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Bartholomaeus STOCKMANN (fl. 1580-90)
Musica Nuptialis
Candida lux rediit [04:46]
Congratulare Musa [03:45]
Vulnerasti cor meum [02:38]
Veni, dilecte mi [02:54]
Inclyte Thespiadum [04:00]
Sicut iuvenis amat virginem [02:15]
Tota pulchra es [03:39]
Tu qui corda creas [03:07]
Prospera coniugii [03:03]
Commenda Domino viam tuam [03:08]
Commenda Domino viam tuam [02:29]
Befiehl dem Herren deine Wege [01:37]
Anon (Cajus Schmiedtlein?) (c.1566-1611)
Bewar mich Herr (after Stephan Zirler) [03:19]
Dulcis memoria (after Pierre Sandrin) [03:41]
Je prens Engre (after Jacobus Clemens non Papa) [02:43]
Godt ist mÿn Licht (after Jacobus Clemens non Papa) [02:35]
Pater peccavÿ (after Jacobus Clemens non Papa) [06:36]
Capella Hafniensis/Ole Kongstedt
Allan Rasmussen (organ)
rec. February 2004, Kastelskirken, Copenhagen; March 2004, Frederiksborg Castle Chapel, Denmark. DDD
DACAPO 8.226024 [56:50]


Most countries experience a 'Golden Era' at some time during their history. Both England and Denmark went through such a period in the decades around 1600. In both countries it was the royal court which played a key role in the flowering of the arts.

Whereas in England most musicians at and near the court were from the country itself, at the Danish court foreigners held the main positions. Players and composers from outside Denmark like John Dowland from England and Heinrich Schütz from Germany came and went all the time.

Bartholomaeus Stockmann was another composer from Germany, who composed music for the Danish court. Very little of his biography is known. It is only through the title page of the collection of motets recorded here that we know he was born in Brunswick. The year of his birth is a mystery. In 1583 he was cantor at the Grammar School in Flensburg in what is now known as Schleswig-Holstein, the German state which borders Denmark. He seems to have left that position rather soon because of a conflict. He stayed there and spent some time in prison. In 1587 he was engaged as a bass singer at the court in Copenhagen during the reign of Frederik II. When the King died in 1588 Stockmann composed the music for his funeral, which unfortunately has not been preserved. The last traces of Stockmann's presence in Denmark date from 1590. From then on nothing is known about his whereabouts.

This disc presents all the music by Stockmann which has come down to us. The largest part consists of the nine motets collected in 'Musica Nuptialis', which dates from 1590. These wedding motets were written for several occasions. The first two are dedicated to Princess Elisabeth and Duke Heinrich Julius of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel on the occasion of their wedding on 19 April 1590 at Kronborg Castle. For three of the other motets we know for which weddings they were written; the remainder have no indication of names or occasions.

The three last items by Stockmann on this disc were written for his friend Hans Hartmann, who owned the so-called 'Flensburg Collection', which these motets are part of, and which he gave to the St Nicolai Church in Flensburg in 1603. These are so-called 'congratulatory motets', all composed on Hartmann's 'symbolum', a religious text or motto associated with him. In this case it is the fifth verse of Psalm 37: "Commit thy way to the Lord, and hope in him: and he shall bring it to pass. Reveal thy way to the Lord, and hope in him: and he shall bring it to pass". Stockmann has set this text twice in Latin and the first line another time in German.

As these motets are the oldest pieces which were with certainty composed in Denmark, they are of historical importance. Their musical value is less impressive, as there is little that makes them stand out among the many vocal works composed at the time. For example, there are surprisingly few examples of text expression. Madrigalisms - which appear frequently in both sacred and secular vocal music of that time - are almost absent. The music is well sung by the Capella Hafniensis, even though sometimes the upper voices tend to dominate. They produce a clear and pleasant sound and give stylish interpretations. It probably would have been a good idea to perform some motets with instruments colla parte. It is reasonable to assume that weddings of royal or aristocratic personalities were celebrated with a little more pomp than we get here.

The rest of this disc is devoted to pieces from one of the most important manuscripts of organ music of the late 16th century, the so-called 'Danzig Tablature'. It contains some original Fantasias, and a number of intavolations of vocal works, five of which Allan Rasmussen has chosen for this disc. The inclusion of these pieces on this disc is entirely based on historical guesswork: the author could be Cajus Schmiedtlein, the music was probably written in the 1580s, when Schmiedtlein was working in Denmark as an organist. The historical basis for the connection of these organ pieces with the motets by Stockmann is rather thin. Rasmussen does play them well, though, and the music is of fine quality. They give some idea of the kind of music organists played in those days, and which vocal pieces were the most frequently arranged.

To sum up: this disc is more interesting for historical than for musical reasons. I doubt whether this repertoire will appeal to many people outside Denmark or Northern Germany.

Johan van Veen


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