Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Graupner - 2 Ouvertures, Cantata - Das Kleine Konzert, Max







This is the kind of disc that would probably go by unnoticed by most record shop browsers unless they had heard about it somewhere. Now you've heard about it. Johann Christoph Graupner (January 13 1683 in Kirchberg – March 10 1760 in Darmstadt) was an 18th-century German Baroque composer of over 1,500 published works, yet his name is hardly recognized anymore. He was employed as Kapellmeister at the Hesse court in Darmstadt for almost 50 years, composing both secular and religious music, and he might have gotten the music director's post in Leipzig that went to J.S Bach instead had Graupner's patron allowed him leave. He was, in fact, one of the leading composers of his day, and it's good that a label like CPO honors him on occasion.

Appropriately, the disc offers two overtures (suites) with a cantata between them as representative of his output. There is nothing remarkable about any of the pieces that might describe him as genius, but each work is highly likable and approachable. More important, the small Das Kleine Konzert ensemble plays each piece with spirit and dignity, never overreaching their limits in headlong displays of period-instrument frenzy. And CPO's engineers have captured the results in wonderfully revealing and realistic sound, even though the overtures and the cantata were recorded some 13 years apart. For a few listeners there may be too much sense of "space," too much ambient reflection in the setting, but it is a flattering acoustic that puts the group firmly in the stage picture and the listener firmly in the audience. Graupner was an important composer but now largely unknown; the performances are animated yet wholly earnest; the sound is natural and lifelike. It is a lovely album.




flac

2 comments:

  1. Graupner at his best is magical. There are some wonderful discs of his chalumeau music by Jean-Claude Veilhan and Igor Bettens. Out of print I think and the latter _very_ hard to find.

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