Johann Philipp Krieger numbers among the most important Baroque composers prior to Bach. Born in Nuremberg in 1649, he was active as a chapel master at the Weißenfels court from 1680 to 1725. During his tenure as music director Weißenfels became a leading center of the early German Baroque opera. With his compositional oeuvre Krieger made important contributions to the development of the church cantata and instrumental music. Following the publication of his twelve Sonate a due Violini (and b. c.), we are now presenting the recording premiere of five of the total of twenty Sacred Concertos from his Musicalischer Seelen-Frieden, a work composed in 1690 and 1696 and presented in Weißenfels religious services. Krieger, a practicing musician with a practical mind, designed flexible parts for solo voice and two violins in this collection. He produces a close word-tone relation, and the alternations between concertizing and cantabile parts provide for vibrancy. It is especially in the »I-related« texts that inserted recitatives and accompagnati generate special emphases. For almost four decades the bass baritone Klaus Mertens has met with acclaim from the critics for his concerts and almost two hundred CD recordings. The interpretations of this singer whose voice is »supernaturally radiant« (klassik.com), »wonderfully trim, clearly declaiming« (mdr Firgaro), and »just as fresh as always and uncommonly homogeneous« (klassik.com) range from early music to the avant-garde, and we are happy to have been able to win him for this top-quality interpretation with the Hamburger Ratsmusik.