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Kleine Konzert, Das|Telemann: A Christmas Oratorio

Telemann: A Christmas Oratorio

Das Kleine Konzert, Rheinische Kantorei Soloists and Hermann Max

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Georg Philipp Telemann never wrote a Christmas oratorio, but that hasn't stopped performers from assembling them out of holiday-season cantatas. The one here by veteran choral conductor Hermann Max and his instrumental group Das Kleine Konzert isn't the first one. It is not even the first one on the CPO label. There is no basis for objecting to this kind of creative repertory expansion, for Bach's Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, was put together in basically the same way. Telemann isn't Bach, though most listeners will find satisfying listening here for the holiday season or any other time, and this album, in fact, made classical best-seller lists in early 2024. Max and company program five Telemann cantatas, unfailingly tuneful and well-made in the composer's characteristic way. One striking thing is that there are two quite late works from the 1750s and 1760s; the others are from earlier in Telemann's career, yet the style remains consistent. In some genres, Telemann caught on to the emerging light styles coming from Italy, but in church cantatas, he seems to have played it straighter. Max is not known as an adherent of the one-voice-per-part philosophy, yet here, his choruses are taken by the four soloists from his fine Rheinische Kantorei choir; there is no chorus. This is less than ideal. From what we know of Telemann's late occasional works, they were big, festive affairs. However, the decision was likely the result of COVID-era restrictions (the album was recorded in December of 2020), and in the airy acoustic of Cologne's Trinitatiskirche, one doesn't miss the choir much. Moreover, the choruses are mostly not simply chorales but are more complex polyphonic pieces; one quotes the old In dulci jubilo hymn, a pure Telemann move. The interpretations generally have Max's characteristic warmth, and the soloists (in the solos) are idiomatic and direct. Telemann lovers will enjoy this release.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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Telemann: A Christmas Oratorio

Kleine Konzert, Das

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1
Siehe, ich verkündige euch, TWV 1:1333: No. 1, Siehe! Ich verkündige euch große Freude
00:02:07

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

2
Siehe, ich verkündige euch, TWV 1:1333: No. 2, Ihr Hirten, denket nicht
00:06:03

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

3
Siehe, ich verkündige euch, TWV 1:1333: No. 3, Dies hat er alles uns getan
00:00:35

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

4
Siehe, ich verkündige euch, TWV 1:1333: No. 4, O teuer wertes Wort des Lebens
00:00:53

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

5
Siehe, ich verkündige euch, TWV 1:1333: No. 5, Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt
00:00:56

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

6
Siehe, ich verkündige euch, TWV 1:1333: No. 6, Uns von allem Bösen zu erlösen
00:05:21

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

7
Siehe, ich verkündige euch, TWV 1:1333: No. 7, Gelobet sei der Herr
00:01:43

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

8
Siehe, ich verkündige euch, TWV 1:1333: No. 8, Drum, frommer Christ
00:00:45

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

9
Tönet die Freude, TWV 1:1410: No. 1, Tönet die Freude
00:04:17

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

10
Tönet die Freude, TWV 1:1410: No. 2, Zwingt die Saiten in Cithara
00:01:08

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

11
Tönet die Freude, TWV 1:1410: No. 3, Ich hebe mich auf deiner Gnade Flügel
00:01:40

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

12
Tönet die Freude, TWV 1:1410: No. 4, Amen! Lob und Ehre
00:01:47

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

13
Tönet die Freude, TWV 1:1410: No. 5, Seligstes Wesen
00:00:43

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

14
Tönet die Freude, TWV 1:1410: No. 6, O schöne Nacht
00:00:47

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

15
Tönet die Freude, TWV 1:1410: No. 7, Wir beben, Gott Jakobs
00:02:17

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

16
Tönet die Freude, TWV 1:1410: No. 8, Bote Gottes!
00:00:28

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

17
Tönet die Freude, TWV 1:1410: No. 9, Tiefen ewig großer Milde
00:03:02

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

18
Tönet die Freude, TWV 1:1410: No. 10, Heut hat der Herr den Jammerstand
00:00:33

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

19
Tönet die Freude, TWV 1:1410: No. 11, Messias kömmt
00:00:45

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

20
Tönet die Freude, TWV 1:1410: No. 12, Herr, sei gebenedeit
00:00:51

Anonymous, Lyricist - Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

21
Daran ist erschienen, TWV 1:166: No. 1, Darzu ist erschienen die Liebe Gottes
00:03:41

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist - Gottfried Simonis, Lyricist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

22
Daran ist erschienen, TWV 1:166: No. 2, Gott, deine Liebe ist ein Abgrund ohne Grund
00:01:45

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Gottfried Simonis, Lyricist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

23
Daran ist erschienen, TWV 1:166: No. 3, Zion lobt dich in der Stille
00:05:36

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Gottfried Simonis, Lyricist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

