Sound Samples & Downloads
Johann Valentin RATHGEBER (1682
Missa St. Benedicti:-
Laudem virum gloriosum in C, op. 14,19 [8:20]
Ave Regina coelorum in f minor, op. 16,12 [1:37]
Laudibus cives in C, op. 11,15 [3:01]
Salve Regina in G, op. 16,20 [2:03]
Ave Regina coelorum in g minor, op. 16,10 [3:12]
Litaniae Lauretanae in C, op. 5,1 [7:47]
Salve Regina in C, op. 16,19 [2:36]
Ave Regina coelorum in E flat, op. 5,10 [2:00]
Te Joseph celebrent in B flat, op. 11,14 [4:12]
Salve Regina in C, op. 5,16 [3:10]
Vir Dei in E flat, op. 20,29 [3:10]
Concerto in C, op. 6,21* [5:36]
Missa S.P. Benedicti in B flat, op. 3,1 [23:59]
Margriet Buchberger (soprano), Peter de Groot (alto), Marco van
de Klundert (tenor), Hans Wijers (bas), Pauline Nobes (violin) (*)
Monteverdi Ensemble Würzburg/Matthias Beckert
rec. 26-28 September 2008, Kirche der Erlöserschwestern, Würzburg,
CPO 777 425-2 [70:53]
Valentin Rathgeber was a very successful composer in Germany
in the first half on the 18th century. He was born in Fulda,
studied theology in Würzburg, where he also became a schoolmaster
and an organist. In 1707 he entered the seminary at Banz as
a chamber musician, and here he was ordained in 1711. In the
same year he was appointed choirmaster, a post he held until
his death. As a composer he concentrated on writing sacred music
for churches which couldn't afford professional singers and
players. His music is melodious and technically undemanding.
As result his compositions enjoyed wide dissemination in Germany,
in particular in the south.
In modern times he is mostly remembered because of his Tafel-Confect,
a collection of secular songs and dialogues. These were printed
in two volumes in 1733 and 1737 respectively. His sacred music
is mostly forgotten, which is probably attributable to its relatively
sparse technical requirements. But stylistically his sacred
works are important as they are among the very first examples
of music which moves away from the learned style of the German
baroque. In this respect Rathgeber's oeuvre is a link between
the baroque era and the classical era.
His compositional ideals were brevity, facility and suavity.
These are well reflected in the compositions performed on this
disc. Rathgeber was especially devoted to the Virgin Mary, which
explains the large number of compositions with Marian connections.
No fewer than four collections refer to the Marian cult: Harmonia
Mariano-Musica opus 5 [tracks 6 and 10], Decas Mariano-Musica
opus 7, Antiphonale Marianum opus 16 [tracks 2, 4, 5 and 7]
and Cultus Marianus opus 18.
There is another reason why so many Marian motets have been
recorded here. This disc is devoted to Pope Benedict XVI, who
also has a special devotion to Mary. This explains why the other
pieces on the programme are connected to St Benedict of Nursia,
the author of the Rule of St Benedict, sometimes considered
the founder of Western monasticism.
Two Offertories for the feast of St Benedict open and close
the first section of this disc: Laudem virum gloriosum
[track 1] and Vir Dei [track 11]. In addition to these
and the Marian motets there are two pieces from Rathgeber's
opus 11, a collection of 36 Vesper hymns for feasts of the Lord
and feasts of saints. Laudibus cives is a hymn for St
Benedict, Te Joseph celebrant for St Joseph.
Salve Regina and Ave regina coelorum belong to
the most frequently set Marian texts. Three settings of each
are recorded. We also hear a setting of the Litaniae Lauretanae,
whose text probably dates from the 12th century. In 1587 its
use in public worship was approved in 1587 by Pope Sixtus V.
It is another piece which is connected to Mary. Various names
are given to her: Mother of Christ, Mother most pure, Virgin
most prudent, Spiritual vessel, Queens of martyrs - and every
name is followed by the prayer 'Ora pro nobis' (pray for us).
All pieces date from between 1725 and 1736, and they are indeed
very different from the sacred music written at that time. There
is very little polyphony (mostly in the mass), and the solo
episodes are short. Only the first item, Laudem virum gloriosum,
contains two da capo arias, for soprano and alto respectively,
as well as a recitative for alto. The instrumental ensemble
is small: two trumpets, timpani, four violins, cello, double
bass and organ. Its most prominent role is in the mass, for
instance in the Gloria whose second section opens and closes
with an instrumental episode.
The two sections of the programme are separated by the Concerto
in C, one of 24 concertos which were published as Chelys
sonora opus 6 in 1728. This particular concerto is for violin
solo with an 'orchestra' in which two trumpets join the tutti
violins and the basso continuo.
This music may be not technically very demanding, but that doesn't
mean that it deserves to be ignored. There are no sensational
discoveries here, and the music is not compulsory listening
for all every music-lovers. In its relative simplicity it is
good music, though, but such repertoire really cries out for
a first-class performance. Fortunately that is exactly what
we receive here: the four soloists all have very nice voices,
and sing their parts immaculately. They are part of the choir,
and therefore participate in the performance of the tutti, which
creates a compelling sense of unity between the soli and tutti
sections. The choir and orchestra are first-rate, but the use
of a choir of 17 voices in the tutti is historically questionable.
The booklet contains all necessary information about the composer
and the music as well as the (Latin) lyrics with German and
English translations. A booklet of CPO can't pass without errors
– or so it seems: the numbering of the tracks on the pages with
the lyrics is a mess.
Johan van Veen