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Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel’s 1731 Passion oratorio, Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld (‘A little lamb bears the guilt’), is an hour-long meditation on Christ’s crucifixion, performed, we should note, in Leipzig on Good Friday 1734 instead of one of Bach’s Passions. The Thomaskantor held Stölzel in high esteem, and it’s easy to hear why: the music is well-crafted, the arias often charming and the chorales familiar and straightforward. This recording from Hungarian musicians under the direction of György Vashegyi is a fine achievement, and very welcome. The Purcell Choir is a small chamber choir with an attractive, bright tone; the period instruments of the Orfeo Orchestra are led by no less a figure than Simon Standage. Only a few slips in vocal intonation rob the disc of a fifth star.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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