L'Arpa Festante / Basel Madrigalists / Fritz Näf

Telemann: Die Tageszeiten; Nun danket alle Gott

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Georg Philipp Telemann's Die Tageszeiten, TWV 20:39, is a late work by the composer, dating from 1757. It is a modest set of four cantatas, each consisting of a pair of arias and a brief final contrapuntal chorus, with the second aria introduced by a recitative. One vocal soloist -- soprano, alto, tenor, and bass -- is featured in each cantata, making the whole thing ideal for a recital at any level, for none of the music is technically difficult. Anyone expecting a daypart counterpart to Vivaldi's or Haydn's representations of the seasons may be disappointed, but these are interesting items from Telemann's somewhat underappreciated late period. The texts, by the German poet Friedrich Wilhelm Zachariae, are quasi-sacred, extolling the glory of the deity in the manifestations of the passage of the day and night. There is a somewhat mystical tone -- "In order to receive you with music, nature has looked desirously at your future" (from the Morning cantata) -- that annotator Klaus Hofmann likens to the poetry of German Romantic Friedrick Klopstock. The music is an impressive example of Telemann's ability to keep up with the latest trends even in great old age. He devises a subtle, intimate, rather light tone that matches the poetry with plenty of musical imagery. It's a pleasant work that conceals a bit of the deeper layers, and it would be hard to conceive of more appropriate performances than those by a quartet of soloists led by soprano Monika Mauch. All manage to deliver subtle, distinctive interpretations in music largely lacking in vocal fireworks, and they are supported by fine ensemble work by the historical-instrument group L'Arpa Festante. The choruses are sung by a small choir, the Basler Madrigalisten. Even detractors of the one-voice-per-part philosophy might concede that it would have been unlikely for an entire choir to have been brought together merely to sing these little choruses, but this does not impede the listener's enjoyment in the slightest. The program is rounded out with an unremarkable sacred cantata. Booklet notes are in German, English, and French, but the elegant little cantata texts are translated into English only.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Die Tageszeiten, TVWV 20:39
1 7:14
2 2:43
3 1:37
4 3:02
5 1:24
6 5:54
7 2:25
8 4:01
9 1:16
10 5:35
11 1:17
12 5:57
13 1:15
14 5:40
15 2:19
16 3:10
17 1:43
Nun danket alle Gott, TWVW 1:1166
18 2:27
19 2:18
20 1:45
21 3:09
blue highlight denotes track pick