Telemann: Liebe, was ist schöner als die Liebe

Julia Kirchner soprano, Georg Poplutz tenor, La Stagione Frankfurt, Michael Schneider
cpo 555 300-2

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This recording presents one of the rarer genres to which Telemann contributed, the wedding serenata. Intended as evening’s entertainment (presumably for wealth patrons who could afford to pay the musicians required), it is less a mini-opera and more a light-hearted debate on the virtue of love. In response to Ametas the soprano’s opening question “What is more beautiful than love”, the tenor Crito just laughs. They proceed to throw arguments and counter-arguments in a sequence of recitatives and arias, with tempers rising but finally they are reconciled and sing a duet to the newly weds, hoping they will soon have something to rock in the cradle! There follow two solo cantatas with wedding connections, if not as directly as the serenata. “Lieben will ich” was published as the fifth of a sex of six secular cantatas with instruments by the composer in 1731. The tenor must tell the tale and play the two parts! In “Der Weiberorden”, the soprano tells of the “delights” (and otherwise!) of marriage in rather racy language. The disc abounds with charm – Telemann knew how to hold an audience – and all of his fans will have to have this recording.

Brian Clark