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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Music from the Ratsschulbibliothek Zwickau
Johann STOLLE (c1566-1614)

Si mihi quae debes (Dialogus nuptialis a 8) [03:22]
Eusebius BOHEMUS (1592-1631)

Wem ein tugendsames Weib bescheret ist, motet a 8 [02:54]
anon

Sehet an, die zwei verliebten Herzen, motet a 6 [04:31]
Johann Hermann SCHEIN (1586-1630)

Beati omnes, qui timent Dominum, motet a 8 [08:31]
David KÖLER (before 1532-1565)

Eile, Gott, mich zu erretten, motet a 6 [05:44]
Johann LÖHNER (1645-1705)

Zerfliesset in ein Tränentauen, song for solo voice, 3 violas and bc [06:19]
Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672)

Fürstliche Gnade zu Wasser und Lande, song for solo voice, 2 treble instruments and bc (SWV 368) [03:42]
Maximilian HEILAND (16th century)

Te Deum a 8 [14:21]
Luca MARENZIO (1553-1599)

Jubilate Deo a 8 [04:03]
Philipp DULICHIUS (1562-1631)

Exaltabo te Deus a 8 [03:31]
Constanze Backes, Birte Kulawik (soprano), Alexander Schneider, Alan Dornak (alto), Albrecht Sack, Michael Schaffrath (tenor), Reinhard Decker, Thomas Pfitzner (bass)
Ensemble "Alte Musik Dresden"
Dir: Norbert Schuster
Recorded at 19 May, 2001 in the Katharinenkirche, Zwickau, Germany. DDD
MBM – VKJK 0315 [57:14]



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"The Ständige Konferenz Mitteldeutscher Barockmusik (Permanent Conference on Central German Baroque Music) is a so-called 'beacon' " with the goal of "demonstrating the significance and importance of baroque musical developments in the cultural area of central Germany, to preserve and document its accomplishments and achievements and to promote its research and to support the promotion of it in the international music scene". Part of the activities of this organisation is the annual 'Day of Central German Baroque Music'. After that a recording of one of the concerts is released. The present disc contains the concert given on 19 June, 2001 in the Katharinenkirche in Zwickau by the Ensemble ‘Alte Musik Dresden’. One of the most attractive aspects of these recordings is the fact that they usually contain a number of compositions which have never been recorded, often even never performed before. That is also the case here.

The concert was concentrating on music from manuscripts preserved in the 'Ratsschulbibliothek' at Zwickau. This library contains music from the time before the Reformation, originating from the cloisters of Zwickau, but also compositions from elsewhere in Europe, like Venetian collections of secular music, and collections of music from the 16th and 17th centuries. Some of the compositions in the library haven't been found elsewhere.

The programme consists of music from about 150 years. The earliest is a motet by David Köler; it is written in the polyphonic style of the renaissance, but not on a Latin text, but in German. It is immediately followed by the latest work on the disc, Johann Löhner's sacred concerto 'Zerfliesset in ein Tränentauen', a 'lamento' which was a popular form in the second half of the 17th century.

The rather wide time span of the programme is a little bit problematic, though. As a result there is a lack of coherence, which is enhanced by the fact that the pieces on this disc aren't linked thematically either. The programme begins with four wedding motets, but also contains a 'lamento' and a setting of the Te Deum, in which polyphony and plainchant are alternating, reflecting its liturgical character.

Some of the pieces are performed ‘a cappella’, in others instruments are playing 'colla parte'. That is generally justified, perhaps with the exception of Luca Marenzio's motet 'Jubilate Deo'. Marenzio worked at the papal court in Rome the largest part of his life, and there the performance practice was predominantly 'a cappella'.

There are some nice examples of expression of content here, like in the third item, where "die zwei verliebten Herzen" (the two hearts in love) are illustrated by the frequent imitation between pairs of voices throughout the piece.

On the whole the music is well performed. The least satisfying item is Köler's motet 'Eile, Gott, mich zu erretten', in which elements in the text are emphasized, which is the right thing to do in music of the 'seconda prattica', but not in compositions rooted in the 'prima prattica' where music is basically more important than the text.

Although I was able to notice now and then that the singers pay much attention to the text, I often simply didn’t understand what exactly they were singing. The booklet doesn't help here, since the lyrics are not printed. It also fails to mention which singers are singing the solo parts in Löhner's lamento and the 'song of thanksgiving' 'Fürstliche Gnade zu Wasser und Lande' by Schütz. They are singing these pieces quite well, with stylish ornamentation. In both cases the instrumentalists – not named in the booklet - have ample opportunities to display their qualities.

To sum up, this is a quite interesting release with mostly totally unknown music, in regard to quality certainly worth hearing.

Johan van Veen



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