BUXTEHUDE Vocal Works Vol 9
The 19th volume in Ton Koopman’s ambitious project to record Buxtehude’s complete works is devoted to another cross-section of the Lübeck Kantor’s church music. The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra field a small chamber ensemble of two violins, violone and continuo in most of these assorted sacred concertos and strophic arias. The delicate dialogue for two sopranos in Salve, Jesu, Patris gnate unigenite is sung with boyish purity by Miriam Feuersinger and Dorothee Wohlgemuth, although their voices are a little anaemic in the highest florid passages. Amaryllis Dieltiens sings the simple strophic aria Was mich auf dieser Welt betrübt with graceful composure. All these performances benefit from Koopman’s lightly tripping organ continuo and the rhetorical violin ritornellos played lyrically by Catherine Manson and David Rabinovich – who also excel in the expressive slow C minor sonata that introduces Ich habe Lust abzuscheiden.
The instrumentation expands to five-part textures with the addition of two violas in Pange lingua gloriosi, a fine masterpiece that has the sorts of expressive harmonic twists and dramatic style of solos and choruses (SSAB, without tenor) that might remind listeners of the famous cantata cycle Membra Jesu nostri. Bettina Pahn’s imploring performance of the virtuoso solo ‘concerto’ O dulcis Jesu, o amor cordis mei may not quite match Emma Kirkby’s masterful version with players of the calibre of John Holloway, Manfred Kraemer and Lars Ulrik Mortensen (Dacapo/Naxos, 6/07) but Koopman’s monumental project continues its course as a unique achievement.