Hushed rhetoric about the end of life
+ interesting selection + beautiful performance (...) Engeltjes incredibly beautifully performs this wonderful lullaby, as well as the legendary opening aria ‘Ich habe genug'. You can feel the withheld passion under his calm, smooth legato, while you hear the carefully adjusted ornamentation and the immaculate pianissimo in the higher parts. Thanks to this interpretation and thanks to Bach’s music, the pietist poetry – a bit overdone and old-fashioned for our standards – actually falls into place very naturally. In the cantata ‘Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen', BWV 56, baritone Andreas Wolf is soloing just as mastered and contained, with here and there a well-conceived vibrato. His recitatives sound crystal clear and eloquent and he skilfully works his way through the melisma in ‘Endlich wird mein Joch...'. Somehow, PRJCT Amsterdam places the at times exuberant groove of wholeheartedly texts like ‘Ich freue mich auf meinen Tod' and ‘Mir ekelt mehr zu leben' in a new light: not only does the protagonist find piece with the end of life, but he or she even eagerly longs for the hereafter.
With his round, flexible voice, Engeltjes sings well-known solo cantatas ****
For Johann Sebastian Bach, as for everyone that lived in the 18th century, death was pervasive. He became an orphan at young age, lost his first wife, and outlived 11 of his 20 children. However, he kept composing and even devoted his most beautiful and conciliatory notes to death. Counter tenor Maarten Engeltjes put together a fine musical mourning bouquet. The title of the album with the Baroque orchestra PRJCT Amsterdam is Nicht mehr hier. With his round, flexible voice, Engeltjes sings well-known solo cantatas like Ich habe genug. In contrast to that, the guest soloist and bass Andreas Wolf sings Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen, where death appears as the brother of sleep. Yet, the most touching pieces, are the ones that are not from Bach. Predecessor Buxtehude composed a superb Klaglied after the death of his father with pulsating strings and smoothing organ notes. And you will have to dry your eyes after listening to the four-part Lied of Bach’s granduncle Johann Christoph. ‘Goodnight, world, the last grain has slid through the hourglass.'
Classical music - Maarten Engeltjes, PRJCT Amsterdam - Forgotten arias Bach (Sony)****
"...They are not really forgotten, but after all 'the old wig' composed so much that not everything could become a 'hit'. Out of context, in the voice of Engeltjes they now sound like gems on a bed beautifully made by the young orchestra... "
Classical music - Bach: Forgotten Aria's, Maarten Engeltjes & PRJCT Amsterdam****
"... Engeltjes sings them with an incredible sense of text, a fireproof timing and a sound as clear as the stars in a cold winter sky ..."
Maarten Engeltjes has a voice you want to keep listening to****
"... In the fine selection of arias from Bach cantatas, the musicians give all the space to Engeltjess, to whose voice - round and with a beautiful harmonic saucer in the height - you want to keep listening. Highlight: the last aria Schläfert aller Sorgenkummer from cantata 197 ..."
All 'Forgotten arias' are highlights****
'... The delicious 'Kommt, ihr angefochtnen Sünder' from cantata 30, which nestles in your ear like a worm with a beautiful lucid and airy accompaniment of the orchestra. But Bach is Bach and in fact all these 'forgotten' arias are highlights. With his sovereign and supple voice, Engeltjes himself remains imposingly above the material... '
'Guide to Bach's treasury'
‘How beautifully do the oboes meander around each other to unite eventually with the voice in a unified cadence. Or take the sunny aria Kommt ihr angefocht'nen Sünder. The alto soars lightly above the enchanting accompaniment of flute and strings ... ’
‘Maarten Engeltjes sings a delightful Bach’
’... The same attention to detail characterized' Kommt, ihr angefocht'nen Sünder ', from Bach's gallant later years. With subtle changes in dynamics and tempo, the musicians added a little extra to the almost swinging rhythm. But without breaking the feathery charm of flute and pizzicato playing strings, Engeltjes gave the words "ruft und schreit!" their full, voluminous weight...’
‘An immensely gratifying concert’
‘... Back at Het Veld stage, I settled in for an immensely gratifying concert of Vivaldi and Handel by the countertenor Maarten Engeltjes with PRJCT Amsterdam, the ensemble he founded. Engeltjes’s beautiful voice has a glistening, silvery quality, with an unexpectedly powerful low register...’
‘Impressive performances on the yellowed grass of Wonderfeel’
'The countertenor Maarten Engeltjes sings arias of Monteverdi, Handel, Purcell and Dowland with his new ensemble PRJCT Amsterdam. With his own 'band' his voice seems liberated from the idiosyncratic armour of Baroque conductors. He dares to slow down almost to a standstill and models fluent whispers ... ’

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