A German Christmas

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Program: #21-51   Air Date: Dec 13, 2021

Music from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century featuring the Saxony Vocal Ensemble and the Schola Heidelberg..

I. & III. Die Zeit nunmehr vorhanden ist (Schola Heidelberg/Walter Nussbaum). Christophorus CD CHR 77451.

Virtuosity coupled with versatility. Both individually and collectively, the vocal soloists of the SCHOLA HEIDELBERG are equally at home with widely differing styles and vocal techniques, all the way up to microtonal intonation and vocal and respiratory noise. Under the artistic directorship of their founder Walter Nußbaum, works from the 16th/17th and the 20th/21st centuries meet head-on, often with astounding results. A new interpretive culture materializes from an intensive concern with historically informed performance and contemporary music. The ensemble’s extensive repertoire is the fruit of close collaboration with leading present-day composers. Much noted are the commissions for new works deriving from projects like Heimathen and Prinzhorn.

SCHOLA HEIDELBERG performs in its home city, all over Germany and at international festivals like the Salzburg Festival, Milano Musica, the Lucerne Festival, the Biennale in Venedig, the Biennale Salzburg and the Festival d’automne in Paris.

The Schola has successful cooperative partnerships with the Ensemble Modern, the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, the SWR Symphony Orchestra, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, and the Gürzenich Orchestra.

  • Die Zeit nunmehr vorhanden ist / Johann Hermann Schein (1:40)
  • Todesangst / Enno Rudolph (1:26)
  • Die Zeit nunmehr vorhanden ist (Strophe 2) / Johann Hermann Schein (1:36)
  • Fristbewusstsein / Enno Rudolph (:45)
  • Magnum opus musicum: Domine quid multiplicati sunt / Orlande de Lassus (1:02)
  • Angst und klage / Enno Rudolph (1:18)
  • Veni redemptor gentium ; Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland ; Sit, Christe, rex piissime / anonymous (1:44)
  • Übers Gebirg Maria geht / Johannes Eccard (2:59)
  • Dixit Maria ad angelum / Hans Leo Hassler (2:52)
  • Wahrlich, ich sage euch / Andreas Raselius (2:35)
  • Mit ernst, o menschenkinder / Johannes Eccard (1:17)
  • Puer natus est nobis / Heinrich Isaac (1:53)
  • Verlorene meschenwürde / Enno Rudolph (2:59)
  • Vom himmel hoch, da komm ich her / Johannes Eccard (2:20)
  • Triumph der Gottes-Würde / Enno Rudolph (:49)
  • Ich steh an deiner Krippen hier / Johannes Eccard (1:43)
  • Dies est laetitae ; Der tag, der ist so freudenreich / Hans Leo Hassler (6:33)
  • Gottes menschlichkeit / Enno Rudolph (:58)
  • Magnum opus musicum. Domine quid multiplicat sunt (1:02) ; Betrübet sehr (1:33) / Orlande de Lassus
  • Christum wir sollen loben schon / Lucas Osiander (1:16)
  • Dixit insipiens / Orlande de Lassus (:59)
  • Die macht des bösen / Enno Rudolph (:59)
  • Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern / Michael Praetorius (5:41)
  • Diesseits von gut und böse / Enno Rudolph (:46)
  • Domini est terra (1:14) ; Salvum me fac Deus (1:04) / Orlande de Lassus
  • Gott schweigt / Enno Rudolph (2:31)
  • Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen / Michael Paretorius (1:42)
  • Mirabile mysterium / Jacobus Handl (2:58)
  • Die natur erneuert sich! / Enno Rudolph (2:20)
  • Die Zeit nunmehr vorhandel ist / Johann Hermann Schein (1:51)

II. Mirabile Mysterium (Sächsisches Vocalensemble/Matthias Jung). CPO CD 555 318-2

The Sächsisches Vocalensemble, founded by Matthias Jung, is known for its model performances of early music, its stylistic reliability, virtuosity and emotional depth. One of the ensemble’s particular concerns is the performance of unknown or seldom performed compositions written for the Dresden court. The interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s oeuvre has attracted international attention – their recording of his motets was awarded the Cannes Classical Award. The ensemble also focuses on music of the contemporary era. The ensemble regularly performs at renowned festivals; concert tours have taken them to France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy and Japan. Numerous radio recordings attest to their outstanding musicianship. Furthermore, the ensemble’s CDs include recordings of works by Schütz, Bouzignac, Telemann, Lotti, Hasse, Sarri, Feo, Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Schumann and Pepping, as well as with middle German Christmas cantatas.

