F. X. Richter: Te Deum 1781

Luise Haugk, Czech Ensemble Baroque, Roman Válek
Supraphon SU 4240-2
+Exsultate Deo,* Oboe concerto in F,* Sinfonia no. 52 in D (*premiere recordings)

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his is the third recording by these forces of Richter’s music, and once again it amply displays the many impressive facets of the composer’s output; alongside a grandiose setting of the Te Deum  we hear an impressive symphony packed with pomp and circumstance, a little-known virtuosic oboe concerto (recorded on period instruments for the first time), and the first of four motets for a procession in Strasbourg on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Famed as he may nowadays be for his Mannheim symphonies, the more we are able to hear his church music, the better we are able to understand that Richter was no second-rate composer; the rousing openings of the symphony and the choral works show that he had an ability to seize the listeners’ attention and enough imaginative power to hold it for long periods – at over 22 minutes long, the Te Deum  didn’t seem to last any time at all. The composer cannot take all the credit, though; this is a team effort, and Válek and his excellent musicians (the choir has four singers per part and he uses 44221 strings) are perfect advocates of their compatriot’s output; the soloists are taken from the tutti group (with the exception of tracks 5 and 9 where another tenor is used), and throughout the singing is first rate with nicely articulated lines and neat ornamentation. The booklet notes, which say no more than they have to (in four languages!), promise more releases in the series – I, for one, shall be waiting!

Brian Clark

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