Buxtehude for Winds

Buxtehude & Co.; Caecilia-Concert; Fiona Russell, cornetto/cornettino; Adam Woolf, tenor trombone; Wouter Verschuren, dulcian; Kathryn Cok, harpsichord/organ; Annabelle Ferdinand, violin. Challenge Records CC72179. Info: www.caecilia-concert.com Recorded November 2006.

Caecilia-Concert’s latest CD presents a program of 9 sonatas, a chaconne, and an aria by Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707) and four of his illustrious contemporaries of the North German school: Johann Philipp Krieger (1649-1725); Matthias Weckmann (1619-1674); Dietrich Becker (1623-1671); and Johann Theile (1646-1724). The program represents a musical view of the 17th-century North German collegia musica and the Abendmusiken, which were special concerts presented for merchants, lawyers, and other successful members of society. Inherently secular in nature, this repertoire is highly virtuosic and presents many demands upon the performers. One such interesting challenge, as pointed out in the informative CD booklet, is the use of A# and Bb in the same piece representing two different pitches in the historic temperament. Members of this ensemble ably meet those challenges and more. Their expressive musical lines are perhaps slightly less over-the-top than some cornett and sackbut ensembles, and to my mind, this approach is more enjoyable. The fast-fingers, strong chops, flexible playing aspect of technique is at the top of the game. The performance is flawless. Fiona Russell, perhaps the finest cornett player of her generation, plays a John McCann treble cornett and a cornettino by Serge Delmas. Adam Woolf plays a tenor trombone by Ewald Meinl modeled after an original by Drewelwecz. For a glimpse into the sound-world of 17th-century North German instrumental music one couldn’t do better than this excellent recording.
--- Jeffrey Nussbaum