CPE Bach: Grosse Festkantaten – Simply Grand

It seems appropriate that these festival cantatas would be revived (and recorded) for a festival. The 300th anniversary of Carl Philipp Emanual (CPE) Bach’s birth prompted a music festival in Leipzig. The two cantatas on this release had not been performed since the occasions they were written for.

“Ich will dem Herrn lobsingen” was written in 1771, just three years after CPE Bach succeeded his godfather, Georg Philipp Telemann, as Kapellmeister of Hamburg. This is a big work, with a big ensemble. The textures are thick, and the choral parts are quite advanced.

By contrast, the 1787 “Wer sich rühmen will” is smaller and simpler. Bach’s choral writing is more transparent. The orchestral writing is simpler, too, with more modest demands on the ensemble. Folk elements are also present, making the work more tuneful and more accessible.

The performances of these works are first-rate. Under the direction of Bernhard Klapprott, the soloists sing expressively, yet in a straight-forward manner. The orchestra has a good ensemble blend as well. My only complaint is that the Capella Thuringia seemed to emphasize the altos a little too much. But this was a live recording, and may not have been the fault of the performers.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Grosse Festkantaten
Monika Mauch, soprano; Margot Oitzinger, alto; Mirko Ludwig, tenor; Giullaume Olry, bass
Cantus Thuringia; Capella Thuringia; Bernhard Klapprott, director
CPO 777 958-2

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