Philippe Jaroussky and Belgian-born soprano, Céline Scheen join often-quirky early music band, L’Arpeggiata in a beautifully sombre selection of music by composers from north of the Alps who composed in the Italian early baroque style. Culminating in Jaroussky’s plangent account of Bach’s Komm, süsser Tod, the recital also contains works by Schütz and Bach’s forebear, JC Bach. Works by lesser known figures predominate, as do laments and lullabies.

The well-chosen program is full of interest, often exploiting the expressive possibilities of ground bass, as in an anonymous instrumental Chiaccona (in which cornetto player, Doron David Sherwin shines) or Erlebach’s Kommt, ihr Stunden, intensely delivered by Jaroussky. Scheen is no less a musical communicator, bringing appropriate sensuality to Ritter’s setting from the Song of Songs, O amantissime sponse or heartfelt contrition to Schütz’s Ebarm dich mein, o Herre Gott. Both singers blend superbly in Ahle’s Bleib bei uns, as well as in works by Theile and Schütz.

L’Arpeggiata, led by Christina Pluhar on theorbo, accompanies with empathy and discretion, providing plenty of detail and instrumental colour, well captured by Erato’s engineering. Those opting for the traditional disc will be rewarded by a handsome hardcover package containing texts, translations, notes and plenty of photos. These excellent, quietly persuasive performances will be heavenly for many.

Composer: Bach, Schütz, Theile, Bütner et al 
Composition: Vocal works
Performer: L’Arpeggiata/Christina Pluhar, Philippe Jaroussky ct, Céline Scheen s
Catalogue Number: Erato 0190295634001

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