"Cantatas for New Year"is a historic live recording of first modern performances of four late cantatas by Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), the most famous (in his day) German composer of the Baroque era.
The Washington Kantorei, an ensemble in the Washington DC area, was formed by Dr. Dale Voelker and Dr. Robert Petillo in 1993, and is dedicated to bringing unusual choral music for chamber chorus to performance. A particular specialty of the group is the creation of first performing editions from manuscript of Baroque-era works, followed by first modern performances of these works, often with period instrument orchestra.
The performing editions used by The Washington Kantorei for this recording were created by Dale Voelker, from Telemann manuscripts in German and Belgian libraries. The period orchestra is led by concertmistress Risa Browder and her husband, cellist John Moran.
Telemann composed more than 1,700 sacred cantatas, of which fewer than 150 are in print. His late canatas are of particular interest, because they bridge the gap between the late Baroque style of Bach and Handel and the early classical style of Haydn, C.P.E. Bach, and Mozart. In the 1720s Telemann wrote more than 70 cantatas each year. Though he explored other genres more in the next two decades, he would return to writing cantatas in 1750 at the age of 69, producing complete Lutheran cycles of 72 until his death at the age of 81 in 1767.
January 1st in the ecclesiastical calendar is a double feast of both the Circumcision of Christ and the Holy Name of Jesus. It was also an important civic holiday in 18th century Lutheran Germany, as each town or province would hold church services to give thanks for the year past, and install newly elected officials, with prayers for blessing in the coming year.
The authors of these poetic texts are unknown, but the style resembles that of Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, the most celebrated German poet of the mid 18th century. These recordings were made at concerts given in February 2005 and June 2006 in the new sanctuary of The Falls Church in Falls Church, Virginia.