Christian Friedrich Ruppe cantatas have broad appeal

Handel wrote “Messiah” to benefit the London Foundlings Hospital and it’s now a holiday standard. Christian Friedrich Ruppe wrote his cantatas to benefit an orphan’s home in Leiden. After their initial performances, they remained unheard for 250 years.

Ruppe wrote the Christmas and Easter cantatas on this release for the Holy Spirit of Poor Orphans and Children’s Home.

The works were not only to be performed to raise funds for the home but were sung by the orphanage choir founded by Ruppe. After the concerts, the music was stored away, only to be rediscovered in 1987.

These cantatas have a directness and simplicity I found charming. The limits of the orphanage’s choir may have constrained Ruppe technically, but not melodically. Each chorus is just one beautifully turned phrase after another.

The solo voices also have somewhat simple music. Simple, and attractive. I’m reminded of Haydn’s choral writing (for his operas, that is).

Jed Wentz leads his assembled forces in elegantly balanced performances. The Musica ad Rhenum, performing with historically accurate instruments, create a full, warm sound in line with the character of Ruppe’s music.

The Ensemble Bouzignac has more than enough talent to handle Ruppe’s choruses. And they use that to make them beautifully mellifluous.

OK, it isn’t “Messiah,” or even “The Seasons.” But these cantatas are straight-forward and direct in their appeal. And I think that’s quite appealing.

Christian Friedrich Ruppe
Christmas Cantata; Easter Cantata
Francine van der Heyden, soprano; Karin van der Poel, mezzo-soprano; Otto Bouwknegt, tenor; Mitchel Sandler, bass
Ensemble Bouzignac; Musica ad Rhenum; Jed Wentz, conductor
Brilliant Classics, 96108


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