Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Sat, 13 Apr 2024 18:21:33 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Carl Heinrich Graun - Cleopatra e Cesare (1996) Carl Heinrich Graun - Cleopatra e Cesare (1996)

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Disc: 1
1. Ouverture
2. Coro
3. Recitativo
4. Aria
5. Recitativo
6. Aria
7. Recitativo
8. Aria
9. Recitativo
10. Aria
11. Recitativo
12. Aria					CD1 
13. Recitativo
14. Aria
15. Recitativo
16. Aria
17. Recitativo
18. Aria
19. Recitativo
20. Aria

Disc: 2
1. Recitativo
2. Sinfonia
3. Recitativo
4. Sinfonia
5. Recitativo
6. Aria						CD1 
7. Recitativo
8. Recitativo
9. Aria
10. Recitativo
11. Aria
12. Recitativo
13. Aria
14. Recitativo
15. Aria
16. Recitativo
17. Aria
18. Recitativo
19. Recitativo
20. Recitativo
21. Aria

Disc: 3
1. Recitativo
2. Aria
3. Recitativo
4. Aria
5. Recitativo
6. Aria
7. Recitativo
8. Aria
9. Recitativo
10. Aria
11. Recititivo
12. Aria					CD1 
13. Recitativo
14. Duetto
15. Recitativo
16. Chorus

Cleopatra – Janet Williams - soprano
Cesare – Iris Vermillion - mezzo-soprano
Cornelia – Lynne Dawson - soprano
Tolomeo – Robert Gambill - tenor
Arsace – Ralf Popken - contratenor
Lentulo – Jeffrey Francis - tenor
Achilla – Klaus Häger - barítono
Cneo – Elisabeth Scholl - soprano
Sesto – Maria-Cristina Kiehr - soprano

Concerto Köln
René Jacobs – conductor


The story is the same as that of Handel's opera of the same name. The selection of voices and voice timbres and range is superb. Janet Williams as Cleopatra is stunning, as is Robert Gambill as Tolomeo and Jeffrey Francis as Lentulo. Lynne Dawson sings beautifully though lacking a bit of dramatic clout. Iris Vermillion whose voice is a little rough compensates and gives a spectular performance with her dramatic authority in the role of Cesare. The orchestral playing and conducting are splendid especially the harpsichord playing which is spectacular. This is one of the all time best opera recordings and will become one of your favorites if you love baroque opera. --- Marcolorenzo (Italy),


Carl Heinrich Graun (7 May 1704, Uebigau-Wahrenbrück – 8 August 1759, Berlin) was a German composer and tenor singer. Along with Johann Adolf Hasse, he is considered to be the most important German composer of Italian opera of his time. Graun was born in Wahrenbrück in Brandenburg. He sang in the chorus of the Dresden opera before moving to Braunschweig, singing there and writing six operas for the company. In 1735 Graun moved to Rheinsberg, after he had written an opera for the crown prince, when marrying Elisabeth Christine in Salzdahlum. He was kapellmeister to Frederick II of Prussia (Frederick the Great) from his ascension to the throne in 1740 until Graun's death nineteen years later in Berlin.

Graun wrote a number of operas. His opera Cesare e Cleopatra inaugurated the opening of the Berlin opera house in 1742. Others, such as Montezuma (1755), with a libretto by King Frederick. None of his pieces are often performed today, though his passion Der Tod Jesu (The Death of Jesus, 1755) was frequently given in Germany for many years after his death. His other works include concertos and trio sonatas.

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]]> (bluesever) Graun Carl Heinrich Sun, 13 Nov 2011 19:41:25 +0000
Carl Heinrich Graun ‎– Te Deum • Motets (2006) Carl Heinrich Graun ‎– Te Deum • Motets (2006)

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Te Deum for Soloists, Chorus & Orchestra

1. Te Deum laudamus (Chorus, Soli S/A/T)
2. Te gloriosus (Chorus, Soli S/A/T/B)
3. Te per orbem (Tenor solo)
4. Tu Rex gloriae (Chorus S/A/T/B)
5. Tu, ad liberandum (Soprano solo)
6. Tu ad dexteram Dei (Chorus S/A/T/B)
7. Te ergo quaesumus (Mezzo-Soprano solo, Tenor solo)
8. Salvum fac (Bass solo)
9. Et rege eos (Chorus, Soli S/A/T/B)
10. Dignare, Domine (Soprano solo)
11. In te, Domine, spreravi (Chorus S/A/T/B)

