Kleine geistliche Concerte

German sacred works for voice and recorder.

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) was indisputably the leading German composer of his time and his sacred cantatas are a central component of his immense output. About 1400 of his cantatas survive and he is believed to have written at least 300 more in addition to numerous other sacred compositions. The majority of his cantatas were written in connection with his church postings first in Eisenach, and subsequently in Frankfurt and Hamburg where he produced at least 20 complete annual cycles. The demand for music was particularly demanding in Hamburg where Sunday services included two cantatas (one before and one after the sermon). The cantatas of the present programme are taken from the post-sermon cantatas from 1725-26. These works had a limited scoring of one voice, obbligato instrument, and continuo and were published by Telemann himself as the Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst. These cantatas were clearly popular and Telemann published a related publication for one voice and two instruments about five years later entitled Fortsetzung des Harmonischen Gottesdienstes. This same period saw the publication of the Neue Sonatinen which includes the Sonatina in c minor for recorder and continuo.
Telemann’s fame and repute in the 18th century draws many comparisons to the career of Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672), most notably that he was by far the most famous composer in Germany during his lifetime and highly regarded internationally. Though his extant compositions are almost exclusively sacred they consist of over 500 works that were mostly published during his lifetime. They range from the immense scorings of the Syphoniae Sacrae and oratorio-like Historiae to the very intimate solo songs with continuo. ‘O Süsser, o freundlicher’ and ‘O Jesu nomen dulce’ come from his two publications of Kleine geistliche Concerten published in 1636 and 1639.
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