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Der Tod Jesu
Dorothee Mields   Britta Schwarz   Klaus Mertens   Jan Kobow   
Magedburg Chamber Choir/Telemann Chamber Orchestra Michaelstein/Ludger Remy
CPO 999 720-2[76.12]
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This most famously prolific composer has over twenty surviving liturgical Passions, which set the biblical text, and in his later years he also wrote 'poetic passion oratorios' for the concert hall. This one's libretto is by Karl Ramler, remembered only for his texts for musical settings. It deals with 'the representation, blended with moving emotions, of Jesus the man as the highest model of the virtuous life', corresponding to mid 18. C religious understanding in German middle-class and intellectual circles.

It may surprise listeners who are more familiar with Telemann's voluminous instrumental music. The text is vivid and refreshingly unfamiliar. The recitatives are dramatic and expressive and the sequence of reflective arias is accompanied by a variety of obligatto instruments, which maintains interest and pleasure. It is performed stylishly and informed by thorough research - the period instrument orchestra is based at the Michaelstein Monastery Institute for Performance and was renamed to reflect a special interest in Telemann, its director since 1995 the harpsichordist Ludger Remy.

By its sensible use of thin paper, CPO is able to fit in a 48 page booklet, which has a lengthy history of Ramler's work and the genesis of Der Tod Jesu and its early performance history and, of course, the complete text with English translation. Well recorded at a church in Ditfurt with suitable acoustics, this is a very satisfying production.


Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

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