Part 2 of our complete recording of sacred works by Johann Kuhnau exclusively features recording premieres. They offer a multifaceted picture of Kuhnau’s cantata oeuvre. »Lobe den Herren, meine Seele« certainly numbers among the earliest of the compositions brought together on this CD; musically, it continues to be situated very much in the tradition of the sacred concerto of the late seventeenth century. Regrettably, broad segments of the music world have rather often perceived Kuhnau merely as a forerunner of the great Johann Sebastian Bach, subjecting him to unpardonable neglect and undervaluing him. However, to name one example, the magnificently designed cantata »Schmücket das Fest mit Maien« for four-part choir, two oboes, two recorders, two violini concertati, two violins in ripieno, viola, bassoon, and basso continuo demonstrates that he cannot at all be charged with a lack of innovative spirit. On the textual level this work proves to be a finely crafted combination of biblical texts, freely penned arias, and a concluding chorale. A conversation between the soprano and the bass drawing on markedly dialogic passages from the Song of Songs and original poetic verses inspired by them occupies the focus. Once again Gregor Meyer, the director of this extensive project, interprets the cantatas with the Opella Musica ensemble of soloists established by him in 2011 and the camerata lipsiensis orchestra adhering to the spirit of historical performance practice.