Telemann: Cantatas for the Hanoverian Kings of England

Hanna Zumsande, Dominik Wörner, barockwerk hamburg, Ira Hochman
cpo 555 426-2

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In truth, only a little over half of this recording is devoted to the works one would expect from the title: a congratulatory piece for solo bass with trumpets, timpani and strings for George II, a funeral piece of similar scale for the same monarch, and a slightly longer but hardly substantial duet cantata with added flutes for his successor, George III. The title is, of course, spin, since the pieces were written in German, to be performed in Germany, in honour of the kings in their capacity as rulers of Hanover. No explanation is given why the other two surviving pieces of similar vein were not included on the recording, nor indeed why it is filled out with a cantata for the anniversary of the Augsburg Confession and another for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity, even if the latter did cause a furore in Hamburg after it’s first performance. That notwithstanding, there is some very fine music here. The opening of the George III cantata, in particular, is very strong. Hanna Zumsande and Dominik Wörner make a good pairing – both have clear, strong voices which they wam occasionally with vibrato, and they blend well. The band play crisply and in a manner that is sensitive to the voices without being deferential. It is a pity two other voices could not have been brought in for the middle parts of the chorales.

Brian Clark

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