Consider, My Soul: Sacred Arias

Consider, My Soul: Sacred Arias

by Thomas Quasthoff
     
 

An ideal meeting of singer and repertoire, Consider, My Soul showcases the expressive warmth of Thomas Quasthoff's voice in a dozen of the loveliest excerpts from oratorios by Bach, Handel, Haydn, and Mendelssohn. Anyone who was deeply moved by Quasthoff's recording of Bach cantatas a few years ago -- which means anyone whoSee more details below

Overview

An ideal meeting of singer and repertoire, Consider, My Soul showcases the expressive warmth of Thomas Quasthoff's voice in a dozen of the loveliest excerpts from oratorios by Bach, Handel, Haydn, and Mendelssohn. Anyone who was deeply moved by Quasthoff's recording of Bach cantatas a few years ago -- which means anyone who heard it -- will not be surprised by the emotionally powerful performances captured in similar music here. Nearly half of the selections, in fact, come from Bach, with the St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, and Christmas Oratorio each providing venues for Quasthoff's eloquence. The title track -- "Betrachte, meine Seel" -- is the most introspective of these numbers, its intensity being offset by the lilting duet with soprano Sibylla Rubens on "Herr, dein Mitleid, dein Erbarmen" and the calm profession of faith in "Mache dich, mein Herze, rein." Each selection elicits different colors from Quasthoff's rich voice, and the variety only expands with the boldly assertive aria "The Trumpet Shall Sound" from Handel's Messiah. In other arias, Quasthoff has to step into character a bit more, portraying the farmer Simon in Haydn's Seasons and the title role of the prophet in Mendelssohn's Elijah -- where we come full circle back to Bach, thanks to Mendelssohn's rediscovery of that composer's great choral oratorios. The closing bonus track, an arrangement of the spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," stretches the album's definition of "sacred arias" while perfectly complementing the sentiments of the other music featured here. In the end, there's no need to identify with the religious beliefs of Bach and his fellow composers, because Quasthoff's achievement is to demonstrate that the musical translation of that faith has truly universal meaning.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
The recital of sacred arias is rarer than the disc devoted to operatic or art song selections, and it carries its own special challenge: in sacred material, the singer can't get away with relying on sheer vocal beauty to the detriment of communication of the text. This selection of arias from larger works by Bach, Handel, Haydn, and Mendelssohn thus is ideally suited to the talents of bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff, who combines smooth, perfectly controlled technique with a broad, instantly attractive Germanic warmth. "Music is my religion," Quasthoff said, and indeed he includes a pair of selections from Haydn's "Die Jahreszeiten" (The Seasons), not conventionally considered a sacred work (for pagans, it works perfectly well as one). But listen to Quasthoff's rendition of "Mache dich, mein Herze, rein" (Make yourself pure, my heart) from Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" (track 6), which seems to proceed from a feeling of absolute conviction in its quiet mix of determination and sweetness, and from a basis of rock-solid technique in its gentle procession from note to note. All the Bach arias, which open the disc, are gorgeous, and listeners who have immersed themselves in historical Bach performances may wish to pause and hear what a modern operatic singer can do with Bach's vocal lines that run rapidly upwards and leave the singer perched over a cliff. Quasthoff does well with the English-language works on the disc, including "The trumpet shall sound," from Handel's "Messiah" -- he doesn't exactly sound like a native, but he obscures his German accent into something of indeterminate origin. This is true even in the bonus track (classical albums never used to have bonus tracks, but perhaps silly marketing devices are an inevitable result of multinational corporate control of the big labels), the African-American spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"; the listener is advised to avoid performances of spirituals by all-German ensembles, but Quasthoff's sense of conviction helps him bring this one off. Quasthoff shifts gears effectively from Bach into the humor of "Die Jahreszeiten" and the more relaxed religion of Mendelssohn. The Staatskapelle Dresden (and occasionally the Staatsopernchor Dresden) under Sebastian Weigle provides sensitive and restrained support. In all, if you've heard about Quasthoff and are looking for a good introduction to his talents, this disc provides a fine one.
Gramophone - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood
This is a programme which alights most compellingly on human vulnerability, through the singer's instinctive and sympathetic poetics and malleable timbre.
Classic FM Magazine
This disc is a complete joy on every level.
New York Sun - Jay Nordlinger
Mr. Quasthoff's engagement with the music is total, and his understanding is deep.... His phrasing is exemplary, and so is his diction.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/12/2006
Label:
Deutsche Grammophon
UPC:
0028947763994
catalogNumber:
000710302

