Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

A Wind Blows from the East - Four German Medieval Tales
Neidhart von REUENTAL (c.1180-1250)
Lied: Blozen wir den anger ligen sahen [8.10]
Wolfram von ESCHENBACH (c.1170-1220)
Excerpts from the Titurel fragments [24.56]
Oswald von WOLKENSTEIN (1377-1445)
Tagelied: Es seusst dorther von Orient [13.46]
Hans SACHS (1494-1596)
Gesangweise to the tune of “Our Lady” [17.39]
Drew Minter (voice and medieval harp)
rec. