Lesser known Baroque works well played in a lovely recording.

Musica Baltica Vol.4: Du Grain – Sacred CantatasMarie Smolka (soprano), Elisabeth Holmer (alto), Georg Poplutz (tenor), Marek Rzepka (bass), Goldberg Vocal Ensemble, Goldberg Baroque Ensemble, Conductor: Andrzej SzadejkoMDG (Dabringhaus und Grimm)MDG9022060SACDmultichannel disc – TT: 71:02 (4/27/18)

Johann Jeremias du Grain was born in Gdańsk sometime around 1700, probably a descendant of French Huguenots. He studied music in Hamburg with Georg Philipp Telemann, and was named as a vocal soloist in Telemann’s large cantata performance on the occasion of the 200-year anniversary celebration of the Augsburg Confession. Du Grain was also an associate of Handel’s.

There is not a lot of Du Grain’s music available, so this 4th collection of his music from MDG is most welcome. The disc contains a collection of Du Grain’s sacred cantatas. Although Du Grain may be new to you, you’ll hear echoes of his period.

This collection is very well played and recorded. Adding to my delight in the performances is the quality of the recording. The dimensions of Gdansks Trinity Church are represented in a very real three dimensional sound, with a good stereo image up front and the acoustics of the church surrounding the listener. It’s a very ‘real’ sounding production, never calling attention to itself, but it’s a very nice listen.

If this period of music appeals to you, Du Grain’s music is worth seeking out. Coupled with an excellent recording, I think listeners will be pleased.

—Mel Martin