Early Telemann cantatas still show great skill

This release features three Georg Philipp Telemann works for countertenor. More precisely, it presents three early works by Telemman (for countertenor).

Not that I could hear much difference. Telemann in his twenties was already a skilled composer. There are no awkward moments in any of these works. And while his style grew in complexity, these pieces benefit from a simpler — and more direct — form of expression.

Countertenor Alex Potter sings with a clean, clear tone. His voice has a natural warmth I found quite appealing. The accompanying ensemble is small — just two violins and basso continuo. These are intimate works that draw the listener in.

Ach Herr, strafe mich nicht mit deinem Zorn TVWV 7:1 (O Lord, rebuke me not) opens the program. This 1718 work shows Telemann’s skill at word-painting. To give one example, the word “lament” is accompanied by slowly descending chromatic patterns. Even without understanding German, one can hear the emotion of the text.

Missa h-moll TVWV 9:14 is even earlier, composed around 1700. The melody sounds more melismatic, suggesting to me Gregorian chant. The 1705 Me miserum! miseriarum TVWV 1:1135 (Wretched me) is another minor-key masterpiece. The instrumental elements are more fully developed here.

This release features a selection of shorter works for voice and ensemble. A few of Telemann’s fugues are inserted between the larger works. The Ensemble La Dolcezza also delivers a spirited performance of  Telemann’s Violin Sonata TWV 41:G1

Georg Philipp Telemann: Missa & Cantatas for Countertenor
Alex Potter, countertenor; Ensemble La Dolcezza
CPO 55 192-2

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