Three from CPO

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Program: #16-42   Air Date: Oct 10, 2016

The superb German label gives us music of Erasmus Widmann, and the latest from two great ensembles, Weser-Renaissance and Der Singphoniker.

NOTE: All of the music on this program comes from the German label CPO, For more information:

I. Orlando di Lasso: Magnificat (die Singphoniker). CPO CD 777 957-2.


From FonoForum: Here, the polyphonic segments of the selected Magnificat compositions are based not on monophonic models but on pre-existent compositions. Accordingly, here we have to do with parody works in which a procedure widespread in Masses is applied to the Magnificat. Forty of Lasso’s 101 Magnificat compositions are to be assigned to this type. These imitation Magnificats in no way involve a simple re-textualization of pre-existent works. At the beginning Lasso mostly rather precisely draws on his particular model, but then he quickly departs from it. In the Magnificat on Rore’s Da le belle contrade the beginning corresponds to the original, but soon thereafter it departs from it the textual passage in Deo salutari« is completely freely set. This procedure thus is somewhat similar to collage technique: the possibilities range from the use of whole passages to the re-layering of blocks, paraphrasing, quotations of individual voices, free continuation, and so on. The result may safely be termed a new creation on the basis of a pre-existent work. The sound developed by the Singphoniker may be described as cathedral and no less directly immediate. The great fullness of sound displayed by this six-man vocal ensemble never fails to amaze the listener«

1 Cipriano de Rore (1515/16-1565): Da le belle contrade (à 5)
2 O. di Lasso (1530/32-1594): Magnificat Sexti Toni, Da le belle contrade (à 5)
3 Giachet de Berchem (ca. 1505-1567): O s'io potessi donna (à 4)
4 O. di Lasso: Magnificat Secundi Toni, O s'io potessi donna (à 4)
5 Josquin des Prez (1450/55-1521): Praeter rerum seriem (à 6)
6 O. di Lasso: Magnificat Secundi Toni, Praeter rerum seriem (à 6)
7 Claudin de Sermisy (ca. 1490-1562): Il est jour (à 4)
8 O. die Lasso: Magnificat Secundi Toni, Il est jour (à 4)
9 Anselmo de Reulx (1524-1557): S'io credessi per morte essere scarco (à 4)
10 O. di Lasso: Magnificat Tertii Toni, S'io credessi per morte essere scarco (à 4)
11 Philippe Verdelot (ca. 1480/85-1530/32): Ultimi miei sospiri (à 6)
12 O. di Lasso: Magnificat Secundi Toni, Ultimi miei sospiri (à 6)

II. Erasmus Widmann: Musicalischer Tugendtspiegel/Michael Praetorius: Terpsichore Musarum (Accademia del Ricercare/Pietro Busca). CPO CD 777 608-2.

Our first release in cooperation with the Accademia del Ricercare, an ensemble that has logged more than eight hundred concerts over the past twenty years in changing formations geared to the particular repertoire, offers a fascinating overview of the German instrumental world just prior to the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War (1618-48). Michael Praetorius, one of the most prominent musicians of those times, is represented here with a suite, while we also have the opportunity to become acquainted with a virtual unknown in the person of the composer Erasmus Widmann, whose works recorded here demonstrate that a myriad of talents once existed side by side with more familiar musicians and now merit their rightful places in music history. Even though Praetorius' Terpsichore and Widmann's Musicalischer Tugendtspiegel ganz neuer Gesäng […] auch newe Däntz und Galliarden were published only a year apart (1612 and 1613), both collections exhibit many traits indicating just how heterogeneously instrumental musical expression could be at the dawn of the Baroque. While the author of the Syntagma musicum based his compositions primarily on the dance forms current at the time, Widmann continued to employ movement headings like gagliarda while not always intending his pieces for a specific context but for the »delectation of honorable gatherings« (this in the best Lutheran tradition). A particularly significant aspect in Widmann's production consists in the fact that in the majority of cases he did not compose suites (by which we mean a series of dance movements like the allemande, courante, and sarabande preceded by an abstract prelude). He instead penned independent dances from which the interpreters were largely free to choose in keeping with the available musical resources. You can look forward to dances of spirited motion quite literally inviting the listener to dance and exhibiting a full and richly varied sound palette.

Erasmus WIDMANN (1572–1634)
Musicalischer Tugendtspiegel (1613, Selection) [33:29]
Intrada XXV (from Gantz neue Cantzon, Intraden, Balletten und Coranten, 1618) [1:25]
Helena – Foelicitas [4:37]
Magdalena – Sybilla [2:13]
Agatha [3:04]
Susanna – Dorothea – Maria [2:04]
Sophia Anna – Christina [3:52]
Margaretha – Johanna [2:39]
Barbara – Ursula [2:16]
Clara [3:43]
Regina [1:04]
Intrada XXVIIII (1618) [1:46]
Cantzon XII: Auff das gesang: Ein treues Hertz. etc. [2:18]
Cantzon V [2:28]
Michael PRÆTORIUS (1571–1621)
Terpsichore Musarum (1612, Selection) [23:01]
Courante I – Courante II [4:28]
Bransle de Villages (I–V) [4:00
Ballet – Ballet des Amazones [2:35]
Reprinse [2:08]
Ballet des Baccanales – Ballet des feus – Ballet des Matelotz [2:18]
Gavottes [3:13]
Bourrée I – Bourrée II [2:05]
Volte [2:14]

III. Funeral Music from Gottorf (Weser-Renaissance/Manfred Cordes). CPO CD 555 010-2

Gottorf Castle in Schleswig is not only one of Schleswig-Holsteins most important architectural monuments but also of great cultural significance because of the chapel masters who were active in the castles court ensemble. Following releases with sacred cantatas by Augustin Pfleger and Johann Philipp Förtsch and psalms and cantatas by Georg Österreich, Vol. 4 of our Music for Gottorf Castle series with the WESER-RENAISSANCE ensemble under Manfred Cordes turns to Gottorf funeral and memorial music for state occasions by Michael and Georg Österreich and Johann Philipp Förtsch. The music for the services commemorating members of the ducal family comprises the most magnificent works extant from the Gottorf court. No compositional means were spared, and all available musical resources were tapped in order to meet the high interpretive requirements and standards. Here Gottorf assumes a key position. For the years around 1700 it is the only court enabling us to form such a perspective; funeral compositions have not been transmitted elsewhere. All the works were first heard in the Schleswig Cathedral, the site of the ducal crypt. The acoustic circumstances of todays church, with its interior essentially distinguished by installations from the seventeenth century, correspond almost unchanged to those existing when the works recorded here were first performed.

From Early Music Review: This is the fourth CD that Manfred Cordes and his excellent team has devoted to music in Gottorf. Alongside music by two of the composers already featured there is a very fine work by the more famous Georg Österreich’s older brother, Michael. The opening piece is Förtsch’s lavish “Unser Leben währet siebenzig Jahr” with seven voice parts, four violins, two violas, four gambas, bassoon and continuo! The fact that it survives only in a copy might explain the rather odd passages in some verses of the central aria where the duetting alto and bass occasionally sing in octaves (a fact that the otherwise informative booklet notes fail to mention). It is followed by the older Österreich’s setting for more modest forces of one of “the standard” funeral texts, “I have fought a good fight”, which reveals the former Thomaner’s considerable skill. The final work – the longest on the disc at over 19 minutes! – adds a pair of oboes to the ensemble. It ends with a “tremolo”-accompanied setting of a verse from “Herzlich tut mich Verlangen” (known to English speakers as “the Passion chorale”). Throughout the singing and playing as excellent, the balance between individual voices and vocal and instrumental groups is well managed, and the sound quality is very high. All in all, another success for this typically enterprising cpo series.
Brian Clark


Unser Leben wahret siebenzig Jahr - Trauermusik uber Psalm 90, 10 und ein Gedicht

Ich vergesse, was dahinten ist

Österreich, G:

Unser keiner lebet ihm selber

Plötzlich müssen die leute sterben

Österreich, M:

Ich habe einen guten Kampf gekämpfet

Composer Info

Orlando di Lasso1530/32-1594, Cipriano de Rore (1515/16-1565), Giachet de Berchem (ca. 1505-1567), Josquin des Prez (1450/55-1521), Claudin de Sermisy (ca. 1490-1562), Anselmo de Reulx (1524-1557), Philippe Verdelot (ca. 1480/85-1530/32), Erasmus WIDMANN (1572–1634), Michael PRÆTORIUS (1571–1621)

CD Info

CPO CD 777 957-2, CPO CD 777 608-2, CPO CD 555 010-2