During the twelve years as “Hofkapellmeister” in Dresden, Heinichen produced works for the Catholic church services at court, serenatas (larger-scale vocal and instrumental compositions) for festivities at court, one opera and a wealth of concertos and instrumental chamber music works. He additionally composed a whole series of secular cantatas in the Italian language – in continuation of his Venetian activities – for one or two voices with basso continuo, most of which were augmented by melodic instrumental parts as accompaniment or occasionally in a solo capacity.
Four of these cantatas are included on this CD recording. They transport listeners to a mythical Arcadia peopled by graceful and innocent nymphs and shepherds such as Clori and Tirsi. Heinichen sets these texts according to customary operatic forms – recitatives and arias mostly in a da capo structure. He is fond of embellishing the contrasting cantabile and virtuoso vocal lines with colourful instrumentation in which the woodwinds lend bucolic shading. The vocal compositions are complemented on this recording by two instrumental works in which Heinichen provides his colleagues with additional opportunities to present themselves to their best advantage. Reminiscences of Antonio Vivaldi with his solo concertos are undeniable: his clearly structured ritornello forms and catchy themes were heard and imitated with enthusiasm throughout Europe.
Featured on this recording are two of the rising vocal stars in the Baroque firmament. Soprano Marie Friederike Schöder and countertenor Terry Wey are supported here by the expert playing of the Batzdorfer Hofkapelle, specialists in the Dresden Baroque repertoire.