The liner notes for this release note that the Karlsruhe court “for reasons of cost” eschewed foreign soloists. This implies Johann Molter and other court composers had to keep their vocal writing relatively simple for the local talent. Perhaps so, but the end results were anything but second-tier.
Molter has three solo cantatas on this release. All three charmed me with their simple, direct melodies and tastefully restrained ornamentation. They very strongly reminded me of Handel’s vocal writing.
Soprano Julia Mende is well-suited to this music. She has a clean, clear tone that complements the simplicity of the melodies. Her ornamentations are well-executed, and never fussy-sounding.
The Hof-Capelle Carlsruhe fills out the program with instrumental music from Molter and his contemporaries. Giacinto Schiatti, Friedrich Schwindle, and Sebastian Bodinus may not be household names, but they were competent craftsmen who knew how to put music together.
The ensemble has a clean, transparent sound. The instruments are close-mic’d, so there’s not a lot of room ambiance. And that’s OK. These are modest works. The intimacy of the recordings makes them all the more attractive.
Molters Miniatur-Opern und Kammermusik vom Kalsruher Hof
Johann Melchior Molter, Sebastian Bodinus, Giacinto Schiatti, Friedrich Schwindl, Joseph Aloys Schmittbaur
Hof-Capelle Carlsruhe; Julia Mende, soprano