative note, Johann Kuhnau (1660-1722) is often assigned to the dusty footnotes of Bach biographies. Read on and we are reminded that he was Cantor at St Thomas’s, Leipzig until his death, crossing paths with Bach and inspiring the younger man to borrow the title Clavier-Ubung for the prime repository for Bach’s published keyboard works. Out of Bach’s shadow, Kuhnau stands tall as a polymath of a sort that had almost ceased to exist in the pragmatic social climate of the seventeenth-century musician: lawyer, novelist, philosopher, theorist, linguist and musician. In purely stylistic terms, Butt’s note gives us a chance to place Kuhnau’s art in that subtle and evolving tradition of Lutheran church music, as perhaps the only important figure of his generation who, if not actually encountering Schutz first-hand (and Kuhnau still may have done as a young boy in Dresden), was at least partly shaped by the world of old orthodox Lutheranism – and yet was still composing cantatas in Leipzig when Bach was a well-established Kapellmeister. With all this in mind, and having ruminated on the notes, do we not find this selection of six ‘cantatas’ sounds more akin to Schutz’s figural imagery, J. C. Bach’s and Weckmann’s intense emotionalism or Buxtehude’s own immaculate refinement? Inevitably we wonder, do we hear embryonic Bach?

This splendid and varied cross-section of his choral music has definite affinities with these figures but leaves us in no doubt that Kuhnau is far more than merely a confident practitioner who followed the plot of changing fashion. Through a keen sense of assimilation comes a singular, mainly sober, yet highly accomplished church composer. Gott, sei mir gnadig is a fine, evocative work full of rhetorical detail and inference, whilst in Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern the declamation straddles the concentrated world of the Bach motet, Komm, Jesu, komm, yet punctuated by the secular ostentation and chuckling horns of another world – this is hardly the man who publicly denounced modern opera in the first decade of the eighteenth century (though that may have had more to do with a political spat with Telemann than his own creative inclinations).

Robert King and his consort of singers and players highlight the multi-layered references in Kuhnau’s cantatas, from the graceful Bach-aria lilt of Weicht ihr Sorgen, with the sympathetic colouring, if questionable diction, of Deborah York offset by an affectionate and responsive band of strings and unison oboes, to the decidedly pietist world of the accompagnato recitative in Wie schon leuchtet. The way the solo voices emerge from a ‘community’ of integrated musicians is an attractive characteristic of these performances. Above all, such an approach helps to emphasize Kuhnau’s richly imbued, though direct projection of strong melodic ideas and contrapuntal fluency (with an almost Handelian gait – and then we read that Kuhnau encountered Handel as a student). The beguiling and antiquated Tristis est anima mea is worth its weight in gold. Only rarely do the solo sopranos forget to listen to each other here, and elsewhere. Vocally colourful (all the soloists are on fine form, but especially Robin Blaze and Peter Harvey) and instrumentally outstanding, this is an important recording of a woefully neglected figure whose music has real stature. ---Jonathan Freeman-Attwood,

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]]> (bluesever) Kuhnau Johann Fri, 13 Jan 2017 16:35:04 +0000