A fascinating and enjoyable program (Buxtehude CD)

03.01.11, Culture Catch

Scandinavian Cantatas, Dacapo Records

Baroque composer Dietrich Buxtehude (c.1637–1707) was probably born in a Danish town that’s now in Sweden. The son of an organist, he became one as well, and is best known as a composer for that instrument, but like many church musicians he also wrote choral music. This disc has two organ works (played by Bryndorf) for variety, but focuses on his choral writing, with six texts in Latin (including his only “stile antico” work, the uncertainly attributed Missa alla brevis—one of only two recordings currently in print) and two in Swedish—the only two that have survived. Most of the choral works are short and in a concerto-esque style that alternates instrumental passages with vocal sections. None but the most devoted Baroque-philes will have heard much, if any, of this material; kudos to Hillier for putting together this fascinating and enjoyable program.

Steve Holtje