Christoph Graupner (1683-1760), a German contemporary of J.S. Bach, was renowned in his day but utterly obscure now. But this Darmstadt court composer was immensely prolific: if you are impressed by Bach’s catalogue of about 200 surviving church cantatas, take a look at Graupner’s output of some 2,000 works in virtually every form. A significant part of his orchestral output consists of concertos and suites with diverse, sometimes very curious instruments in the solo ensembles. In this recording the Finnish Baroque Orchestra plays his suites for the flûte d’amour, a flute pitched a third lower than the normal transverse flute, and the viola d’amore, an instrument roughly the same size and shape as a viola but with resonating free strings. (WQXR)
Finnish Baroque Orchestra’s second release of Christoph Graupner’s (1683–1760) music continues to reveal delightful masterpieces by the Baroquemaster, who November 2014 during his lifetime was even more well known than his colleague Johann Sebastian Bach. After the acclaimed release of Graupner’s orchestral works (ODE12202; The Finnish broadcasting company YLE Record of the Year 2013), this new album focuses on some of the chamber works by Graupner – the Trio Sonatas. Graupner was extremely productive as a composer, with a catalogue of over 2’000 works varying from orchestral works to cantatas, concertos and chamber music. He also possessed a unique personal style of writing music and often favoured certain rarer instruments in his works. Among these are the viola d’amore as well as the chalumeau, both instruments being heard also on this disc. From his contemporaries Graupner’s music stands out with its exceptional command of melody and harmony.
Compared with his more than 1,400 cantatas, operas, and other vocal works, his instrumental works account for only a small portion of his oeuvre, but they demonstrate that, like Telemann, Graupner was a late baroque composer who always lived in quest of new expressive possibilities. The concertos presented here, composed in 1736-37 and 1742, were used either as table music pieces or for concert events.