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Historia de Compassione Mariae - Marian Office, 15th Century
[Intonatio] Domine, labia mea aperies [0:23]
[Invitatorium] Christum regem adoremus [3:28]
[Ad Primo Nocturno]
Antiphona I: Domine, dominus noster [2:35]
Antiphona II: Ecce Maria dira pendet [2:08]
Antiphona III: Plangat cum virgine [2:37]
Responsorium I: Egressus est a filia Sion [3:21]
Responsorium II: Vide domine et considera [3:00]
Responsorium III: Quis dabit capiti meo [3:42]
[Ad Secundo Nocturno]
Antiphona IV: Quem genuit mater [3:03]
Antiphona V: Vidit Maria aquam [2:27]
Antiphona VI: Quia filia crucifixo fideliter [2:30]
Responsorium IV: Dilectus meus candidus filiae Jerusalem [2:44]
Responsorium V: Deduc quasi torrentem [3:22]
Responsorium VI: Quis mihi tribuat [3:18]
[Ad Tertio Nocturno]
Antiphona VII: Commota est terra [2:42]
Antiphona VIII: Consolare filia Sion [2:29]
Antiphona IX: O mater benedicta [3:10]
Responsorium VII: O vere stupendos visionis radios [3:53]
Responsorium VIII: Cum vidisset Jesus oculis [3:22]
Responsorium IX: Stella maris candoris ebur [3:30]
Amarcord (Wolfram Lattke, Martin Lattke (tenor), Frank Ozimek (baritone), Daniel Knauft, Holger Krause (bass))
rec. 24 Oct 2009, 17 January 2010, Lichthof of the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, Hamburg.
CPO 777 604-2 [57:57]
The splendour of the music scene in Northern Germany, and especially
in Hamburg, in the 17th and 18th centuries is well documented.
Some of the music written in this period is included in the
series Musica Sacra Hamburgensis 1600-1800 which CPO
started some years ago. Works from the previous centuries are
hardly known. In pre-Reformation Europe the famous masters of
the Franco-Flemish school worked almost exclusively in
the southern half of Europe. In the north liturgical practice
was largely restricted to the performance of monophonic plainsong,
so-called Gregorian chant.
For a long time it was thought that this repertoire was pretty
much standardized and largely identical throughout the continent.
Musicological research has shown that Gregorian chant was constantly
developing, and strongly differed from one region to another.
The repertoire as sung in Hamburg has hardly been investigated
yet. Unfortunately few manuscripts have survived. This was largely
due to the habit of re-using the old parchment on which manuscripts
were written. Moreover, in 1784 the library of Hamburg cathedral
was auctioned, and it is quite possible that some manuscripts
found their way to various libraries and archives in Europe
without being recognized as being of Hamburg origin.
Until recently only six manuscripts with liturgical repertoire
from the pre-Reformation period were known. Therefore the discovery
of another was of great importance. It contains two offices,
one in honour of St Anne, the other in honour of the Virgin
Mary. It is likely that these are the oldest complete cycles
of liturgical music in the history of Hamburg. The late Viacheslav
Kartsovnik, who discovered the manuscript, writes in his liner-notes:
"The artistic value of the chants may be classified as
very high; they use the so-called German chant dialect and stylistically
are situated close to German late medieval vocal poetry."
The Marian Office which is recorded here has the title Historia
de Compassione Gloriosissimae Virginis Mariae, the History
of the Compassion of the Most Glorious Virgin Mary. The word
historia refers here to a series of liturgical readings
performed during one day, including the previous evening. This
Office begins with the intonatio Domine, labia mea aperies
(Lord, open my lips) and the invitatorium Christum regem
adoremus (Let us adore Christ), followed by three Nocturns.
Each Nocturn comprises three antiphons and three responsories.
Each antiphon is followed by a psalm, after which the antiphon
is repeated. The antiphons are strictly ordered according to
the eight modes. Whereas the antiphons are mostly syllabic,
the responsories contain frequent melismatic passages. As far
as the texts are concerned, apart from the psalms most of them
are free poetic texts or paraphrases of biblical passages. The
Office concentrates on the sufferings of Mary at the foot of
the cross and contains various texts which have been frequently
set throughout music history. Examples are O vos omnes
and Vulnerasti cor meum.
This recording has to be valued highly as it sheds light on
an almost unknown period in the musical history of Hamburg.
It also enhances our knowledge of liturgical practice in a part
of Europe which receives little attention. The German ensemble
Amarcord has a wide repertoire from the Middle Ages to modern
times. As one would expect from an ensemble like this the music
of the renaissance has an important place in its repertoire.
That shows here as they provide a convincing interpretation
of this Office. Sometimes I felt that the legato could have
been more fluent, in particular at some wider intervals. Although
the liner-notes don't say so I assume the manuscript contains
the complete psalms. Here we only get a couple of verses from
This is not a disc for the average music-lover, but it is indispensable
for those who have a special interest in liturgical music.
Johan van Veen
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