Magazine article Gramophone

C Forster * Homilius * Rolle * Stolzel: 'Christmas Cantatas'

Magazine article Gramophone

C Forster * Homilius * Rolle * Stolzel: 'Christmas Cantatas'

Article excerpt

'Christmas Cantatas'

C Forster Ehre sei Gott in der Hohe Homilius

Erhohet die Tore der Welt Rolle Jauchze, du

Tochter Zion. Siehe, Finsternis bedecket das

Erdenreich Stolzel Kundlich gross ist das gottselige Geheimnis

Hanna Herfurtner sop Carola Gunther contr

Georg Poplutz ten Raimonds Spogisbass

Cologne Academy/Michael Alexander Willens

CPO (F) CP0555 052-2 (68' * DDD * T/t)

One of many useful ways in which the late Peter Williams (the final version of whose monumentum pro JSB was reviewed by Lindsay Kemp in the December issue) cut his hero down to size was to place the bounds of historical context around the nature of Bach's 'originality'. Record companies have been slow to present the evidence on record but, as if to order, along comes an album presenting four of the composer's contemporaries in impeccably stylish studio performances.

Our understanding of the well-tilled field which Bach came to plough with such industry is most enhanced by two examples of the least familiar name on the bill, Johann Heinrich Rolle (1716-85, plying his trade in Magdeburg). At first sight and hearing, the eschatological vision naturalistically unfurled to open Siehe, Finsternis bedecket das Erdenreich is hardly fit for the Christmas season unless it be to mark a year of disaster and catastrophe. However dramatic, the invernal storm blows itself out in the opening chorus, leaving the stage clear for soloists to rejoice in differing temperaments. …

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