The image of Fortuna — capricious Fate — was a favorite of Baroque artists and composers. This collection of eight obscure works from 17th- and 18th-century Germany invites listeners to ponder the fickleness of posterity. Of the four composers represented, only Georg Philipp Telemann enjoys much currency today, and even he is usually encountered through pieces less engaging than the cantatas offered here. One of them, the title track “Fortuna scherzosa si burla di me” (Playful Fortuna Mocks Me), was uncovered as recently as 1999, in a cache of musical manuscripts that had been spirited to Kiev by Russian soldiers who pillaged it from a German library during World War II. Quirks of fate also account for the obscurity of winning works on the Fortuna theme by Philipp Heinrich Erlebach and Johann Ulich, both of whose musical legacies were largely decimated by fires. A particularly happy survivor is Johann Philipp Krieger’s aria “An die Einsamkeit” (To Solitude), melancholy but soothing. Soprano Ina Siedlaczek is gaining prestige in early-music circles. Her boyish timbre and clipped phrasing may prove an acquired taste, but at her best she connects touchingly with listeners. No such reservations for the accompanying Hamburger Ratsmusik threesome (viola da gamba, theorbo, harpsichord), which is elegantly accomplished. Texts are provided, though no translations, and the printed stanzas don’t always align to what is performed.
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