GOOD CHOICE OF SOLOISTS BY HERMAN MAX RAISES THE ENJOYMENT LEVEL OF THIS MUSIC TO A LARGE EXTENT!
Georg Philipp Telemann's (1681-1767) oratorio "Der Tag Des Gerichts" (The day of Judgment) is one of Telemann's later works and definitely has a Handelian flavor. It is less ornate and daring than his "Capriccio" recorded by the same forces, but in this work the choruses are grander and contains more expressive writing for trumpets, chorus and timpani. It is divided into four sections (labeled 'reflections' by Telemann), in which the soloists take on character roles such as 'unbelief', 'reason', 'religion' and 'devotion'. Jesus appears in Reflecton Four. This work ends in a blaze of musical glory as 'The Right Hand of god is Raised'. This is certainly a highly dramatic work and to my thinking seems ominous and prophetic in nature.
The soloists acquit themselves well, both vocally and dramatically. Ann Monoyios never disappoints with her lovely 'clear as a bell' soprano whose lone aria 'I am awakened in Wisdom'(Reflection Four) is magnificently rendered. Wilfred Jochens is outstanding in his opening tenor aria (only one) 'Now I Know' is resonant and intense and provides a great listen. David Cordier, countertenor, displays his even, strong and pleasing tone quality in his only complete aria in the First Reflection 'The Storm's Thunderous Voices Resound'. Stephen Schreckenberger, bass, although skilled, seemed to be 'edgy' and 'rough' in his aria in the First Reflection, but his final aria in the Third Reflection 'Away Out of my Sight' was delivered smoothly and subsequently was perhaps the best of his five arias. However, the soloists were also featured in numerous ariosos and recitatives. There was also considerable ensemble singing and combos of the solo singers.
Max's direction of this work was precise and vigorous, and the twenty-four piece chamber period orchestra plus the small choir of sixteen singers with continuo were ideally balanced; a pleasant exception to some of the recorded music of this period. The singing is in German; the accompanying informantion includes the text in German and English.