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Das Lochamer Liederbuch: German Popular Songs form the 15th Century
see end of review for track listing
Martin Hummel (baritone)*; Ensemble Dulce Melos: Marc Lewon (lute, gittern), Yukiko Yaita (recorder, double flute, chekker, pipe, string-drum), Elizabeth Rumsey (viola d’arco, recorder), Uri Smilansky (viola d’arco, recorder), Margit Übebellacker (dulcemelos, hackbrett) / Marc Lewon
rec. 26-28 September, 2005, Konzertsaal Reitstadl, Neumarkt, Germany
NAXOS 8.557803 [71:20]
Experience Classicsonline

Now in Berlin, the manuscript known as The Lochamer Liederbuch is one of the most important surviving collections of music from fifteenth-century Germany. Probably produced in Nuremberg it takes its name from that of its first owner, Wolfgang [Wolflein] von Lochamer. Though as many as eleven different scribal hands have been identified, much of the collection seems to have been drafted by a single hand, which was perhaps that of Frater Judocus von Windsheim, who added his name to the manuscript in 1460. 92 pages in length, the Lochamer Liederbuch contains 81 musical items plus the treatise Fundamentum organisandi by Magister Conrad Paumann. Of the 81 musical items, 47 are vocal or instrumental songs, 3 are sacred contrafacta and 31 are compositions for keyboard. Of the 47 songs all but one have German texts – the exception being a setting of a Flemish text. An edition of the manuscript by F.W. Arnold and A. Bellermann was published in 1867, and there has been much musicological discussion of it since. A facsimile, prepared by K. Ameln, was first published in 1925, and later studies of particular interest include Walter Salmen’s Das Lochamer Liederbuch. Eine musikgeschichtliche Studie (1972).
This selection, on Naxos, gives listeners a ready opportunity to get to know some of the intriguing music which this famous manuscript contains. Purists will perhaps feel that Marc Lewon and his companions take quite a few liberties with the letter of the manuscript, but most listeners will surely enjoy the results.
Paumann, an organist and lutenist of some fame, was an influential teacher and his Fundamentum organisandi certainly values improvisation alongside notated composition. It is in such a spirit that Marc Lewon has approached the music with, for example, the use of improvided accompaniments to some of the song melodies, as in ‘Czart lip wie suss dein anfanck ist’, or the borrowing of appropriate materials from the Buxheimer Orgelbuch, which also shows the influence of Paumann, as in ‘Ein vroueleen edel von naturen’. Marc Lewon, in the booklet note, observes that “Judging from the way the instrumental part of the Lochamer Liederbuch is written it is assumed that these versions were arranged for a keyboard instrument”, but argues that since Paumann certainly “had command” of a number of other instruments “it can be taken as a starting-point that in the tablature a style is reflected that could be used generally for instrumental music of this period. On the basis of the instrumental versions and of the Fundamentum organisandi the members of the ensemble have undertaken the arrangement of the pieces for their instruments and the provision of some diminutions in the style of the Lochamer Liederbuch”. If you object to such procedures – or to the development of what is reasonably described as “discrete counterpoint” for some of the monophonic songs (such as ‘All mein gedencken dy ich hab’) – you will find this collection too liberally interpretative for your tastes.

For myself, I find the resulting sound-world, with its use of such instruments as the dulemelos and the hackbrett, attractive and well capable of sustaining interest and Martin Hummel makes a generally persuasive soloist. While I wouldn’t place this disc amongst the most compelling or inspiring recordings of the music of this period, it makes for rewarding listening.
Glyn Pursglove

Track listing
Wach auf mein hort der leucht dort her [3:50] *
Der winter will hin weichen [1:59] *
Czart lip wie suss dein anfanck ist [1:01] *
Verlangen thut mich krencken [2:52] *
Mwein hercz in hohen frewden ist [2:19]
Möcht ich dein wegeren [2:48] *
Do mit ein gut Jare / Der Summer [2:18]
Ach meyden dw vil sene pein [4:31] *
Mit ganczem willen wünsch ich dir [3:03] *
Mein trawt geselle vnd mein liebster hort [1:41] *
Anauois [1:51]
Paumgartner [6:00]
Mein frewd möcht sich wol meren [2:38] *
All mein gedencken dy ich hab [2:55] *
Ich sach ein pild In plaber wat [1:35] *
Ich spring an dosem ringe [2:44] *
Es fur ein pawr gen holz [1:36] *
Mir ist mein pfërd vernagellt gar [2:10] *
Ein vrouleen edel von naturen [3:00] *
Wilhelmus Legrant [2:08]
Ellend dw hast [2:47]
Er wallt hat sich entlawbet [3:44] *
Ellend dw hast [1:46]
Des klaffers neyden [4:00] *
Benedicitie almechtiger got [2:50]
Ich bin pey Ir [3:18] *


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