Ina Siedlaczek, Lautten Compagney, Wolfgang Katschner
Handel would seem to have composed these nine settings of texts by Barthold Brockes in the 1720s while resident in London. He had met Brockes during their shared studies in Halle in the early part of the century, and a shared enthusiasm for Pietism meant that the two remained close. Perhaps Handel, whose English never really came naturally to him and who at the time was setting a succession of Italian opera libretti, enjoyed the relaxation of setting his native tongue, and his enthusiasm shines through in these dynamic pieces. Drawing on the varied and excellent forces of the Lautten Compagney, the accompaniments are splendidly varied, while Ina Siedlczek’s boyish and versatile tones are just perfect for this repertoire.
Intelligently, the performers fill the CD with music from the Brockes Passion, that other underrated collaboration between the two men. It is interesting to spot in this highly impassioned music the lovely sense of melody which pervades Handel’s Italian operas and also to hear in it the roots of the late great oratorios – and at the same time to hear the intimate link with J. S. Bach’s cantatas. This ‘German’ music is yet another aspect of this ultimately versatile composer which we tend to forget about, and in the delightfully characterized performances here the virtues of these unassuming pieces shine through.
D. James Ross