Telemann: Gott der Hoffnung erfülle euch

Cantata for Whit Sunday, TVWV 1:634
Edited by Maik Richter
Bärenreiter BA 5898 (Full score) v+30pp, £15
BA 5898-90 vocal score vi+22pp, £9
Winds £12, Organ £9, Strings £3.50 each

This cantata was once attributed to Bach (though there is no mention of that anywhere in the present volume), and consists of a chorus (setting a Biblical text), arias for soprano and alto separated by a recitative in which all four voices participate and rounded off with a chorale setting. The edition seems to be an extract from a volume in the on-going Telemann edition, which explains why much of the introductory material is about the cantata cycle from which this work comes, though the chronology of its history and the various authors involved and performing centres is way too complicated and might have been better expressed as a table; I’m also not sure, given that there are footnote references to two excellent monographs on such issues, why it was felt necessary to give such a wealth of detail. Conversely the discussion of this particular piece is minimal and there is no editorial commentary. I don’t live within a couple of hundred miles of a library that has even the old volumes of the Telemann edition, so goodness knows where I could see the volume this piece comes from; but that is the only way I would be able to work out how the solo Tenor is supposed to start – does he sing with the Tutti and then go his own way (halfway through a word!) in Bar 18? Or is he silent up to that point? Should some marking indicate the answer? There are a couple of slips in the English introduction (“generell” for general in a footnote and “successfull”…) As you would expect, the edition is clear and attractive. I’m not sure why quavers at the opening of no. 4 are beamed in pairs at the opening but subsequently in sixes (as per modern notation); again, this is something that a paragraph on editorial methods could have shone some light on, perhaps. The music is lovely and it is always nice to have a cantata with a pair of horns that is not too taxing for the choir; the alto will need an agile throat, though. I’m fairly certain there should be some mention of a bassoon in the score…

Brian Clark