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All but one of these composers flourished in the second half of the 17th century. The exception is Johann Schop, who was born around 1590. He spent a few years at the court of Christian IV in Copenhagen and is one of three composers with a Danish connection represented here: Buxtehude, of course, but also Johann Philipp Krieger, who studied in Copenhagen in the 1660s.

The prevailing mood is sombre, even Schop’s ‘Jauchzet dem Herren’ being in the minor mode. Fortunately there are two instrumental pieces – a ciaconna by Pachelbel and a sonata by Krieger – to add variety. And it’s the prominence of the instrumental writing that helps to make the cantatas so enjoyable. In ‘Aus der Tiefe’ by Johann Philipp Förtsch the voice, violin and gamba are equal partners in imitative passages. Pachelbel’s ‘Mein Fleisch ist die rechte Speise’ has a long introduction for scordatura violin, while ‘O dulcis Jesu’, attributed to Biber, ends with a virtuoso Sonata. And in ‘Jesu nostra Redemptio’ by Samuel Capricornus the spotlight is on the gamba. Hana Blažíková has an ideal voice for this repertory. She sings the penitential phrases with a plain, moving sincerity, and blossoms wonderfully in the roulades. The three players of CordArte are equally fine. I especially enjoyed the organ continuo of Markus Märkl: inventive but never distracting.

Richard Lawrence Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing