[ Harmonia Mundi Gold / CD ]
Release Date: Thursday 20 May 2010
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Caspar Kittel (1603-1639) was a German musician who trained in Italy and returned to work at the Dresden Court, deputizing for his colleague Heinrich Schütz when the latter spent a period in Denmark.
His sole publication, the 1638 collection of arias and cantatas, apparently was conceived as exercises for the choirboys whose musical education he superintended. There is nothing scholastic about the selection heard here, however, and the pieces are sung by a group of skilled adult singers. Countertenor-turned-conductor René Jacobs directs them and the small accompanying instrumental group with flair, ensuring that these delightful pastoral settings come over to the best possible effect. Most of the texts are by the German poet Martin Opitz, their mood ranging from the amorous to the spiritual. In terms of style, they're not so far from contemporary works by Monteverdi or Schütz, and anyone seeking something vocal and unusual from the Baroque period would find them rewarding. --George Hall