Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gottfried August Homilius: A Basic Discography

Gottfried August Homilius (1714-1785) was a gifted pupil of J.S. Bach, and long-time kappelmeister at the Kreuz- and Frauen- kirches in Dresden. As with so many of his contemporaries, including several of Bach's own sons, Homilius has fallen through the stylistic cracks of  history; born a bit too early to be considered a full-blown Classicist, nor a textbook example of the Gallant, yet too late to be comfortably included in the waning Baroque school. Thus, his music is often eclectic, reflecting many sometimes-conflicting influences, from Bach and Handel to Haydn and the early Mannheim school. Nonetheless, the music is always accessibly melodious, graceful and charming (if occasionally approaching quaintness). In the last few years, the German Carus label has released an impressive series of recordings, making the best possible case for this unjustly neglected master.

For the curious listener, a good place to begin may be Carus 83-268, Music for the Frauenkirche Dresden, Jubilaumsedition. This attractive two-disc "Jubilee edition" from 2014 includes festive cantatas as well as the complete Christmas Oratorio, the final chorus from the St. John Passion, a number of interesting chorale preludes realized for trumpet solo and organ, and a charming sonata for oboe and continuo. I might have wished for the inclusion of several of the superb motets for a cappella choir, and possibly an excerpt or two from the marvelous St. Mark Passion, but those are readily available on albums of their own (see below), and well worth seeking out in any case.

1.Carus 83-268 (2-disc set) (2014)
Homilius Music for the Frauenkirche Dresden, Jubilaumsedition
various artists
(contains previously released material from #s 3, 6, 8, 12)

Brilliant Classics 94458 (2-disc set) (2015)
Homilius: Complete Organ Chorales
Felix Marangoni

Carus 83-236 (2010)
Homilius: Erwachet ihr Christen
(Chorale Preludes, Cantatas, Oboe Sonata)
Ludwig Güttler/Saxony Vocal Ensemble et al.

Carus 83-210 (2004)
Homilius: Sehet, Welch eine Liebe: Motets
Friederich Bernius/Stuttgart Chamber Choir

Carus 83-266 (2013)
Homilius: Habe deine lust an dem Hern: Motets II
Stefan Schuck/Serventes Berlin

Carus 83-183 (2005)
Homilius: Cantatas I
Roderich Kreile/Dresden Kreutzchor/Dresden Baroque Orchestra

Carus 83-267 (2014)
Homilius: Warum toben die Heiden (Cantatas)
Reiner Johannes Homburg/Handel's Company

8. Carus 83-235 (2008)
Dresden Frauenkirche
Homilius: Christmas Oratorio: Die Freude der Hirten uber die Geburt Jesu
Jacobi: Der Himmel steht unds wieder offen (cantata)
Ludwig Güttler/Virtuosi Saxoniae

Carus 83-262 (2007)
Homilius: Passion Cantata
Fritz Näf/Neue Düseldorfer Hofmusik/Basel Madrigalists

Berlin Classics BC 1046-2 (1993)
Homilius: St. Matthew Passion
Christopher Schoener/Academy for Ancient Music, Berlin/Capella Vocale Leverkusen

Carus 83-260 (2013)
Homilius: St. Mark Passion
Fritz Näf/Basel Madrigalists/Munich Baroque Orchestra et al.

Carus 83-261 (2007)
Homilius: St. John Passion
Roderich Kreile/Dresden Kreutzchor/Dresden Baroque Orchestra

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