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American Record Guide: (11/2017) 
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Reviewer: Peter Loewen

This first recording in the Musica Baltica series includes seven cantatas by composers who were active in Gdansk (Danzig). The music comes from the church archives of St John’s, St Catherine’s, and St Mary’s. The music of Johann Valentin Meder (1649-1719), Johann Jeremias du Grain (d. 1756), Johann Balthasar Christian Freislich (c. 1690-1774), and Johann Daniel Pucklitz (1705-74) gives one a glimpse of the quality of music in this Baltic city. It shows many typical late-Baroque characteristics, but there is already a glimmer of early classicism in the way composers introduce chromaticism and emphasize the clarity of the melodic line against a slow harmonic accompaniment. Pucklitz is perhaps the most progressive of the lot in his use of chromaticism. A survey of each cantata shows how variably these composers approached the problem of form. All but Freislich’s cantata include the obligatory arias, chorus, and recitatives.

Freislich’s Jauchzet dem Herrn Alle Welt is a solo cantata consisting of a sinfonia and three arias for one or two soloists. Du Grain’s ‘Herzlich Lieb Hab Ich Dich O Herr’ gives perhaps the clearest illustration of the various approaches to chorale setting. The Sinfonia-Chorale movement mixes a motet-style setting with a four-part chorale setting. The tenor aria presents the chorale melody in cantus-firmus style over an impressive filigree of passagework in the violins. The chorale movement, ‘Es Ist Ja, Herr, Dein Geschenk’, is a simple fourpart harmonization. And the cantata concludes with another chorus that blends the motet and chorale styles.


It is a lovely recording of a repertory that has too long been neglected by performers.

Notes in English; texts in German only.

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