Christoph Graupner Easter Cantatas intimate and effective

Christoph Graupner wrote over 1,400 sacred cantatas. So there’s a lot to choose from — even for an album of just Easter cantatas. Christian Bonath has done a superb job programming a set of Holy Week cantatas that span decades of Graupner’s output. And each one receives a recording world premiere.

Just to run down the sequence:

Maundy Thursday – “Die Frucht des Gerechten” (1733)

Good Friday – “Eröffnet euch ihr Augenquellen” (1727)

First day of Easter – “Der Sig ist da” (1743

Second day of Easter – “Ihr werdet traurig sein” (1719)

Graupner was the Hofkapellmeister of Hesse-Darmstadt from 1711 until his retirement in 1754. These cantatas were composed for the same chapel employing (in essence) the same group of musicians. As expected, Graupner’s style remains remarkably consistent throughout this set of cantatas.

Graupner, like his friend and colleague J.S. Bach, paid close attention to the text he was setting. The key, the voice, the shape of the phrase, and the instruments accompanying are all used to give meaning and context to the text.

Christian Bonath directs his musicians in nuanced, sensitive performances, showing us Graupner’s genius. The Capella Vocalis Boy’s Choir has a luminous ensemble sound. The Pulchra Musica Baroque Orchestra provides just the right amount of instrumental support; present, but never overpowering.

Sebastian Hubner, Johannes Hill, and Jan Nerlitschka are all exceptional soloists, and they’re well-recorded. This is sacred music designed for the chapel, not the concert hall. The performances are intimate and finely-crafted.

In his lifetime, Graupner was as famous as Telemann, Bach, and Handel. Recordings like this help restore that reputation.

Recommended.

Christoph Graupner: Easter Cantatas
Sebastian Hubner, tenor; Johannes Hill, bass; Jan Nerlitschka, alto
Capella Vocalis Boy’s Choir
Pulchra Musica Baroque Orchestra; Christian Bonath, conductor
World Premiere Recordings
Capriccio C5411

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