- Komm, Geist des Herrn, sacred cantata for chorus, 2 oboes, 3 trumpets, strings & continuo, TWV 1:999
- Kaum wag ich es, dir, Richter, mich zu nahn, sacred cantata for chorus, strings & continuo, TWV 1:992
- Er kam, lobsinget ihm, sacred cantata for chorus, flute, oboe, 3 trumpets, timpani, strings & continuo, TWV 1:462
Georg Philipp Telemann was an old dog who seemed to have no problems learning new tricks, a point made very clearly with Ludger Rémy and Telemannisches Collegium Michaelstein's Georg Philipp Telemann: Komm Geist des Herrn -- Late Cantatas on CPO. These three church cantatas, "Komm, Geist des Herrn, TWV 1:999," "Kaum wag ich es, TWV 1:992," and "Er kam, lobsingt ihm TWV 1:462" were composed in 1759 and 1762, years in which Telemann was 78 and 81 years of age, respectively. Baroque was a done deal and Classicism was all the rage, although musicians in Europe were not thinking of it in those terms specifically, as such temporal designations were arrived at retrospectively. Composers around 1760 just knew that things were different, and that the old practice, heavy with polyphony and piety, simply did not work anymore. Telemann did not just adapt to the new order of things; he was on the cutting edge of them and had even anticipated some of these developments in his works from the 1730s. "Komm, Geist des Herrn, TWV 1:999," set to an anonymous parody of a text by Sturm und Dräng pioneer Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, is redolent with the influence of opera and handled in a manner that would never have been considered by Johann Sebastian Bach, or for that matter Telemann himself during the era of the "Harmonischer Gottesdienst." Instrumental textures are minimal and leave the singers practically "naked," and the text painting is overtly dramatic, rather than worked subliminally into the melodic line itself, as was J.S. Bach's practice. It's a very exciting German sacred cantata; perhaps too exciting, as the booklet goes into detail about a skirmish "Komm, Geist des Herrn" elicited during a 1764 revival at St. Katherine's Church. The deliberate and unprepared harmonic clashes in the duet "Du Quell der Hoffnung und der Freuden" would be sufficient to raise eyebrows at a twenty-first century Pentecost service, let alone one held in the middle of the eighteenth. Comparatively, "Kaum wag ich es, TWV 1:992," seems like the weak sister of these three, whereas "Er kam, lobsingt ihm, TWV 1:462," is nearly up to the level of the first cantata. Overall, the chorales remain roughly traditional, albeit texturally streamlined, but "Wenn dann die Stern' erbleichend stehen" is a notable exception, scored in a hushed, somewhat sneaky setting that would be worthy of Kurt Weill in the 1920s. There isn't a lot for the soprano to do in these cantatas, but what there is, Rémy's exquisite soloist Dorothee Mields makes short work of it; bass Ekkehard Abele is much busier and does a fine job, and generally there are no weak links among the solo singers. The 52-page booklet that comes with Georg Philipp Telemann: Komm Geist des Herrn -- Late Cantatas is really thick -- you'll have difficultly getting it back into the case without damaging it in some way. The back cover has the studious, eccentric-looking Rémy in front of a seascape, cigarette in hand; not an unusual photograph for use in a European CD booklet, but nonetheless a choice of image that is not terribly appealing to most Stateside consumers.