Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Deutsche Barock Weihnacht. Graupner, Christoph. (1683-1760) Ein Weihnachtsoratorium. CD 6&7

New acquisition.
Bought in December 2016.
First listen: 21-12-2016.
Label: Ricercar.
CD 6&7 from 7.
Recording dates: 1982-2003.
Recording venue and engineers: Not named in this release.
Running time: 66:13 & 70:02.
Classical relevance: Easily the best two recordings in this box.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed by:
Amaryllis Dieltiens & Elisabeth Scholl, Soprano.
Lothar Blum & Reinoud Van Mechelen, Tenors.
Stefan Geyer, Bass.
Mannheimer Hofkapelle.
Ex Tempore, Florian Heyerick.

Graupner is a composer that will never disappoint, and not little less in standing as J.S. Bach whom he admired greatly. This work of him is a first time for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed both discs. The music will not fail to impress you, for it's brimful with fine melodies, expertly written. A real pleaser as there ever was one. Curiously enough these are the best recordings in this box full of christmas music. But the feel of christmas can only be found in the text of the music, and much less in the music. I do not associate the works in this box with christmas, but that's personal.
Nevertheless in terms of music and performance this Weihnachts oratorium stands out as the best deal in the Ricercar box, which up to now was filled with more or less substandard stuff. Not that it was always up to a certain standard, but for me it did not work. So I was mighty pleased that at least Graupner's music did it for me. Of all other recordings I was confronted with rough singing, sopranos that lost their way, and choirs that thought that loud unnuanced singing was the thing to do. I exclude Ex tempore from this list. And also instrumental performances, for they were uniformly excellent. And for the first 5 CD'S the recordings were not that good either.
I could not say that in the case of Graupner, I liked the soprano Amaryllis Dieltiens, she had a hard time suppressing vibrato that she so desperately wanted to add. In some cases she lost that battle and in some she won, to my chagrin. Elisabeth Scholl on the other hand has my votes, a soprano "wie im bilderbuch". The guys were all in good form, as is the more than excellent Ex Tempore, with their sensitive accompaniment. The Mannheimer Hofkapelle was in very good form too, and as an extra bonus, so were the recordings. Clear, and extremely lucid, with a natural breathing space around all the soloists and choir. So maybe not a good buy in the sense that all the recordings are that good, but I would certainly recommend it for the works of Graupner.
On another note: Ricercar should be bloody ashamed of the booklet they provided, from them I expected much more.




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