CPO continues their exploration of Christoph Graupner’s catalog with a selection of his solo and dialogue cantatas. There’s a lot to choose from. This set includes five of his 177 surviving sacred cantatas. They span a decade, from 1709 to 1719. Yet all five cantatas are surprisingly consistent in style.

In these works, the music mainly alternates between secco recitatives and arias. But the recitatives aren’t accompanied by just a harpsichord. Graupner uses winds and brass to illustrate the text, providing deeper meaning (and a more interesting listening experience).

These works also feature a fair amount of just instrumental playing. The cumulative effect is that these cantatas seem somewhat light and airy.

Soprano Marie Luise Werneburg sings with a clear, pure tone. Dominik Wörner provides fine counterpoint. His voice has a well-rounded sound, especially in the lower register. Together, their voices have the soft warmth of candlelight.

The Kirchheimer BachConsort provides ideal accompaniment. The ensemble has a pleasing balance of Baroque string, wind, and brass players. The result is a clean, transparent sound that’s well-suited for the somewhat intimate setting these works were first performed in.

Christoph Graupner was considered one of the most important composers of his day (at least in Germany). These cantatas showcase his skill at vocal writing and his imaginative use of instrumentation.

Christoph Graupner: Solo- & Dialog-Kantaten

Jesus ist und bleibt mein Leben GWV 1107/12; Gott ist für uns gestorben GWV 1152/16; Siehe, selig ist der Mensch, den Gott strafet GWV 1162/09; Diese Zeit ist ein Spiel der Eitelkeit GWV 1165/09; Süßes Ende aller Schmerzen GWV 1166/20

Marie Luise Werneburg, soprano; Dominik Wörner, bass; Kirchheimer BachConsort; Rudolf Lutz, director
CPO 555 215-2   Two CD Set