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Easter Cantatas

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 20, 2004
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Deus In Adjutorium
  2. Christ Lag In Todesbanden
  3. Halleluja! Lobet Den Herrn
  4. Christ Ist Erstanden
  5. Jauchzet Dem Herrn
  6. Magnificat In C Major


Product Details

  • Performer: Pachelbel, Wilson, Capella Ducale, Musica Fiata
  • Audio CD (April 20, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CPO
  • ASIN: B0001M64WK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,520 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By M. Holmes on July 28, 2004
It's about time an excellent album of Pachelbel cantatas appeared on the market! Both Johann Mattheson and J.S. Bach have sent us a very clear historical message about the mastery of this great Kappellmeister who held posts in Eisenach, Erfurt, Stuttgart, and Nuremburg. Listeners now have the luxury of basking in the sound of the musico-cultural inheritance of J. S. Bach. What a joy comfort to hear this music performed so well by Musica Fiata; Roland Wilson has thus produced another world-class installment of well-researched performance in late seventeenth-century concerted vocal music (listen also to Musica Fiata's wonderful recording of similar music by the Leipzig Kappellmeister Johann Schelle, also on the CPO label). Actually, I have never heard anything not worth hearing from this label. The same is true for Musica Fiata.

Of note on this recording is Musica Fiata's expert period band of instrumentalists who never fail to deliver the appropriate stylistic characteristics in this music, while taking daring risks, and displaying PERFECT intonation. Also, the singers (including some familiar names from past recordings on other Harmonia Mundi, Sony, and CPO projects) could not possibly sing this difficult and glorious repertoire any better than they do in this recording.

Note also that for the first time in their recordings, Wilson chooses to use the exotic sound of a double harp with bray pins to great effect in the continuo section. Also, the harp as used as a solo instrument in the section of the cantata "Halleluiah! Lobet dem Herrn" (a setting of Psalm 150) where the text reads "Lobet ihn mit Psalter und Harfen" ("praise him with psaltery and harp").
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... or so it seems when I listen to some of the stupendous performances of 17th and early 18th C religious music - Scarlatti, Biber, Carissimi, the older Bachs, Buxtehude, and now PACHELBEL - that I've come upon lately. And several of the best have been by Musica Fiata with La Capella Ducale.

Listening only to the over-performed Pachelbel Canon is like going to San Francisco and only eating at Fisherman's Wharf. There's a lot more satisfaction to be had from Pachelbel than I suspected, and this recording of six Easter cantatas will prove it to you. I'll crawl way out on the limb and declare that these smaller cantatas are equal to nearly any of Johann Sebastian Bach's in everything except scope. If you want to challenge that assertion, listen to Pachelbel's cantata "Christ Lag in Todesbanden" from this CD in comparison to your favorite performance of Christ Lag in Todesbanden by Bach. You'll quickly notice that the two share a musical idiom, though the Pachelebel has lingering traces of Schuetz and even Monteverdi. Both display intricate and artful counterpoint, dramatic use of homophonic chords to emphasize certain texts, playful but virtuosic instrumental decoration, subtle and supple interplay between voices and instruments, likewise between soloists and chorus, profound emotional expressiveness - all the marks of Bach. But the Pachelbel was written when Bach was not quite 15 years old. It's more concise than most Bach cantatas... dare I say, more polished? You'll have to listen for yourself.

Even if you think I'm overpraising the composer, however, you'll be thrilled by the performance.
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The film "Ordinary People" of several years ago, the opening of which featured a 'watered-down' version of Pachelbel's Canon, became just as popular as the film itself. Unfortunately, it did nothing for the appreciation and popularity of the 'real' music of this man who even J.S. Bach himself respected. THE CANON is the least of what Pachelbel composed. Having taught for 40 years and having had to include some bouts of 'canonitis' , I embraced with joy Pachelbel's finest music such as contained on this disc , and one other recording by Cantus Colln "Make a Joyful Noise" which for these many years I have prized greatly.

The present recording offers a representative cross section of Pachelbel's sacred works. Here the six pieces have been brought together according to liturgical points of view; from a musical perspective there is no overarching or cyclical ordering. Stylistic features instead suggest compositions at different times of Pachelbel,s life.

Pachelbels richly textured contrapuntal choral cantata "Christ lag in Todesbaden" must have impressed J.S.Bach very much for his later treatment of this same well-known Lutheran hymn BWV4, is remarkably similar in thematic treatment and harmonic structure. Pachelbel was regarded in his day as quite progressive, often decorating his vocal score with antiphonal choirs and rousing brass and percussion. Probably the best example on this recording is the cantata "Hallelujah! Lobet den Herrn" (Praise the Lord) which is decorated with 5 trumpets, trombone, timpani, bells, strings, 2 oboes, harp, dulcian, full concertants and ripieno voices, and basso continuo.

There is in all: 5 concertisti singers, 5 ripieni singers, all of whom are skilled and experienced.
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