Philadelphia Inquirer

By David Patrick Stearns

Posted: January 27, 2017

Rosenmüller in Exile.  The backstory is almost as rich as the music in this new recording by the early-music group Acronym and baritone Jesse Blumberg.  Johann Rosenmüller (1619-84) was one of Leipzig's most promising composers until he was arrested for sodomy, escaped from prison, and fled to Venice, where he was a trombonist at St. Mark's Basilica and rebuilt his reputation as a composer.  He wrote this collection of sonatas for string ensemble and cantatas for baritone voice while in exile.  The music is excellent, reflecting some operatic influences of the early baroque period.  Surfaces are poised and glossy, but one need not listen far to hear all kinds of under-the-surface restlessness and anguish.  Curiously, the pieces end almost casually, with a "to-be-continued" quality.  Performances are intelligent and animated.  Sound production is first-class.

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