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13.8.15

Briefly Noted: Motets from the Hiller Collection

available at Amazon
Motetten der Hiller-Sammlung, Sächsisches Vocalensemble, M. Jung

(released on July 10, 2015)
Carus83.269 | 70'25"
German composer Johann Adam Hiller (1728–1804) was also a music theorist and editor of music publications. From 1776 to 1791 he supervised the publication of six volumes of four-part motets and arias for use in German-speaking churches. These collections included his own music, as well as that of composers he admired, including his teacher in Dresden, Gottfried August Homilius (1714–1785). This new disc gives a sampling of some of the pieces in those volumes, which have also been published by the company that released the recording, Carus Verlag. Other composers featured include Johann Gottlob Harrer (1703–1755), the short-lived successor of J.S. Bach in Leipzig; Theodor Christlieb Reinhold (1682–1755); Christoph Ludwig Fehre (1718–1772); Johann Heinrich Rolle (1716–1785); Johann Gottfried Weiske (1745–1806); Christian Friedrich Penzel (1737–1801), student and copyist of J.S. Bach in Leipzig; and Carl Heinrich Graun (1704–1759), the biggest name in a list of mostly minor Kapellmeisters.

Matthias Jung leads the Sächsisches Vocalensemble in even performances, in tune and generally balanced. The sound was captured in the Annenkirche in Dresden, where both Fehre and Reinhold were organists, with a lot of ring and long decay. These motets, none of which one is likely to call a masterpiece, could provide some much-needed diversification for the average Sunday offerings of many churches, Lutheran and otherwise. None are that far beyond the ability of an average church choir.

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