Florain Heyerick and Ex Tempore have refined their impassioned interpretation of George Philipp Telemann's oratorio Der Tod Jesu over a 15-year period, and cahmpioned a major choral masterpiece of the high baroque that compares in both quality and poetic subtlety with Bach's passion settings.
Der Tod Jesu occupies a middle ground between oratorio and cantata and cannot be strictly defined as either sacred or secular. The text by Ramler stands out through the suggestive power of its vocabulary and the Affekt-laden depiction of various emotions, of which there is naturally no lack in a Passion. His Passion was his most popular work and completely narrative in character, with no independent characters. Overall Ramler's texts fulfil the critical demands that Telemann laid down for poetry that was intended to be set to music.
In this Passion Cantata Telemann provides musical innovation; he leans strongly in the direction of the full-blown styles of Gluck or Haydn. Each note of Telemann's composition emits the scent of the early Classical style, although the theatrical contrasts of the Affekten still casts a strong Baroque influence. Furthermore, he paid more attention to the chorus in this work than was normally his custom. Der Tod Jesu provides them with contemplative evocations with a penetrating emotional weight. The accompagnato recitatives are the most striking feature of the piece which, thanks to the powerful support of the orchestra, possesses an unusually strong expressive power and provides the work as a whole with an incredibly rich palette of sounds.
Ex Tempore was founded by Florian Heyerick in 1989. It is a versatile ensemble and concentrates on a stylistically clear and musically captivating approach to Early, Romantic and Modern vocal music. The variable size of the ensemble allows it to be optimally adapted to any programme with music from between 1600 and 1900. In its original choice of programmes and its highly qualitative interpretations the ensemble makes an important contribution to the expansion and renewal of the vocal repertoire.
Greetje Anthoni's clear and flexible soprano voice and great musical adaptability make her one of the best Flemish performers of today. Yves Saelens is a popular soloist in oratorios, recitals and operas throughout Europe, North America and Asia. Stefan Geyer won prizes in several international competitions and is equally in demand for oratorio as he is for Lieder at important international festivals.