Lost Music of Early America: Music of the Moravians

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
As they become acquainted with the musical history of early America, listeners seem to gravitate toward works that diverge from European models. William Billings showed up on Mormon Tabernacle Choir albums, and choirs of all kinds sing his music enthusiastically, while Alexander Reinagle is dutifully mentioned in textbooks but otherwise pretty much forgotten, even though no less a figure than George Washington championed him. The music of the Moravians, a German religious group that flourished and continues to flourish, also known as the Unity of the Brethren in an inland Eastern zone running from North Carolina northward, has likewise been neglected, even though Benjamin...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
As they become acquainted with the musical history of early America, listeners seem to gravitate toward works that diverge from European models. William Billings showed up on Mormon Tabernacle Choir albums, and choirs of all kinds sing his music enthusiastically, while Alexander Reinagle is dutifully mentioned in textbooks but otherwise pretty much forgotten, even though no less a figure than George Washington championed him. The music of the Moravians, a German religious group that flourished and continues to flourish, also known as the Unity of the Brethren in an inland Eastern zone running from North Carolina northward, has likewise been neglected, even though Benjamin Franklin, who was in a position to know, characterized it as the most accomplished in all the colonies. Some of it is in German, but not all, so the language barrier can be only a partial explanation. The corpus of Moravian music in the U.S. is large, numbering some 10,000 compositions, but only a handful have ever been published. This 1995 recording from the Boston Baroque choir and orchestra, therefore, covered music unfamiliar to most listeners, and its reissue is welcome. The music is organized into three seasonal "Lovefeasts" the German word is Liebesmahl, but few stylistic distinctions emerge according either to season or to composer. Choral hymns, accompanied by a small orchestra, alternate with slightly longer anthem-like works on biblical texts, sung by a chorus or soprano soloist. It is these pieces that are most surprising: at a time when Billings was adapting archaic traditions of small-town English choral composition, the Moravian composers represented here seem to have been fully up on the latest sounds coming from the old country. A few of the larger pieces none is more than four minutes long sound as though they could have come out of a lesser-known work by Michael Haydn; the orchestral accompaniment isn't exactly striking, but it doesn't just double the voices either. The sunny simplicity of the music is intriguing. Few pieces have the sound of the old chorale treatments, and text like "für uns zum Opfer gemacht" made a sacrifice for us flounces by in major-key triplets. The music is full of pleasant tunes, and in all it sounds very much of its Classical period. Especially interesting are two works for trombone choir; there is also one short piano work. The classic New England choral sound of the Boston Baroque singers is ideally suited to this music. Full texts are given in German and English, but the words are clearly audible, in both languages, without referring to them. Somewhat less successful are sopranos Sharon Baker and especially Cyndia Sieden, whose fluttery vibrato is distracting; a soberer voice was called for. Still, Telarc did top-notch engineering work on this "Lost Music of Early America," and the recording is strong enough that the music may perhaps not qualify as lost for much longer.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/29/1998
  • Label: Telarc
  • UPC: 089408048227
  • Catalog Number: 80482
  • Sales rank: 37,822

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Freuen wir uns, hymn - Anonymous, German & Boston Baroque (1:28)
  2. 2 Der Herr ist mein Theil - Johann Friedrich Peter & Boston Baroque (1:30)
  3. 3 Meine Seele erhebet dem Herrn - Jeremiah Dencke & Sharon Baker (1:45)
  4. 4 Es ist ein köstlich Ding - Johann Friedrich Peter & Sharon Baker (2:00)
  5. 5 Join We All with One Accord - John Horn & Boston Baroque (1:42)
  6. 6 Hail Infant Newborn - David Moritz Michael & Boston Baroque (1:05)
  7. 7 Loveliest Immanuel (Prince of Peace, Immanuel), carol - John Antes & Boston Baroque (2:12)
  8. 8 Ich will euch wie ein Thau seyn - Simon Peter & Boston Baroque (1:50)
  9. 9 Thou Child Divine, carol - Johann Abraham Peter Schulz & Sharon Baker (2:07)
  10. 10 Zeige mir dein Angesicht, hymn - Anonymous, German & Boston Baroque (1:36)
  11. 11 Heiliger Herre Gott, hymn - Anonymous, German & Boston Baroque (1:51)
  12. 12 Ach Schönster unter allen - Johann Peter Kellner & Boston Baroque (5:05)
  13. 13 Suchet sein Antlitz - Johann Andreas Herbst & Boston Baroque (1:51)
  14. 14 Die mit Thränen säen - John Gambold II & Boston Baroque (2:37)
  15. 15 Lob Gott getrost mit Singen, hymn - Anonymous, German & Boston Baroque (1:00)
  16. 16 O lieblicher Heiland du mein Versöhner - Johann Christian Geisler & Sharon Baker (2:32)
  17. 17 Gesegnet bist du, sein Volk - Jeremiah Dencke & Boston Baroque (1:35)
  18. 18 Ich gehe einher in der Kraft des Herrn - Johann Andreas Herbst & Sharon Baker (2:47)
  19. 19 Herz und Herz vereint zusammen, hymn - Anonymous, German & Boston Baroque (1:58)
  20. 20 Kommt, danket dem Helden, hymn - Anonymous, German & Boston Baroque (1:15)
  21. 21 Das ist ein Tag - Christian Gregor & Boston Baroque (0:48)
  22. 22 Ich will immer harren - Johann Friedrich Peter & Boston Baroque (1:28)
  23. 23 Ich danke Dir ewiglich - Johann Friedrich Peter & Boston Baroque (2:00)
  24. 24 Die Frucht des Geistes ist Liebe - Johann Christian Geisler & Boston Baroque (2:15)
  25. 25 O Sing, all ye Redeemed - Georg Gottfried Müller & Boston Baroque (3:54)
  26. 26 Mein Herz dichtet ein feines Lied - Jeremiah Dencke & Boston Baroque (2:16)
  27. 27 Sieha meine Knechte - Simon Peter & Sharon Baker (2:41)
  28. 28 Ich will dir ein Freudenopfer thun - Johann Friedrich Peter & Boston Baroque (2:02)
  29. 29 Sing Hallelujah, Praise the Lord! - Christian Bechler & Boston Baroque (1:02)
  30. 30 Herr und Ältster deiner Kreuzgemeine, hymn - Anonymous, German & Boston Baroque (1:07)
  31. 31 Jesus Makes my Heart Rejoice - Christian Gregor & Boston Baroque (0:49)
  32. 32 Rondo, for piano - John Gambold II & Anilda Carrasquillo (5:02)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Boston Baroque Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    What WONDERFUL music

    I enjoy this collection of music very much. I find it very comforting. I am extremely glad that I took the time to find it. It will surely remain as one of my favorites to listen to. The included translations from German to English are a big plus, too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Best Monday Morning Music

    What a wonderful, historical collection of baroque Christmas, Lent, thanksgiving and praise music! This is one of those collections you can't help singing or humming along with. Boston Baroque's Chorus is one of the most balanced groups I have ever heard (with my sensitive, picky ears). This beautiful CD will brighten your mood, however bad it is. I can't recommend it highly enough, especially if you're a baroque lover like I am.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews