Ludwig Senfl: Was ist die Welt?

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Program: #03-21   Air Date: May 26, 2003

Switzerland's greatest composer has been woefully under-represented on disc. We are fortunate to present a new recording of lieder, the Missa Nisi Dominus, and motets including those for the Feast of the Ascension.

NOTE: All of the music on this program is from the recording Ludwig Senfl: Was ist die Welt? featuring the Ensemble Orlando, Fribourg directed by Laurent Gendre. It is on the Swiss Cascavelle label and is CD VEL 3034.

Senfl was born about 1486 in Basle. In 1496 he sang in the court choir (Hofkapelle) of Emperor Maximilian, and travelled with the Emperor (and court composer Heinrich Isaac) across Germany, Austria, and Italy. In 1508 he was appointed "clericus" to the Basle Cathedral, and helped with the vast Choralis Constantinus publication. In 1513 he succeeded Isaac at the Imperial Court; when Maximilian died in 1519, Charles V preferred Lowlands composers. He travelled to Augsburg seeking a new post, and was present at the Diet of Worms, where Charles V banished Martin Luther. In 1523, he received a post with Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria (whose son would employ Lassus), and died in the winter of 1542/43.

Support for these programs comes in part from PRS, Presence Switzerland; with additional support from Swiss Radio, Pro Helvetia, and the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C.

  • In Ascensione Domini:
    • Introit: Viri Galilei ("Men of Galilee"
    • Alleluia
    • Communion: Psallite Domino ("Praise the Lord")
  • Was ist die Welt? ("Why kind of world is this?")
  • Usquequo, Domine oblivisceris me in finem? ("How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord?")
  • Elend bringt pein ("Misery brings only suffering").
  • Missa super Nisi Dominus
  • Ave rosa sine spinis ("Hail, rose without thorns")

Composer Info

Ludwig Senfl (1486-1542/43)

CD Info

CD VEL 3034.

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