Weihnachten bei Freylinghausen

A Freylinghausen Christmas
David Erler alto, Martin Steuber lute
Rondeau Productions ROP6232

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This engaging CD is a recital for alto voice and lute of Advent and Christmas music from the Geistreichen Gesangbuch by Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen, published in Halle in 1704-8. This seminal collection served to put Halle firmly on the musical map, becoming a smash hit throughout the German-speaking world. This recording makes clear the attractions of this music – simple, emphatic, musically imaginative, dance-like, folk-influenced, and wonderfully craftsmanlike. The performances by Erler and Steuber perfectly suit the music – the former is a no-nonsense male alto, with a beautifully direct and unmannered alto voice, while the latter provides suitably clear and sympathetic accompaniment, as well as a couple of lovely lute solos by David Kellner. Appropriately the CD is recorded in the perfectly resonant acoustic of the Freylinghausen Hall in Halle. Freylinghausen’s publications were a major factor in the dissemination of the new Pietism, which would prove so influential for the next century, but ultimately this recording is a vivid evocation of the original context of this attractive and accessible repertoire.

D. James Ross

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