Tracks

  1. Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio), in six parts, BWV 248 (BC D7): 8. Aria: Großer Herr, o starker König  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Christopher Alder  - Matathiasa Brauer  -  Dresden State Opera Chorus  - Peggy Cochrane  -  Dresden Staatskapelle  - Lucie Kayas  - Merle Kersten  - Jacques Lasserre  - Thomas Quasthoff  - Stewart Spencer  - Sebastian Weigle  - Markus Schmutzler
  2. Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio), in six parts, BWV 248 (BC D7): 29. Duetto: Herr, dein Mitleid, dein Erbarmen  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Christopher Alder  - Matathiasa Brauer  -  Dresden State Opera Chorus  - Peggy Cochrane  -  Dresden Staatskapelle  - Lucie Kayas  - Merle Kersten  - Jacques Lasserre  - Andreas Lorenz  - Bernhard Muhlbach  - Thomas Quasthoff  - Sibylla Rubens  - Stewart Spencer  - Sebastian Weigle
  3. St. John Passion (Johannespassion), BWV 245 (BC D2): 19. Arioso: Betrachte, meine Seel  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Christopher Alder  - Matathiasa Brauer  -  Dresden State Opera Chorus  - Peggy Cochrane  -  Dresden Staatskapelle  - Lucie Kayas  - Merle Kersten  - Jacques Lasserre  - Thomas Quasthoff  - Stewart Spencer  - Sebastian Weigle  - Jörg Kettmann  - Stefan Maass  - Ulrike Scobel
  4. St. John Passion (Johannespassion), BWV 245 (BC D2): 32. Aria & Choral: Mein teuer Heiland, lass dich f  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Christopher Alder  - Matathiasa Brauer  -  Dresden State Opera Chorus  - Peggy Cochrane  -  Dresden Staatskapelle  - Lucie Kayas  - Merle Kersten  - Jacques Lasserre  - Thomas Quasthoff  - Stewart Spencer  - Sebastian Weigle
  5. St. Matthew Passion (Matthäuspassion), BWV 244 (BC D3b): 65. Aria: Mache dich, mein Herze, rein  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Christopher Alder  - Matathiasa Brauer  -  Dresden State Opera Chorus  - Peggy Cochrane  -  Dresden Staatskapelle  - Lucie Kayas  - Merle Kersten  - Jacques Lasserre  - Thomas Quasthoff  - Stewart Spencer  - Sebastian Weigle
  6. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: 42. Accompagnato: Behold, I tell you a mystery / 4  - Christopher Alder  - George Frideric Handel  - Matathiasa Brauer  -  Dresden State Opera Chorus  - Peggy Cochrane  -  Dresden Staatskapelle  - Lucie Kayas  - Merle Kersten  - Jacques Lasserre  - Thomas Quasthoff  - Stewart Spencer  - Sebastian Weigle  - Markus Schmutzler
  7. Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons), oratorio, H. 21/3: 3. Recitativo: Vom Widder strahlet jetzt / 4. Aria  - Franz Joseph Haydn  - Christopher Alder  - Matathiasa Brauer  -  Dresden State Opera Chorus  - Peggy Cochrane  -  Dresden Staatskapelle  - Lucie Kayas  - Merle Kersten  - Jacques Lasserre  - Thomas Quasthoff  - Stewart Spencer  - Sebastian Weigle
  8. Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons), oratorio, H. 21/3: 38. Aria & Recitativo: Erblicke hier, betörter Men  - Franz Joseph Haydn  - Christopher Alder  - Matathiasa Brauer  -  Dresden State Opera Chorus  - Peggy Cochrane  -  Dresden Staatskapelle  - Lucie Kayas  - Merle Kersten  - Jacques Lasserre  - Thomas Quasthoff  - Stewart Spencer  - Sebastian Weigle
  9. Die Schöpfung (The Creation), oratorio, H. 21/2: 6. Recitativo: Und Gott sprach / 7. Aria: Rollend  - Franz Joseph Haydn  - Christopher Alder  - Matathiasa Brauer  -  Dresden State Opera Chorus  - Peggy Cochrane  -  Dresden Staatskapelle  - Lucie Kayas  - Merle Kersten  - Jacques Lasserre  - John Milton  - Thomas Quasthoff  - Stewart Spencer  - Baron Gottfried van Swieten  - Sebastian Weigle
  10. Elijah (Elias), oratorio, Op. 70: 14. Aria: Herr Gott Abrahams  - Felix Mendelssohn  - Christopher Alder  - Matathiasa Brauer  -  Dresden State Opera Chorus  - Peggy Cochrane  -  Dresden Staatskapelle  - Lucie Kayas  - Merle Kersten  - Jacques Lasserre  - Thomas Quasthoff  - Stewart Spencer  - Sebastian Weigle
  11. Elijah (Elias), oratorio, Op. 70: 26. Aria: Es ist genug!  - Felix Mendelssohn  - Christopher Alder  - Matathiasa Brauer  -  Dresden State Opera Chorus  - Peggy Cochrane  -  Dresden Staatskapelle  - Lucie Kayas  - Merle Kersten  - Jacques Lasserre  - Thomas Quasthoff  - Stewart Spencer  - Sebastian Weigle
  12. Paulus (Saint Paul), oratorio, Op. 36: 18. Aria: Gott, sei mir gnädig  - Felix Mendelssohn  - Christopher Alder  - Matathiasa Brauer  -  Dresden State Opera Chorus  - Peggy Cochrane  -  Dresden Staatskapelle  - Lucie Kayas  - Merle Kersten  - Jacques Lasserre  - Thomas Quasthoff  - Stewart Spencer  - Sebastian Weigle
  13. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot  -  Traditional Spiritual  - Christopher Alder  - Matathiasa Brauer  -  Dresden State Opera Chorus  - Peggy Cochrane  -  Dresden Staatskapelle  - Lucie Kayas  - Merle Kersten  - Jacques Lasserre  - Thomas Quasthoff  - Stewart Spencer  - Sebastian Weigle

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