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Agricola/ Kolner Akademie/ Willens - Easter Cantatas

Agricola/ Kolner Akademie/ Willens - Easter Cantatas

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On this new production the Kölner Akademie has recorded two oratorios composed by members of the generation after Bach and explicitly focusing on the theme of the Resurrection. Johann Friedrich Agricola composed Die Auferstehung des Erlösers for performance in St. Peter's Church in Berlin on the First Day of Easter in 1758, and Gottfried August Homilius wrote the Oratorium auf Ostern in 1767, when it was probably performed in the Church of Our Lady in Dresden. Agricola's Easter cantata Der Gottmensch jauchzt is included with the two oratorios. Regarded during his lifetime as "certainly now absolutely the best church composer," Homilius wrote an extensive cantata consisting of ten individual movements in the form of his oratorio for Easter. His music already displays elements of Early Classicism and the empfindsamer Stil, his cantata choruses are frequently of homophonic design and song character, and the polyphonic sections are rather rare. While the oratorio by Homilius continues to contain the historical component of the Easter event, Die Auferstehung des Erlösers by Agricola, with it's subtitle Ein musikalisches Gedicht, is much more freely designed. The three accompagnato recitatives are of special musico-dramatic significance; in them the author of the text embellishes the earthquake accompanying the resurrection of Jesus and the mysterious event on the whole with rich verbal and pictorial formulations. The works presented here attest to the mastery of their composers. Arias of marvelous musical beauty, the naturalness of their expression, and the dramatic suspense in the individual movements continue to make for compelling listening even today.
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