Three Motets  For Chorus & Basso Continuo 

12. Herr, ich habe lieb die Statte deines Hauses
13. Lasset uns freuen und fröhlich sein
14. Machet die Tore weit

Monika Mauch - Soprano
Elisabeth von Magnus - Mezzosoprane
Bernhard Gärtner - Tenor
Klaus Mertens - Bass

Basler Madrigalisten - choir
L'Arpa Festante - orchestra
Fritz Näf - conductor


When one considers the differences between the Te Deum for soloists, chorus, and orchestra of Carl Heinrich Graun, composed in 1757, and the three motets that round out this album, from between 1721 and 1725, one appreciates the achievements of J.S. Bach all the more -- and not just because Bach was the greater composer. In fact, Bach held Graun's music in high esteem. The striking thing is how much musical style changed in those 35 years. Graun's music, at least as exemplified by these works, changed with it, whereas "old Bach" took the more conservative but in a way more radical step of working the old style out to its theoretical limits. In the Te Deum, orderly Baroque processions of chords are plainly a thing of the past. A continuo would be superfluous, and the Munich-based Baroque orchestra L'arpa festante does not use one. The sunny mood, uncomplicated diatonic harmonies, playful spirit, and expansive tunes all sound as though they could have come out of music by Haydn or the young Mozart two decades later. Graun alternates choruses, containing very attractive passages in which a quartet of soloists trade phrases and join together into charming ensembles, with deliberate, operatic arias. There are a couple of big fugues, and these are already triumphal and essentially ornamental, rather than reverential as they were in Bach. The three motets for chorus and continuo, on the other hand, though they lack the density of Bach's motets, draw their energy from contrapuntal constructions. When these break into fugues, the device seems an integral part of the language. They are lovely devotional pieces, especially Herr, ich habe lieb die Stätte deines Hauses (Lord, I love the spaces of your house, track 12), and they're worth the purchase price of this disc. The singers of the Basler Madrigalisten bring a splendid combination of warmth and textural clarity to the motet texts, and their musicianship throughout is of a high level. L'arpa festante, under conductor Fritz Näf, has a smooth, polished style a bit reminiscent of that of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra of yore; it seems a bit restrained for a work written with the intent of celebration (of the Prussian military victory over Austria in 1757), especially in view of the fact that Graun omits the trumpets and drums often associated with the Te Deum text. There is a pair of horns, but here they don't leap to the fore like they should. Counterbalancing this is marvelously deep sound from CPO; for the listener, the illusion of being present in Basel's St. Martin's Church is very strong. Recommended for listeners interested in the early development of the Classical style. ---James Manheim, AllMusic Review

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]]> (bluesever) Graun Carl Heinrich Thu, 10 Jan 2019 15:57:38 +0000
Carl Heinrich Graun – Christmas Oratorio (Hermann Max) [1999] Carl Heinrich Graun – Christmas Oratorio (Hermann Max) [1999]

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1. Chor: Mache Dich Auf, Werde Licht
2. Arie: Erscheine Doch Und Komm, Erbarmungsvolle Liebe
3. Accompagnato: So Mache Dich Denn Auf
4. Choral: Gott Sei Dank Durch Alle Welt
5. Chor: Uns Ist Ein Kind Geboren
6. Rezitativ: Geh, Taumelnde Vernunft
7. Arie: Abgrund Krache, Tod Erzittre
8. Rezitativ: O Wunderbares Kind
9. Arie: Die Sterblichkeit Gebiert Das Leben
10. Accompagnato: So Komm; O Sohn Der Ewigkeit
11. Arie: Erfülle Mich, Du Holdes Wesen
12. Choral: Wie Soll Ich Dich Empfangen
13. Rezitativ: Und Maria Gebar Ihren Ersten Sohn
14. Arie: Zeit Und Stunde Sind Erfüllt
15. Chor: Euch Ist Heute Der Heiland Geboren
16. Rezitativ: Mein Geist, Getrost, Sei Ohne Sorgen
17. Choral: Ein Kindelein So Löbelich
18. Rezitativ: Und Die Hirten Kamen Eilend
19. Arie: Ew'ger Sohn, Erhaltner Segen
20. Rezitativ: Wohlan, Es Soll Mir Abrahams Gesetzter Glaube
21. Duett: Herr, In Frieden Will Ich Sterben
22. Choral: Lob, Preis Und Dank, Herr Jesu Christ
23. Chor: Eilt, Ihr Seelen, Folgt Den Weisen

