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Kleine Konzert, Das|Naumann: Betulia liberata

Naumann: Betulia liberata

Salome Haller, Markus Schäfer, Hermann Max, Das Kleine Konzert

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Johann Gottlieb Naumann's oratorio Betulia Liberata has an interesting and unique history. Pietro Metastasio's 1734 libretto, based on the Biblical book of Judith, was already something of a golden oldie by the time Prince Elector Friedrich August III of Saxony requested that Naumann set it for the Holy Saturday of 1796. Naumann was in poor health at the time, and declined the commission, given in turn to a lesser talent. Nevertheless, Naumann thought better of the arrangement and fulfilled the assignment anyway, and turned the manuscript over to the Prince Elector; it was finally heard on Holy Saturday in Dresden in 1805, some four years after Naumann had cast off his earthly bonds. At the time, Betulia Liberata was treated as a posthumous masterpiece in equal stature to the Requiem of the ill-fated Mozart, who had set this same text early in his career. Naumann's Betulia Liberata was successful enough to be revived again in 1806, but apparently has not been heard a third time until Hermann Max, the Rheinische Kantorei, and Das Kleine Konzert recorded it for the WDR in 2004. This is naturally the performance heard on CPO's Johann Gottlieb Naumann: Betulia Liberata. It is hard to imagine a better advocacy for such a mega-obscure oratorio than that delivered by Max and company here; the orchestral playing is crisp and well intoned, with even the natural horns, for once, seamlessly blending into the ensemble. Christoph Lehmann's fortepiano playing in recitatives is excellent, and while all of the singing is good, bass-baritone Harry van der Kamp and soprano Nele Gramss are standouts. Naumann was the composer of the fiery opera Gustav Vasa, written about a decade before Betulia Liberata and arguably one of the best-kept secrets in eighteenth century opera. While Betulia Liberata has some striking individual moments, such as in the arias "Pietà, se irato sei" and "Terrible d'aspetto," the work as a whole does not stray far from the style expected of Naumann when it was commissioned. The general idiom of Betulia Liberata is rather close to that of Franz Josef Haydn, but of an earlier period, and when one considers that Haydn's The Creation was right around the corner in 1796, Naumann's genteel and Apollonian setting of Betulia Liberata seems rather backward looking. That does not mean that the music isn't enjoyable to listen to, but historically Betulia Liberata seems like the relic of a dying order, belonging mostly to its own place and time. CPO's Betulia Liberata is mostly recommended to those interested in the very late history of the oratorio volgare; after 1800, this type of composition becomes much rarer. The Electorate that felt obliged to cultivate works in this vein ceased to exist the very year Betulia Liberata was first performed, owing to an ultimately failed alliance between Saxony and Napoleon.
© TiVo

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Naumann: Betulia liberata

Kleine Konzert, Das

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Betulia liberata, Pt. 1 (Johann Gottlieb Naumann)

1
No. 1, Introduzione
Kleine Konzert, Das
00:04:14

Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

2
No. 2, Popoli di Betulia
Markus Schäfer
00:01:10

Markus Schäfer, Artist, MainArtist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

3
No. 3, D'ogni colpa la colpa maggiore
Markus Schäfer
00:03:28

Markus Schäfer, Artist, MainArtist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

4
No. 4, E in che sperar?
Salomé Haller
00:03:39

Markus Schäfer, Artist - Salome Haller, Artist, MainArtist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

5
No. 5, Non ai cor
Salomé Haller
00:03:48

Salome Haller, Artist, MainArtist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

6
No. 6, E qual pace sperate
Markus Schäfer
00:03:16

Markus Schäfer, Artist, MainArtist - Salome Haller, Artist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Rheinische Kantorei, Choir - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

7
No. 7, Pieta, se irato sei
Markus Schäfer
00:03:02

Markus Schäfer, Artist, MainArtist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Rheinische Kantorei, Choir - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

8
No. 8, Chi e costei
Nele Gramß
00:05:24

Markus Schäfer, Artist - Salome Haller, Artist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra - Nele Gramss, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

9
No. 9, Pieta, se irato sei
Markus Schäfer
00:01:03

Markus Schäfer, Artist, MainArtist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Rheinische Kantorei, Choir - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

10
No. 10, Signor, Carmi a te viene
Salomé Haller
00:02:37

Markus Schäfer, Artist - Harry van der Kamp, Artist - Salome Haller, Artist, MainArtist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra - Hans Jörg Mammel, Artist

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

11
No. 11, Terribile d'aspetto
Harry Van Der Kamp
00:03:42

Harry van der Kamp, Artist, MainArtist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

12
No. 12, Ti consola, Achior
Markus Schäfer
00:01:07

Markus Schäfer, Artist, MainArtist - Harry van der Kamp, Artist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra - Hans Jörg Mammel, Artist

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

13
No. 13, Sei pur Giuditta
Markus Schäfer
00:02:37

Markus Schäfer, Artist, MainArtist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Rheinische Kantorei, Choir - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra - Nele Gramss, Artist

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

14
No. 14, Parto inerme, e non pavento
Nele Gramß
00:05:03

Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra - Nele Gramss, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

