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CD Review

Antonio Rosetti

Sacred Works for Chorus & Orchestra

  • Oratorio "Jesus in Gethsemane", Murray G2
  • Cantata "Hallelujah", Murray G7
  • Salve Regina, Murray F86-F89
Gabriele Hierdeis, soprano
Ruth Sandhoff, alto
Jan Kobow, tenor
Thomas E. Bauer, bass
North German Radio Chorus
Mecklenburgisches Barockorchester "Herzogliche HofKapelle"/Johannes Moesus
CPO 777254-2 2CDs
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When Antonio Rosetti, a native of Catholic Bohemia, relocated in 1789 from Wallerstein to Ludwigslust, he traded the Catholic milieu of southern Germany for a Protestant one in northern Germany. After an extended career composing music for the Catholic liturgy of the Oettingen-Wallerstein court he now was confronted with the preference of Duke Friedrich Franz I (1717-1786) and his successors for cantatas and oratorios. Having at his disposal not only a good orchestra but also a capable vocal ensemble the Ludwigslust court was accustomed to performing larger and demanding choral works. Some of these have been recorded for this double disc.

The passion cantata for soloists, chorus and orchestra, Jesus in Gethsemane, does not follow the dramatic narrative of Johann Sebastian Bach's passions. Instead, in keeping with the new literary trend of the Empfindsamkeit of the late eighteenth century, Rosetti's lyrical, meditative text stresses the emotional character of the action. The solo voices do not represent specific dramatic personae but rather are meant to be links for the pious listener to direct emotional relation to the text. The same applies to the Hallelujah cantata for soloists, chorus and orchestra which praises God's glory.

The exuberant emotions embedded in the structure of these two compositions are beautifully expressed by the combined forces of the musicians Johannes Moesus has assembled for these recordings. And, surprisingly, both works contain some demanding, virtuoso arias. The listener will also delight in the riches of harmonic color and lyric melody in the four settings of the Marian antiphon, Salve Regina, which complete the program of Rosetti's vocal compositions on this recording.

Copyright © 2009, Diether Steppuhn