Wenn ich nur Dich hab

Wenn ich nur Dich hab
Ensemble La Silla, Richard Resch, Gianluca Geremia
Carpe Diem CD16330

This collection of early baroque North German sacred music uncovers several treasures, including premiere recordings of works by Gottfreid Phillip Flor and Johann Friedrich Meister. It is also the debut solo album from tenor Richard Resch and Ensemble La Silla.

And what a debut! Inter Brachia Salvatoris mei --likely by Christian Flor--is incredibly vivid as adventurous harmonies percolate through mournful, gentle strings. Resch sings with a balance of tenderness and authority, keeping text to the fore. He is rich in his lower register and his tone remains effortless as the impassioned phrases climb higher and all the while he is accompanied by the warm embrace of a superb string ensemble. Following this, I feel that Johann Friedrich Meister's substantial cantata Ach Herr, strafe mich nicht offers more opportunity than Resch takes for dramatic characterisation, especially in the opening section. His tone is engaging but unremittingly beautiful throughout, even on the quirkily repeated final word plötzlich.

I found the second cantata: Redet untereinander by Gottfreid Phillip Flor wonderous in all aspects. It’s a busy text and spiced with opportunities for imaginative word-setting which the composer clearly relished and offset with ecstatic string-playing from the start. Surely this was a catalyst for a young Handel who seems to have borrowed the instrumental opening of the final chorale Jesu lass mich frölich enden for Rinaldo’s duet Scherzano sul tuo volto? Yet it is Resch’s long flowing phrases in Franz Tunder’s An Wasserflüssen Babylon could well be the high point of this whole album, even if it does end rather too abruptly for my tastes. But then Buxtehude’s mesmeric ostinato bass in the psalm Herr, wenn Ich nur Dich hab is a good contender for the same accolade where great blushes of passion from the violin parts intertwine skilfully with the voice. This album is a very welcome addition to the catalogue.

For the full text of the article please see Gramophone magazine (February 2023)


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