The seven works brought together on Vol. 4 of our complete recording of
Kuhnau’s cantatas offer a remarkable cross section featuring sacred works –
and more. They have also been transmitted in all sorts of different ways.
The spectrum ranges from extant autographs and original printed editions
leaving no doubt about Kuhnau’s authorship to copies from what was clearly
a later time or sources from rather peripheral lines of transmission in
which the materials themselves as well as the stylistic findings offer
reasons for critical skepticism about the ascription of the works to
Kuhnau. The most reliable sources as far as authenticity is concerned are
those for the two burial songs »Gott hat uns nicht gesetzt zum Zorn« and
»Ach, Gott, wie lässt du mich verstarren.« These two works are from
Kuhnau’s early period but nonetheless pieces of great artistic mastery and
have to be regarded as model examples of the church style that exercised an
absolutely enormous influence on the formation of the church styles of
Bach, Handel, and Telemann.