Johann Schelle: Christmas Cantatasj

review schelle x1 cong

This programme of Classic FM-style sacred music is ideal for people who want some reverential music during the festive period, but don’t want massed choirs yelling “Gloria!” at the top of their lungs while they’re peeling the spuds (the people, not the choirs).

Schelle (1648-1701) was the music director at the Church of St Thomas in Leipzig. More than 180 of his compositions are documented, but only 48 exist. He combined biblical texts and free sacred and was known for his settings of chorale cantatas.

This CD presents a recording of Schelle’s known compositions for Advent and Christmas. The title track Actus Musicus auf Weyh-Nachten is a musical representation of the birth of Christ based on text from the Gospel of Luke (2:1-20) and some stanzas of Luther. It comes last on the CD but is about a third of the 73-minute programme.

For Christmas music it’s perhaps a little middle of the road, but then again Christmas is all about relaxation and reflection.

It’s out on CPO, 555155-2, and a very nice festival collection it is.

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