Ingrid Schmithüsen - soprano
Lena Susanne Norin - alto
Markus Schäfer - tenor
Klaus Mertens - baritone
Rheinische Kantorei
Das Kleine Konzert
Hermann Max – conductor


Alas, too late for the Christmas season, but affording a Lenten palliative, come three 18th-century Christmas Oratorios. Two of them, by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel and Carl Heinrich Graun, belong to the late Baroque while the third, by Joseph Eybler, dates from the last decade of the century. Stölzel was court music director at Gotha for almost 30 years and this recording commemorates the 250th anniversary of his death in 1749. Bach thought well of him, and included his beautiful aria ‘Bist du bei mir’ in the Clavierbüchlein for his wife Anna Magdalena. Stölzel’s Oratorio (1736) consists of three cantatas for the first three days of Christmas. The music is skilfully worked and often engaging though, in the end, unmemorable. A mainly strong solo line-up and a variably secure instrumental ensemble are affectionately directed by Ludger Rémy. Though dating from approximately the same time as Stölzel’s work, Graun’s captivating Oratorio embraces the up-to-date ‘galant’ idiom, with a profusion of engaging melodies, simpler accompaniments and an airier treatment of the chorale. Its expressive terms of reference call to mind Telemann’s later oratorios, many of which were written well after Graun’s innovative piece. The performance under the direction of Hermann Max is on a higher level than the Stölzel and should afford readers unqualified pleasure. Eybler was a contemporary of Beethoven. He wrote this, his first oratorio, in 1794 for the Musicians Retirement Institute in Vienna. The stylistic terms of reference are varied and far-flung but, though often suggesting in turn Gluck, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, Eybler nevertheless speaks with his own distinctive inflections. A new and pleasing encounter, performed with rough-edged vigour and eager bravura. ---Nicholas Anderson,

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]]> (bluesever) Graun Carl Heinrich Wed, 10 Dec 2014 15:45:20 +0000
Carl Heinrich Graun – Montezuma (Garrido) [2010] Carl Heinrich Graun – Montezuma (Garrido) [2010]

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1. Act I
2. Act II
3. Act III

Montezuma - Flavio Oliver
Eupafórice - Lourdes Ambriz 
Tezeuco - Rogelio Marín
Pilpatoé - Lucía Salas
Erissena - Lina López
Hernán Cortés - Adrián Popescu 
Pánfilo de Narváez - Christophe Carré
Coro de ciertos habitantes
Concerto Elyma
Gabriel Garrido – conductor

Madrid, Teatros del Canal. 18.09.2010


The opera season at the Teatro Real opened with a visiting company’s Yevgeny Onegin and continues that way Montezuma. If the opening result was not particularly exciting, sadly the season continues by moving from A remarkable failure to something absolutely dismal.

Carl Heinrich Graun was a German 18th century composer who wrote no less than 36 operas, none of which have been performed in recent years. Montezuma is one of the late operas he wrote as Kapellmeister at the Prussian Court of Frederick II or Frederick the Great, an enlightened (or what counted as “enlightened” at the time) monarch who wrote the libretto of this opera, presented as the clash between the goodness of "savage" and the barbarity of "civilized". Voltaire’s influence is obvious.

The musical quality of this work is not truly outstanding, despite some interesting moments, but in the end it is too monotonous, especially in the second of its three acts. It isn’t, in any case, the musical interest that has led to its revival, but rather the interests of Mexico to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the independence of the Latin American republics. Obviously, this opera offers a too simplistic view of the conquest of Mexico, courtesy of Enlightenment-naïveté, and it comes as a complement for music to what they represent in painting the famous murals by Diego Rivera at the Palace of Government of the Mexican capital.

Whatever gave Gerard Mortier the idea to bring this opera to Madrid? It is just a cheap performance, a very cheap one, and its result has probably been positive only in financial terms.

