Bux­te­hude per­formed in the spirit of bon­homie

Lionel Me­u­nier’s Vox Lu­mi­nis forms a win­ning part­ner­ship with En­sem­ble Masques, says Paul Ri­ley

BBC Music Magazine - - Choral & Song -

Me­u­nier finds a deeply hu­man di­men­sion to Bux­te­hude’s work


Abend­musiken: Can­tatas BUXWV 10, 34, 41, 60 & 62; Sonatas BUXWV 255 & 261

Vox Lu­mi­nis; En­sem­ble Masques/lionel Me­u­nier Al­pha Clas­sics AL­PHA 287 85:17 mins

Vox Lu­mi­nis’s BBC Mu­sic Mag­a­zine Award-win­ning disc com­mem­o­rat­ing the quin­cen­te­nary of the Lutheran Re­for­ma­tion con­tained one eye­browrais­ing la­cuna: there was noth­ing by Bux­te­hude. Per­haps the mys­tery is ex­plained by this al­lur­ing post­script de­voted ex­clu­sively to the mu­sic of an or­gan­ist JS Bach ar­guably ad­mired above all oth­ers. He es­teemed him as a com­poser too, and must have de­voured the Ad­vent Abend­musiken con­certs that made the Marienkirc­he the toast of mu­si­cal Lübeck.

Lionel Me­u­nier’s crack con­sort teams up with the equally es­timable En­sem­ble Masques to ex­plore some of the mu­sic that might have been per­formed dur­ing those De­cem­ber di­ver­tisse­ments. And they mix can­tatas and trio sonatas with a ju­di­cious flair that, for in­stance, con­trasts the gen­tle balm of Jesu, meine Freude, with an exquisitel­y char­ac­terised ac­count of the perky B flat Trio Sonata from Op. 1, or bal­ances Can­tata BUXWV 41 (whose con­sol­ing fi­nal sec­tion is per­fectly shaped so that its el­e­ments co­a­lesce delectably), with a dark-hued sonata for gamba and vi­o­lone.

The wa­ters that shim­mer and lap around the open­ing Sonata of Gott hilf mir, and the gen­tle pal­pi­ta­tions that launch the en­su­ing aria are so nat­u­rally, ease­fully achieved, that ri­val ver­sions – such as those by Ton Koop­man and Roland Wil­son – sound al­most pro­saic by com­par­i­son. Noth­ing is over-stated or un­der-nur­tured; and Me­u­nier al­ways finds a deeply hu­man di­men­sion to Bux­te­hude’s piety that taps into the bürg­er­lich bon­homie of the sonatas. Rich, lively and truth­ful, the recorded sound con­sum­mates a se­duc­tively con­sid­ered disc that pretty much never puts a foot wrong. Hanseatic heaven!


A heav­enly team: Vox Lu­mi­nis does Bux­te­hude proud

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