- Das neugeborne, Kindelein, for SATB voices, 3 violins, violone, bassoon & continuo, BuxWV 13
- Quaemadmodum desiderat cervus, for tenor, 2 violins & continuo, BuxWV 92
- Nichts soll uns Scheiden, for SAB voices, 2 violins, violone & continuo, BuxWV 77
- Dixit Dominus Domino meo (Psalm 109), for soprano, 2 violins, 2 violas, spinet, violone & continuo, BuxWV 17
- An Filius non est Dei, for ATB voices, 2 violins, viola da gamba & continuo, BuxWV 6
- Lobe den Herrn meine Seele, for tenor, 3 violins, 2 violas, violone & continuo, BuxWV 71
- Jesu komm mein Trost und Lachen, for ATB voices, 2 violins, violetta, violone & continuo, BuxWV 58
- Herr, nun lässt du deinen Diener, for tenor, 2 violins & continuo, BuxWV 37
- Jesu dulcis memoria, for ATB voices, 2 violins & continuo, BuxWV 57
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Dietrich Buxtehude is a composer whose reputation is on the rise as performers look beyond the organ works that Bach took a 300-mile stroll to hear, and find a wealth of other riches. This disc, the second of a pair issued by its performers covering the similar repertory, focuses on a group of highly accomplished religious pieces for one or more voices and instruments, without chorus. Unlike Bach during most of his career, Buxtehude was an organist first and foremost; another Lübeck composer took care of the weekly vocal music for church. Though they are presented as a unitary set by the packaging and liner notes, the works on this album are of two sharply different types. Some are for small groups of voices, plus a small string group and continuo. It's easy to imagine these being sung on a Sunday in the living room of a well-established Lübeck merchant family; they have an intimate devotional quality that is familiar to us from Bach's music but that comes through especially nicely in this comparatively unusual setting. Other cantatas are for a solo voice, and these were not sung in anyone's home; they are fiery works for trained singers that Buxtehude must have had at his disposal. Some of the music is in German, the rest in Latin, and Buxtehude seems to have partially inspired Bach's ability to wring dramatic impact out of the sonic characteristics of a single German word. Try singing "nichts" repeatedly and rapidly as the performers here must do; they pull it off perfectly. Four top English soloists -- soprano Emma Kirkby, countertenor Michael Chance, tenor Charles Daniels, and bass Peter Harvey -- plus the Purcell Quartet handle these varied chores well in general. Those who want to hear Kirkby pushed to her limits can do so in the "Gloria Patri" movement of the cantata "Dixit Dominus Domino meo, BuxWV 17," and the other soloists except for Harvey also get their athletic moments. Chance plays a bit loose with the pitch but is highly expressive. In the vocal-ensemble cantatas this English group does especially well in structures that point back to the middle seventeenth century -- ground basses, little strophic movements. Their precise style feels a little restrained in the moments where Buxtehude is closest to Bach, but some listeners may like it that way. In any event, this is an above-average exposition of some unfamiliar and quite important music.