Bach and his Rivals | Hyphen Press Music HPM008

Bach and his Rivals


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Label: Hyphen Press Music

Cat No: HPM008

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 2

Release Date: 30th March 2015



The first CD presents cantatas composed by three of the musicians who auditioned for the position of Kantor at the Thomasschule in Leipzig in 1722–3. The candidates, in order of interview, were Telemann, Graupner and Bach.

The cantatas by Graupner and Bach were their audition pieces. Telemann’s audition cantata has been lost - he is represented here by a work known to have been performed in Leipzig in 1725, under Bach’s direction. All three works gain significantly by being set in this context: we hear surprising, forward-looking music by the lesser known Graupner and by Telemann – the most famous German composer of his day, placed alongside a work by the magisterial Bach. An instrumental suite by Telemann provides a substantial interlude.

The second CD focuses on cantatas composed by the three men a year later: 30 January 1724, the 4th Sunday after Epiphany. Telemann and Graupner were back in Hamburg and Darmstadt, and Bach was installed as Kantor in Leipzig. The gospel for the day tells the story of Jesus calming the storm on the Lake of Galilee. These cantatas enact the storm, notably in extraordinary bass arias riding over thrilling instrumental writing. An instrumental suite by Graupner provides further evidence of the qualities of this composer, only now being rediscovered.

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