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Adam by Riemenschneider

Web Gallery of Art


Tilman Riemenschneider (c.1460-1531) - The Music of His Time
ANONYMOUS Mein Herz in Freuden sich erquicket; Basse Danse ‘La Magdalena’; Tourdion; Basse Danse ‘La gatta’; Zenner, greiner, wie gefelt dir das?; Groß Sehnen ich im Herzen trag; Ich tät mir auserwählen; Der gestreifft Dantz – Gassenhaur; Se hyn mein hercz; Ich spring an diesem ringe; Wir zogen in das Feld; Es solt ein man kein mole farn; Der wallt hat sich entlaubet; Ich sachs eins mals; Elselein; Der Vöglein Art; Katzenpfote; Alle furf; Canto dei lanzi allegri; Es wolt ein Jäger jagen; Alma redemptoris mater
Jean MOUTON (before 1459-1522) Jamais
Heinrich FINCK (1444/5-1527) Greiner, zanner
Paul HOFHAIMER (1459-1537) Greyner, zanner, eifrer
Johann WALTER (1496-1570) Aus tiefer Not
Thomas STOLTZER (c. 1480-1526) Ich klag den Tag; Entlaubet ist der Walde
Heinrich ISAAC (c. 1450-1517) Innsbruc, ich muß dich lassen
Erasmus LAPICIDA (c. 1440-1547) Tanderlanken
Jacob OBRECHT (c. 1457/8 – 1505) Rompeltier (Rumfeltiere, Rumfeldare); Missa Caput: Kyrie
Johannes OCKEGHEM (c. 1410-1497) Alma redemptoris mater; Venit ad Petrum
Il Curioso: Melanie Bogisch – recorder, flute, crumhorn, bombarde, rauschpfeife; Johanna Klinger – recorder, flute, crumhorn, bombarde, percussion; Nadine Merzbacher – recorder, crumhorn, shawm, percussion; Bernhard Böhm – recorder, flute, crumhorn, rauschpfeife, shawm; Martin Hummel - baritone; Bernhard Böhm, Director
Hedos Ensemble: Harmut Hein – baritone; Bernhard Böhm – recorder, transverse flutes, bagpipe, rauschpfeife; Jürgen Hübscher – renaissance lutes, vihuela, percussion (spoons); Michael Spengler – viola da gamba.
Rec. Hedos Ensemble recorded by CPO; Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerly from Naxos 8.554297; Il Curioso, Studio Franken, Germany. September 2002. DDD
NAXOS 8.558145 [74:54]

This is one of a now burgeoning series of ‘Music and Art’ discs from Naxos. They are proving not only collectable and successful but also illuminating for listeners young and old alike.

This volume, based around Tilman Riemenschneider, is unusual because the artist in question was a sculptor and lime-wood woodcarver. His work is little known; at least in the UK. Helpfully Naxos have placed illustrations of his art throughout the booklet.

Riemenschneider’s work represents the apogee of Renaissance German carving. I have to say immediately that the art is mostly greater than the music represented which includes too many short instrumental arrangements of tunes popular at the time in the secular world. The exceptions are the sacred works by Obrecht and Ockeghem which end the disc. These, it seems to me, represent Riemenschneider’s art more accurately.

Much care has been taken in the presentation of the booklet. We have a complete and careful listing of all the works followed by a lengthy and detailed essay by Hugh Griffith. This divides into several sections. These are first, a general remark about the place of Artists and the Guild system in society at this time. Then comes a section on Riemenschneider himself. Next there is material on the composers and their roles and finally some useful composer biographies. The text is interspersed with coloured photographs of Riemenschneider’s work for example the beautiful ‘Sant Afra’ wood carving which is still visibly painted and gilded. There is also an illustration of a famous Burgkmair woodcut from ‘The Triumph of Maximilian’ (c.1515) which shows shawm players and the organist Paul Hofhaimer whose music is represented on this disc. He, like Isacc, Finck and others, were all at some point, working at Maximilian’s lavish court.

At the back of the booklet is a fascinating chronology comparing the events in the sculptor’s life with the main events in the lives of contemporary painters and musicians. Texts are given although, curiously, not all of them. For example the booklet omits the words for the last four tracks sung by the Oxford Camerata.

Normally these discs are compilations drawing on previous Naxos issues but this one is slightly different. I have already mentioned that four sacred and beautifully poised works are featured from a superb Oxford Camerata Naxos recording. In addition there are five tracks from a CPO disc. These are performed by Harmut Hein and the Hedos ensemble. I must just warn the listener however that these ex-CPO tracks are recorded at a higher volume. The rest of the disc was especially recorded by Il Curioso who play entirely wind instruments. They are joined by the under-used baritone Martine Hummel. There is some delicious recorder playing including on the opening track, ‘Mein Herz in Reuden’. With its consecutive fifths and syncopated rhythms it sounds more like a track from a film score - ‘Cadfael’ or something! There is also some rather wondrous antediluvian crumhorn noises on other tracks - possible too many. Listen to the gloriously named ‘Katzenpfote’ (The Cat’s paw’).

The vocal items are OK. I can’t get excited about either singer but their voices are mostly suitable to the songs, if rather dull. Try for instance ‘Se hyn mein hercz’.

This is a CD I shall carefully keep as much for its artwork as for its music. Generally, despite the reservations mentioned above, this is as fine an introduction to the rather eccentric world of German Renaissance music as I know. Everyone associated with its creation should be warmly applauded.

Gary Higginson

See also review by Patrick Gary

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