Raphael Pichon, Ensemble Pygmalion – J.S. Bach: Kothener Trauermusik BWV 244a (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Raphaël Pichon Pichon, Ensemble Pygmalion – Bach: Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 73:58 minutes | 1,29 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet | Source: HDTracks

When Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen died in 1728, his former Kapellmeister had not forgotten the five brilliant years he had spent in the prince’s service. He dedicated to his memory a mourning cantata almost entirely based on the music of two major works of the mid-1720s, the Trauer-Ode and the St Matthew Passion. Although the score is lost, the wordbook and other sources of information have now made it possible to reconstruct the work. In his first recording for harmonia mundi, Raphaël Pichon invites us on an exciting musical treasure hunt.

Even today, study of the genesis of the major works of Bach can reveal numerous trails that are little explored by musicians themselves. While reading new material on the St Matthew Passion, after spending a great deal of time with Pygmalion on the sources of the B minor Mass, I became aware of the existence of what seemed to be a very ambitious piece of funeral music, the music for which is lost but nonetheless catalogued BWV 244a, in other words directly linked with the Passion in question. Although it is generally acknowledged today that only two of the four or five Passions composed by Bach are still extant, I was immediately fascinated to discover the existence of this Trauermusik, written in 1729 during a period that saw the birth of some of the Kantor’s greatest masterpieces, which was apparently his longest cantata, consisting of four parts.

A number of elements quickly make it clear that we are dealing here with a major event in Bach’s creative career. This is affect-laden music of mourning for a ‘beloved prince’, recalling an era of magnificent achievement for Bach, his years in the service of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen. It comes from a key creative period in his life marked by two masterpieces, the Trauerode BWV 198 and the St Matthew Passion; and it provided a unique opportunity for the composer to perform his ‘best music’ outside Leipzig, where he was confined at that time. Here is a pivotal work in the Kantor’s corpus, one whose potential duration gives it an unprecedented situation. The combination of circumstances at once stimulated me to throw myself wholeheartedly into this new hunt for buried treasure.

01 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: I. Klagt, Kinder, klagt es aller Welt (Chorus)
02 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: II. O Land! Bestürztes Land! (Recitativo)
03 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: III. Weh und Ach (Aria)
04 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: IV. Wie wenn der Blitze Grausamkeit (Recitativo)
05 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: V. Zage nur, du treues Land (Aria)
06 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: VI. Ah ja! Wenn Tränen oder Blut (Recitativo)
07 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: VII. Komm wieder, teurer Fürsten-Geist (Chorus)
08 – Köthener Trauermusik Bwv 244a: VIII. “Dictum” Wir Haben Einen Gott, Der Da Hilft (Chorus)
09 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: IX. Betrübter Anblick voll Erschrecken (Recitativo)
10 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: X. Erhalte mich (Aria)
11 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: XI. Jedoch der schwache Mensch erzittert nur (Recitativo)
12 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: XII. Mit Freuden sei die Welt verlassen (Aria)
13 – Köthener Trauermusik Bwv 244a: XIII. Wohl Also Dir (Recitativo)
14 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: XIV. “Repetatur Dictum” (Chorus Nr.8)
15 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: XV. Lass, Leopold, dich nicht begraben (Aria)
16 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: XVI. Wie könnt es möglich sein (Recitativo)
17 – Köthener Trauermusik Bwv 244a: XVII. Wird Auch Gleich Nach Tausend Zähren (Aria)
18 – Köthener Trauermusik Bwv 244a: XVIII. Und, Herr, Das Ist Die Spezerei (Recitativo)
19 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: XIX. Geh, Leopold, zu deiner Ruhe (Aria a 2 Cori)
20 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: XX. Bleibet nur in eurer Ruh (Aria)
21 – Köthener Trauermusik BWV 244a: XXI. Und du, betrübtes Fürstenhaus (Recitativo)
22 – Köthener Trauermusik Bwv 244a: Xxii. Hemme Dein Gequältes Kränken (Aria)
23 – Köthener Trauermusik Bwv 244a: Xxiii. Nun Scheiden Wir (Recitativo)
24 – Köthener Trauermusik Bwv 244a: Xxiv. Die Augen Sehn Nach Deiner Leiche (Chorus)

Producer and mixing engineer: Aline Blondiau.
Recorded in May 2014 at Chapelle royale, Versailles.
Recording and mastering engineer: Hugues Deschaux.

Sabine Devieilhe – soprano
Damien Guillon – alto
Thomas Hobbs – tenor
Christian Immler – bass
Ensemble Pygmalion – choir and orchestra, Conducted by Raphaël Pichon.