From a review of the live performance of the program from Neue Blätter:
Saxon vocal ensemble celebrates Advent concert virtually:

The virtual formats are not exactly springing up like mushrooms, but almost every organizer, musician, artist is looking for an opportunity to exchange ideas. The question is how to best reach the audience - there is almost everything between a "real" concert without an audience, which is broadcast virtually, to smaller programs and short greetings. Those offers that give music lovers something on the computer or screen that allow identification and emotional classification have proven to be important and effective. On the one hand, by showing the artists we are currently lacking, and also in the programs and, last but not least, in the locations.

Places such as the Dreikönigs- or Annenkirche are connected to the Saxon vocal ensemble in Dresden. Last Sunday the Advent concert should have taken place in the latter. It also took place, only - as not otherwise possible - without an audience. Those who wanted could follow it on YouTube, where the video of the recording can still be found.

The musicians of the Batzdorfer Hofkapelle sat in the chancel of the Annenkirche, the soloists (Anne Stadler and Dorothea Wagner / soprano, Stefan Kunath / alto, Alexander Bischoff / tenor and Felix Schwandtke / bass) and other singers from the Saxon vocal ensemble were far away them and each other. Acoustically, the distance can be compensated with microphones, but for the director Matthias Jung it meant, instead of the usual "forward" direction, a sweep in all directions - all the more important that he could rely on trusted partners.

The place is familiar especially to those music lovers who regularly visit the Saxon Vocal Ensemble. The camera did not pause statically on the singers or the orchestra, but went into the room of the Christmas decorated church, came close to Matthias Jung or the soloists - closer than anyone else should - overall, however, the scrolling remained calm. In this way the festive splendor of the music was combined with that of the interior of the church.Technically, too, the recording was flawless. Individual voices were not covered, despite the reduced number of participants, the sound never seemed thin or small, on the contrary. You could hear Alexander Bischoff, whose tenor in Christian Liebe's "The Newborn Child" got a mild golden shimmer like the sun over the altar, the soloists and the Saxon vocal ensemble can emphasize contours while remaining a closed ensemble. Anne Stadler's winged, light soprano, who at times seemed to touch the heights of the sky, or Felix Schwandtke's bass, which could gain strength and emphasize at any time, without becoming rougher or losing melodiousness, were striking.

For the Batzdorfer Hofkapelle, which has already been involved in many excavations, the music from the collection of the Prince and State School St. Augustin in central Saxon Grimma by Johann Schelle, Philipp Heinrich Erlebach, Johann Rosenmüller and others is a core repertoire. So she lit up the Sinfonia with Christian Liebe first effectively, so festively, with brass and timpani, in order to calm down immediately - because of the baby lying in the manger. With Gottfried Vogel's "Alleluia, rejoice, you Christians, all" the cheer seemed palpable.

Of course you are never as close with a screen and loudspeaker as you are on site, but the Saxon Vocal Ensemble managed to get closer to it, which in the chosen length of just under an hour did not lose its tension. At the same time, the program brought the music from the epoch between Schütz and Bach to the ears - worth discovering!

  • Isaac: Ecce virgo concipiet
  • Eccard: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland
  • Raphael: Maria durch ein Dornwald ging
  • Hammerschmidt: Machet die Tore weit
  • Monteverdi: Ave maris stella
  • Schütz: O lieber Herre Gott & Tröstet mein Volk aus „Geistliche Chormusik 1648“
  • Rheinberger: Ave Maria
  • Reger: Unser lieben Frauen Traum
  • Gallus: Mirabile mysterium
  • Thiel: In dulci jubilo
  • Woyrsch: Auf dem Berge da geht der Wind
  • Whitacre: Lux aurumque
  • Sandström: Es ist ein Ros entsprungen
  • Howells: A spotless rose
  • Rutter: I wonder as I wander
  • Tueapsky: A Child is born in Bethlehem
  • Lauridsen: O magnum mysterium

Composer Info

Johann Hermann Schein, Enno Rudlph, Orlande de Lassus, Johannes Eccard, Hans Leo Hassler, Andreas Raselius, Heinrich Isaac, Lucas Osiander, Michael Praetorius, Jacobus Handl, Isaac, Eccard, Eccard, Hammerschmidt, Monteverdi, Schütz, Rheinberger, Reger, Gallus, Thiel, Woyrsch, Whitacre, Sandström, Howells, Rutter, Tueapsky, Lauridsen

CD Info

Christophorus CD CHR 77451, CPO CD 555 318-2,