There is hidden treasure here. Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (1690-1749) has long lain in the shadow of Bach and Telemann, but if there is any justice this recording of his setting of one of the popular passion texts of the early 18th century will go far toward effecting long overdue recognition. Composed in 1725, it follows in the wake of a number of other versions of the poetry of Barthold Heinrich Brockes, most notably that of Handel, whose comparitively second-rate work pales into near insignificance when set beside the power and vivid immediacy of Stölzel's great drama.
Drawing on over 30 years of experience playing the country-blues, complete with tutorials from some of the undisputed masters, it comes as no surprise that Stefan Grossman can so consistently conjure up the authentic spirit of the music with each successive release. His original compositions show Grossman to be the most confident of guitarists in his genre, effortlessly borrowing from the stylings of Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis, and Blind Willie McTell among various others. While his playing isn't overly flashy, it need not be. The precision and craftsmanship injected into the fluid, rolling original "Yazoo Strut," the harder blues groove of "Spider Web Blues," and a powerful rendition of Reverend Gary Davis' "Candy Man" are country blues at its very best.