Complete Sacred Works, Vol. 2
Meyer, Gregor; Opella Musica; Camerata Lipsiensis
This album marks part two of CPO's complete recordings of sacred works by Johann Kuhnau, featuring premiere recordings. Offered here is a multifaceted picture of Kuhnau's cantata oeuvre "Lobe den Herren, meine Selle" - certainly numbering among the earliest of the compositions brought together on this album. Musically, it continues to be situated very much in the tradition of the sacred concerto of the late seventeenth century. Regrettably, broad segments of the music world have rather often perceived Kuhnau merely as a forerunner of the great Johann Seastian Bach, subjecting him to unpardonable neglect and undervaluing him. However, to name one example, the magnificently designed cantata "Schmucket das Fest mit Maien" for four-part choir, two oboes, two recorders, two violini concertati, two violins in ripieno, viola, bassoon, and basson continuo demonstrates that he cannot at all be charged with a lack of innovative spirit. On the textual level, this work proves to be a finely crafted combination of biblical texts, freely penned arias, and a concluding chorale. A conversation between the soprano and the bass drawing on markedly dialogic passages from the Song of Songs and original poetic verses inspired by them, occupies the focus. Once again, Gregor Meyer, the director of this extensive project, interprets these cantatas with the Opella Musica ensemble of soloists established by him in 2011 and the camerata lipsiensis orchestra dhering to the spirit of historical performance practice.