This same production visited the Edinburgh Festival last month and the reviews were not too good. Here you can read what Simon Thompson wrote for Seen and Heard. I would only add that the stage work is more a kind of semi-staged version and that would correspond perfectly to the concept of “low budget”, if we were referring to some airlines.

The musical direction was entrusted to Argentinian conductor Gabriel Garrido. In a rather strange decision he added as a final page “Albricias Mortales” by the baroque Mexican composer Manuel de Sumaya. His reading had a certain intensity, although a long way from what other of his colleagues today offer in this baroque music.

Of course neither the score nor singers helped him and it is more than difficult to succeed in baroque operas with very poor singers. Who chose them is another part of the problematic result.

The cast was exactly the same offered in the Edinburgh Festival last month. Many among the singers were Mexican and of truly poor quality. Here the "low budget" concept strikes again.

The best known cast member was countertenor Flavio Oliver, who played the role of Emperor Montezuma. He was also the best singer on stage, which given the average quality isn’t saying much. For one, his high register is none too attractive, which can hamper a countertenor.

Mexican soprano Lourdes Ambriz was Eupaforice, Montezuma’s fiancée, showing a voice of rather poor quality with no agility.

There were two more countertenors, Romanian Adrian-George Popescu as Hernán Cortés and French Christophe Carré as Narváez. Both were under par. The rest of the cast, Mexican, also left much to be desired. ---José M Irurzun,

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]]> (bluesever) Graun Carl Heinrich Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:39:54 +0000
Graun – Easter Oratorio (Willеns) [2013] Graun – Easter Oratorio (Willеns) [2013]

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1	Part I: Siehe, es hat uberwunden der Lowe (Chorus)	4:30 	
2 	Part I: Accompagnato: O susser Ostertrost (Alto)	1:16 	
3 	Part I: Jesum suchen und nicht finden (Alto)	6:57 	
4 	Part I: Recitative: Doch, wie der Heiland des Verlorne suchte (Tenor)	0:35 	
5 	Part I: Zerstreute Schafe, sammelt euch (Tenor)		4:14
6	Part I: Recitative: Lebt Jesus, was ist man betrubt (Bass)		0:57 	
7 	Part I: Seele, freue dich mit Zittern (Bass)	5:25 	
8 	Part I: Erstanden ist der heil'ge Christ (Chorus)		1:01 	
9 	Part II: Selig sind, die nicht sehen und doch glauben (Chorus)	3:08 	
10 	Part II: Recitative: Ich sehe dich zwar nicht, mein Jesu, so (Alto)		0:54 	
11 	Part II: Mein herz singt dir jetzt Freudenlieder (Alto)	5:33 	
12 	Part II: Recitative: Zwar wollen alle meine Seelenfeinde (Bass)	0:57 	
13 	Part II: Trotzet, ihre Feinde, vereinigt zusammen (Bass)		4:55 	
14 	Part II: Tod, Sund, Teufel, Leben und Gnad (Chorus)	0:37 	
15 	Part II: Jesus ist erstanden (Chorus)	0:44 	
16 	Part II: Sagt's den Jungern, saget's allen (Tenor)		3:42 	
17 	Part II: Accompagnato: O grossr Holl- und Todesuberwinder (Bass)	0:51 	
18 	Part II: Die Menschen haben beigetragen (Bass)		3:56 	
19 	Part II: Accompagnato: Wir wollen aber jetzt zum leeren Grabe gehen (Soprano)	1:13 
20 	Part II: O seliger Wandel, wo Jesus mitwandelt (Soprano)	4:51 	
21 	Part II: Trost' auch andere fromme Seelen (Chorus)	0:52 	
22 	Part III: Der Herr ist wahrhaftig auferstanden (Chorus)		1:38 	
23 	Part III: Accompagnato: Zuletzt, o Jesu lass deiner Auferstehung Wahrheit (Tenor)	1:18 
24 	Part III: Ach, mein Jesu! ach bleib bei uns (Soprano, Tenor)	3:00 	
25 	Part III: Recitative: Indessen wollen wir dein Siegesfest (Tenor)		0:19 	
26 	Part III: Schlusschoral: Nun singet all' zu dieser Frist (Choral)	0:33

Nina Koufochristou - soprano
Dagmar Saskova - contralto
Jan Kobow - tenor
Andreas Wolf - bass
Kölner Akademie
Michael Alexander Willens – conductor


