Ich hebe meine Augen auf: Telemann, Heinichen & Graupner in Leipzig

[Veronika Winter, Alex Potter, Hans Jörg Mammel, Markus Flaig SATB]
L’arpa festante, Rien Voskuilen
78:11
Carus 83.337
Graupner Vergnügte Ruh Heinichen Herr nun lässest du
Telemann Ich hebe meine Augen auf, Ouverture TWV55: Es4

The title of the disc is a slight misnomer – although Graupner, like Heinichen and Telemann, studied in Leipzig and participated in the city’s rich musical life, his impressive setting of Georg Christian Lehms’ Vergnügte Ruh was written in 1711, i. e. the year after he was “headhunted” to take charge of music at the court of Hessen-Darmstadt. No such worries about the Telemann piece, which is based on the earliest datable autograph source for a sacred piece by the composer. Veronika Winter and Markus Flaig sing the psalm beautifully (four of the six movements are duets, the others being arias). Pace Michael Maul’s otherwise excellent booklet note, Graupner’s cantata is not scored for two flutes (as given in the translation – he actually wrote Flöten, which would normally be given as “recorders”), two muted violins and two “violettas”; the surviving original material also includes traverso and two violas. Veronika Winter is outstanding; she sings the coloratura with extraordinary ease and takes great care to shape the sustained notes. Thought to have been written for his collegium musicum, Telemann’s Overture in E flat might be an assemblage of nine movements taken from a now-lost opera; seemingly group in threes (each set ending with a pair of dances), titles include Entrée and Aria. The text of the Heinichen work is built around the Nunc dimittis. Two “choral” movements (which both begin with declamation but move into fugue) present the words from St Luke’s gospel, while two arias for bass, one for tenor and a duet reflect upon similar texts. Musically, Heinichen frames the piece cleverly – the opening sinfonia’s second section is an instrumental presentation of the chorale with which the work ends, but before that the voices (initially accompanied only by continuo) have sung a chorale fantasy on the same melody. As a further attempt to contextualize Bach, this CD is a very welcome addition to the catalogue.

Brian Clark