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Recordings

23 May 2005

Geistliche arien des norddeutschen Barock (Sacred Baroque arias from North Germany)

This disc features nine compositions by eight composers located in the area of northern Germany from the sixteenth to the early seventeenth centuries. Despite the title, this recording presents sets of sacred compositions for soprano voice and instruments separated by purely instrumental pieces. The disc begins and ends with compositions by Christian Geist (ca. 1640-1711); otherwise, there is a variety of composers and compositions represented here.

Geistliche arien des norddeutschen Barock (Sacred Baroque arias from North Germany)
Ruth Ziesak, soprano, with the Berliner Barock-Compagney.
Capriccio 67125 [CD]

This disc features nine compositions by eight composers located in the area of northern Germany from the sixteenth to the early seventeenth centuries. Despite the title, this recording presents sets of sacred compositions for soprano voice and instruments separated by purely instrumental pieces. The disc begins and ends with compositions by Christian Geist (ca. 1640-1711); otherwise, there is a variety of composers and compositions represented here.

All of the composers experienced the results and consequences of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), either directly or indirectly. They also saw the flourishing of the bourgeoisie in the Hanseatic League's major trading centers, particularly Hamburg, Lübeck, Stralsund, Halle, and Copenhagen. Two pieces by Geist, "Vater unser, der du bist im Himmel" and "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern," are for soprano, two violins, viola da gamba, and basso continuo, and they frame the other compositions on the disc. Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707) is represented by his Sonata in B-flat major (Bux WV 255) for violin, viola da gamba, and basso continuo. A well-done version of Samuel Ebart's (1655-1684) "Miserere, Christe, mei" for soprano, violin, viola da gamba, and basso continuo, follows the Buxtehude composition. Johann Vierdank (ca. 1605-1646) is represented by his Passemezzo e la sua Gagliarda for two violins and basso continuo. A piece for soprano and four viols "Ach Herr, las deine lieben Engelein" by Franz Tunder (1614-1667) is next, followed by a Suite in A major for two violins, viola da gamba, and basso continuo by Johann Adam Reincken (1623-1722). Christoph Bernhard's (1628-1692) "Aus der Tiefe rufe ich zu dir" for soprano, two violins, and basso continuo leads into Thomas Baltzar's (ca. 1630/31-1663) Airs for solo violin in four movements.

Ruth Ziesak is the featured soprano on the disc. Her portrayal of Pamina in Mozart's The Magic Flute at the 1991 Salzburg Festival was the beginning of a long and successful career that includes numerous operas, song recitals, concerts, and recordings. Her voice blends in well with the authentic period instruments used in this recording, which include viola da gamba and lute. Overall, this is a worthy recording of Baroque sacred arias and instrumental compositions.

Dr. Brad Eden
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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