15
No. 15, Oh prodigiol Oh stupor!
Rheinische Kantorei
00:03:00

Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Rheinische Kantorei, Choir, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

DISC 2

Betulia liberata, Pt. 2 (Johann Gottlieb Naumann)

1
No. 16, Troppo mal corrisponde
Markus Schäfer
00:05:44

Markus Schäfer, Artist, MainArtist - Harry van der Kamp, Artist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

2
No. 17, Se Dio veder tu vuoi
Markus Schäfer
00:04:38

Markus Schäfer, Artist, MainArtist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

3
No. 18, Confuso io son
Harry Van Der Kamp
00:01:22

Harry van der Kamp, Artist, MainArtist - Salome Haller, Artist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

4
No. 19, Quel nocchier che in gran procella
Salomé Haller
00:03:39

Salome Haller, Artist, MainArtist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

5
No. 20, Lungamente non dura
Markus Schäfer
00:00:27

Markus Schäfer, Artist, MainArtist - Salome Haller, Artist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

6
No. 21, All'armi
Rheinische Kantorei
00:07:59

Markus Schäfer, Artist - Harry van der Kamp, Artist - Salome Haller, Artist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Rheinische Kantorei, Choir, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra - Hans Jörg Mammel, Artist - Nele Gramss, Artist

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

7
No. 22, Prigionier, che ga ritorno
Nele Gramß
00:06:37

Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra - Nele Gramss, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

8
No. 23, Giuditta, Ozia, popoli
Harry Van Der Kamp
00:01:31

Harry van der Kamp, Artist, MainArtist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

9
No. 24, Te solo adoro
Harry Van Der Kamp
00:02:50

Harry van der Kamp, Artist, MainArtist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

10
No. 25, Di tua vittoria
Markus Schäfer
00:00:54

Markus Schäfer, Artist, MainArtist - Salome Haller, Artist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra - Hans Jörg Mammel, Artist

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

11
No. 26, Quei moti
Hans-Jörg Mammel
00:02:31

Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra - Hans Jörg Mammel, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

12
No. 27, Seguansi, o Carmi
Markus Schäfer
00:00:58

Markus Schäfer, Artist, MainArtist - Harry van der Kamp, Artist - Salome Haller, Artist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra - Hans Jörg Mammel, Artist - Nele Gramss, Artist

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

13
No. 28, Lodi al gran Dio
Rheinische Kantorei
00:08:51

Markus Schäfer, Artist - Harry van der Kamp, Artist - Salome Haller, Artist - Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor - Rheinische Kantorei, Choir, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra - Hans Jörg Mammel, Artist - Nele Gramss, Artist

(C) 2006 CPO (P) 2006 CPO

Album review

Johann Gottlieb Naumann's oratorio Betulia Liberata has an interesting and unique history. Pietro Metastasio's 1734 libretto, based on the Biblical book of Judith, was already something of a golden oldie by the time Prince Elector Friedrich August III of Saxony requested that Naumann set it for the Holy Saturday of 1796. Naumann was in poor health at the time, and declined the commission, given in turn to a lesser talent. Nevertheless, Naumann thought better of the arrangement and fulfilled the assignment anyway, and turned the manuscript over to the Prince Elector; it was finally heard on Holy Saturday in Dresden in 1805, some four years after Naumann had cast off his earthly bonds. At the time, Betulia Liberata was treated as a posthumous masterpiece in equal stature to the Requiem of the ill-fated Mozart, who had set this same text early in his career. Naumann's Betulia Liberata was successful enough to be revived again in 1806, but apparently has not been heard a third time until Hermann Max, the Rheinische Kantorei, and Das Kleine Konzert recorded it for the WDR in 2004. This is naturally the performance heard on CPO's Johann Gottlieb Naumann: Betulia Liberata. It is hard to imagine a better advocacy for such a mega-obscure oratorio than that delivered by Max and company here; the orchestral playing is crisp and well intoned, with even the natural horns, for once, seamlessly blending into the ensemble. Christoph Lehmann's fortepiano playing in recitatives is excellent, and while all of the singing is good, bass-baritone Harry van der Kamp and soprano Nele Gramss are standouts. Naumann was the composer of the fiery opera Gustav Vasa, written about a decade before Betulia Liberata and arguably one of the best-kept secrets in eighteenth century opera. While Betulia Liberata has some striking individual moments, such as in the arias "Pietà, se irato sei" and "Terrible d'aspetto," the work as a whole does not stray far from the style expected of Naumann when it was commissioned. The general idiom of Betulia Liberata is rather close to that of Franz Josef Haydn, but of an earlier period, and when one considers that Haydn's The Creation was right around the corner in 1796, Naumann's genteel and Apollonian setting of Betulia Liberata seems rather backward looking. That does not mean that the music isn't enjoyable to listen to, but historically Betulia Liberata seems like the relic of a dying order, belonging mostly to its own place and time. CPO's Betulia Liberata is mostly recommended to those interested in the very late history of the oratorio volgare; after 1800, this type of composition becomes much rarer. The Electorate that felt obliged to cultivate works in this vein ceased to exist the very year Betulia Liberata was first performed, owing to an ultimately failed alliance between Saxony and Napoleon.
© TiVo

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