On this beautiful Rondeau CD, we hear Dietrich Buxtehude’s exquisite cantata cycle Membra Jesu Nosti. Under the direction of Jörg Breiding, the performances are by the Himlische Cantorey, Barockensemble L’Arco and Knabenchor Hannover. Although this work by Buxtehude (1637-1707) is not poorly represented in the catalog, this recording with the preeminent Hanover Boys Choir appears to be the only available version performed by a chorus of boys’ voices.
Buxtehude’s cycle consists of seven cantatas, each a meditation on the wounds to a different part of the crucified body of Christ. These performances were originally issued in 2007, the year of the 300th anniversary of the death of Buxtehude. Barockensemble L’Arco is a period instrument ensemble consisting of 2 violins, cello, violone, organ and chitarrone for this recording. They provide a sensitively balanced support of warm colors and delicate textures. There are moments of exquisite beauty. Listen to the sample provided, the first five minutes of Ad Manus where, at just under a minute in, the gossamer lines of two sopranos cross in an exquisitely suspended dissonance that pleads for resolution. It’s ravishing!
Also included on Rondeau’s recording are two other brief cantatas, the two-part Fried- und freudenreiche Hinfahrt and Befiehl dem Engel, daß er komm. Anyone with a penchant for baroque sacred works who may have overlooked Buxtehude’s masterpieces should consider getting a hold of this splendid recording.
A spirited interpretation and authentic colours of sound are the unmistakable hallmarks of the recording of Buxtehude’s cantata cycle ‘Membra Jesu Nostri’, performed by the Knabenchor Hannover. The use of period instruments alongside the boys’ choir makes this an historically-informed performance. This is presently the only available recording of this work performed by a boys’ choir.
Composer: Dietrich Buxtehude
Having been born half a century after Heinrich Schütz , the “father of German musicians”, and a little less than half a century before J. S. Bach , Dietrich Buxtehude — born at Oldesloe, near Lübeck in 1637, died in Lübeck, May 9, 1707 — was placed in the unique position of being a living link between the founder of Protestant Baroque music and its greatest master.
Choir: Knabenchor Hannover
For over 60 years the Knabenchor Hannover has been a leading ensemble of its genre. It holds a firm place among the leading boys’ choirs in Europe with over 80 concert tours in more than 45 countries around the globe. Its LP and CD releases, both nationally and internationally, are highly decorated – from the German Record Prize on the Diapason D’Or to the ECHO Klassik.
Composer: Jörg Breiding
The German conductor, Jörg Breiding, was originally trained as a teacher of music, singing and German. He went on to study conducting at the University of Music and Drama Hannover, where he had lessons in choral and orchestral conducting with Professor Gerd Müller-Lorenz (Lübeck) and Professor Heinz Hennig (Hannover).
Performers: Himlische Cantorey
Since its founding in 1995 in Hamburg, the solo vocal ensemble Himlische Cantorey has developed into one of the most respected ensembles in the field of historical performance practice.
Members: Veronika Winter, soprano; Henning Voss, alto; Henning Kaiser, tenor; Jan Kobow, tenor; Ralf Gross, bass; Michael Freimuth, lute
Performers: Barockensemble L’Arco