Graupner Passion Cantatas II Maintain High Standard

In 1741 Christoph Graupner produced ten Passion Cantatas — one for each Sunday of Lent. Volume 1 featured three of those cantatas; Volume 2 has three more, each uniquely shaped by the text Graupner sets.

Das Leiden Jesu von seinen Freunden, GWV 1122/41 (Friend, why are you here) was for the Third Sunday of Lent. Graupner illustrates the despair of Judas’ betrayal with grinding dissonances. They eventually resolve to end the cantata with hope — but not too much. There are still six more Sundays to go before Easter.

Die Gesegnete Vollendung der Leiden Jesu GWV 1127/41 (Now everything is done; Jesus cries “It is finished.”) is the last cantata in the series. It was performed on Good Friday and is the largest in scope of Graupner’s Passion Cantatas.

Graupner adds a bassoon to the transverse flutes and oboes for a fuller sound. He also adds a number and greatly expands two others.

The soprano’s aria “Weine über Jesus Schmerzen” is over eleven minutes long; the bass aria “Alles ist vollendet!” is runs more than eight minutes.

Gedenke Herr an die Scchmach – Die Schmähliche Verspottung, GWV 1170/41 (Remember, O Lord, the scorning of your servants) is the seventh work in the cycle. Transverse flute illustrates the mocking of Jesus. They flit around over somber sustained chords of the choir and strings.

Florian Heyerick elicits wonderfully expressive performances. The voices of the Solistenensemble Ex Tempore blend beautifully with the Barokorchester Mannheimer Hofkapelle.

The soloists sing with rich, rounded tones and restrained expressiveness. These are intimate, small-scale performances — appropriate for Lenten cantatas.

Christoph Graupner: Das Leiden Jesu
Passion Cantatas II
Solistensemble Ex Tempore
Barockorchester Mannheimer Hofkapelle; Florian Heyerick, director

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