Carl Heinrich Graun (1703-57) is best known for a number of operas written late in his career when he was court composer to Frederick the Great of Prussia. His Easter Oratorio, however, dates from his time (1725-33) as assistant kapellmeister in Brunswick, beyond this, we know little about its genesis. Like Bach's Christmas Oratorio, it's a sequence of cantatas intended for liturgical use over successive days. The celebratory attractiveness of much of the music is offset by an antisemitic passage in the text of the third cantata, which renders it suspect. Arduous vocal writing, both solo and choral, suggests that Graun had impressive singers at his disposal. The challenges are variably met here: tenor Jan Kobow is at his limits in places, though there's a particularly fine contribution from bass-baritone Andreas Wolf. The choral singing is notably beautiful. --- Tim Ashley,


Carl Heinrich Graun lived from 1703 to 1759 and worked in the Prussian court at Berlin. After his death he was chiefly remembered for his Passion Cantata, Der Tod Jesu, GraunWV B:VII:5 (Hyperion CDA67466). The reception of that work, fine though it is, has overshadowed the composer's other choral and instrumental output.

Now here's a splendid performance (the only one in the current catalog) on cpo from the Kölner Akademie and four excellent soloists under Michael Alexander Willens of Graun's Osteroratorium (Easter Oratorio)… GraunWV Bv:IX:21, 20, 16, 10 which could well revive interest in a late Baroque composer who wrote in a distinctive and eminently "solid" idiom. Not that it wasn't also imaginative and full of invention in its own right. It was – and this performance makes the most of its individuality and strengths.

This Easter Oratorio is just over an hour in length. It's divided into four parts, which were intended for performance on the three successive days of Easter, then the Sunday following. Each is a cantata in its own right. In some ways their concatenation (as here) into this unified work is speculative. But it makes perfect musical sense. And has been conceived and successfully performed as a unity by Willens: after all to consider the biblical narrative is to see such a progression.

The first and third cantatas contain three arias, the second two and the much shorter (at under seven minutes only) fourth just one. An ensemble chorus opens and closes each cantata too. There are otherwise recitatives and accompagnati to give each cantata depth. In their different ways each is full of character and color. With a work from a corner of the repertoire that could perhaps be considered "minor", certainly not mainstream, a perfunctory flattening of the character of these components was a very real danger. Not in Willens' conception; nor in the execution of his forces here. There is a pep and energy which one might not expect from a composer for whom comparisons with Bach (and Handel) are always likely. Indeed "Jesus ist erstanden" [tr.15] could have been treated as a lesser "Jesu, meine Freude". But it wasn't. Willens allows it to express the joy of the Resurrection without needing props or re-enforcement of any kind.

The soloists (especially Kobow's tenor and Saskova's contralto) are clearly at home in the work and its sonorous world. Their articulation is clear and clean without ever being fussy. Their delivery is "forward" without straying into ostentation. The Kölner Akademie (two dozen instrumentalists and four other singers) is of relatively recent formation; there appears to be only on other CD by them currently on the books. Although they perform works from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries, they employ period instruments when the work calls for it. In this case, it has to be said, they make a splendid sound. There is a fortunate blend between focus (phrases sung and performed with precision and awareness of the Oratorio's overall liturgical purpose – "Mein Herz singt" [tr.11] is a good example), on the one hand: the pace is discernible and never lingers. And a delight and gusto, where the music comes alive on more than one level, on the other. Two results are that the listener is left with a clear memory of the music; and (hence) a desire to listen again… nothing is mundane or indistinct.

The acoustic (that of the Deutschlandfunk Chamber Music Hall) does everything to aid and project the soloists and ensembles. The recording, in fact, is to the customarily high standards of cpo. The same goes (by and large: it could have been more carefully proofed… words with "fi" have spurious splits) for the accompanying booklet, which contains background, biographies of the performers and full (track) listing and text in German and English. As said, Graun's style and compositional world are very much of their time. Yet the context of a work like this is universal; the Passion story is timeless. If it's a period or repertoire that attracts you, you are unlikely to be disappointed with this recording of the Osteroratorium as representative of the best of Graun's place in and contribution to it. If Graun is a composer with whom you are as yet unfamiliar, this is a good place to start. --- Mark Sealey,

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]]> (bluesever) Graun Carl Heinrich Sun, 27 Mar 2016 16:04:10 +0000