24
Daran ist erschienen, TWV 1:166: No. 4, Wenn nach der Nacht der Glanz der Sonne wieder lacht
00:01:20

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist - Gottfried Simonis, Lyricist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

25
Daran ist erschienen, TWV 1:166: No. 5, Wir sind frei von Kett und Banden
00:02:20

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Gottfried Simonis, Lyricist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

26
Daran ist erschienen, TWV 1:166: No. 6, Ja, ja, gelobet sei des Höchsten Name
00:00:51

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Gottfried Simonis, Lyricist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

27
Daran ist erschienen, TWV 1:166: No. 7, Lob, Ehr und Dank sei dir gesungen
00:00:38

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist - Gottfried Simonis, Lyricist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

28
Wünschet Jerusalem Glück, TWV 1:1726: No. 1, Wünschet Jerusalem Glück
00:04:03

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Erdmann Neumeister, Lyricist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

29
Wünschet Jerusalem Glück, TWV 1:1726: No. 2, Das neue Jahr schenkt uns die ersten Blicke
00:01:15

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Erdmann Neumeister, Lyricist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

30
Wünschet Jerusalem Glück, TWV 1:1726: No. 3, Glück und Friede
00:04:49

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Erdmann Neumeister, Lyricist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

31
Wünschet Jerusalem Glück, TWV 1:1726: No. 4, Ein einzig Wort
00:01:33

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Erdmann Neumeister, Lyricist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

32
Wünschet Jerusalem Glück, TWV 1:1726: No. 5, In Jesu Namen
00:02:33

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Erdmann Neumeister, Lyricist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

33
Wünschet Jerusalem Glück, TWV 1:1726: No. 5, Zu danken und zu loben dich
00:00:36

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Erdmann Neumeister, Lyricist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

34
Ihr Völker, bringet her, TWV 1:919: No. 1, Ihr Völker, bringet her dem Herrn
00:03:06

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Erdmann Neumeister, Lyricist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

35
Ihr Völker, bringet her, TWV 1:919: No. 2, Ich Armer, ach!
00:01:11

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Erdmann Neumeister, Lyricist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

36
Ihr Völker, bringet her, TWV 1:919: No. 3, Opfere Gott Dank
00:01:06

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Erdmann Neumeister, Lyricist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

37
Ihr Völker, bringet her, TWV 1:919: No. 4, Auf, auf, mein Herz
00:00:47

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Erdmann Neumeister, Lyricist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

38
Ihr Völker, bringet her, TWV 1:919: No. 5, Ich opfre, Jesu, dir mein Herz
00:01:58

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Erdmann Neumeister, Lyricist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

39
Ihr Völker, bringet her, TWV 1:919: No. 6, So lang ich's noch in meinem Leibe trage
00:00:50

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Erdmann Neumeister, Lyricist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

40
Ihr Völker, bringet her, TWV 1:919: No. 7, Du willst ein Opfer haben
00:00:51

Georg Philipp Telemann, Composer - Hermann Max, Conductor, MainArtist - Das Kleine Konzert, Orchestra, MainArtist - Erdmann Neumeister, Lyricist - Georg Poplutz, MainArtist - Veronika Winter, MainArtist - Rheinische Kantorei Soloists, Choir, MainArtist - Matthias Vieweg, MainArtist - Anne Bierwirth, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

Album review

Georg Philipp Telemann never wrote a Christmas oratorio, but that hasn't stopped performers from assembling them out of holiday-season cantatas. The one here by veteran choral conductor Hermann Max and his instrumental group Das Kleine Konzert isn't the first one. It is not even the first one on the CPO label. There is no basis for objecting to this kind of creative repertory expansion, for Bach's Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, was put together in basically the same way. Telemann isn't Bach, though most listeners will find satisfying listening here for the holiday season or any other time, and this album, in fact, made classical best-seller lists in early 2024. Max and company program five Telemann cantatas, unfailingly tuneful and well-made in the composer's characteristic way. One striking thing is that there are two quite late works from the 1750s and 1760s; the others are from earlier in Telemann's career, yet the style remains consistent. In some genres, Telemann caught on to the emerging light styles coming from Italy, but in church cantatas, he seems to have played it straighter. Max is not known as an adherent of the one-voice-per-part philosophy, yet here, his choruses are taken by the four soloists from his fine Rheinische Kantorei choir; there is no chorus. This is less than ideal. From what we know of Telemann's late occasional works, they were big, festive affairs. However, the decision was likely the result of COVID-era restrictions (the album was recorded in December of 2020), and in the airy acoustic of Cologne's Trinitatiskirche, one doesn't miss the choir much. Moreover, the choruses are mostly not simply chorales but are more complex polyphonic pieces; one quotes the old In dulci jubilo hymn, a pure Telemann move. The interpretations generally have Max's characteristic warmth, and the soloists (in the solos) are idiomatic and direct. Telemann lovers will enjoy this release.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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