Gottfried August Homilius: St. Mark Passion / Mauch, Sandhoff, Mammel, Laske. L'arpa festante Apr24

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Album at a Glance

Tonal and Consonant iconChoir choral iconVocal Soloist iconPeriod Instruments Icon
Carus Record Label - Carus-Verlag: Mission: “To publish both little known choral works from all eras in critical editions and reliable editions of older works which do not conform to the standards of modern editorial practice... continually expanding the repertoire available to choirs.”
Release date: 2013-02-26


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Gottfried August Homilius: St. Mark Passion / Fritz Näf


It's striking how much this Passion by Homilius sounds like the passions and oratorios of J.S. Bach at times, especially in the choruses, but also in the recitatives. This new recording of the St. Mark Passion HoWV I.10 by Gottfried August Homilius (1714-1785) is an important release that should not slip by any collector unnoticed; it has been released by Carus and is the world premiere recording. Regarding the performance, there really isn't much more to ask for from tenor-turned-conductor Fritz Näf, the Basler Madrigalisten, L'arpa Festante and his fine assembly of vocal soloists.

Homilius was a very well regarded composer from his own time well into the nineteenth century. Through the first half of the 19th-century, his music received regular performances across Germany and Austria, and was compared favorably to the music of Bach by some scholars. As a student at Leipzig University, Homilius spent time in the circles of Bach's students, and it's quite likely that he himself studied with him. Another reason that I am often reminded of Bach when listening to this Homilius Passion is that it is similarly structured to those by Bach, so the flow of recitative, solo, chorus is very familiar. Listen to the samples from this Carus disc I've provided. I've purposely included examples of all three types so you can assess them yourself. I'd be very interested in hearing what you think; if you care to, please post your thoughts below.

With eleven CDs of Homilius' music available so far from Carus, it's evident that they have dedicated themselves whole-heartedly to this growing project. If we are lucky, they will keep going; Homilius composed ten passions in all, as well as oratorios for Christmas and Easter, a hundred and fifty cantatas and sixty motets, among other works.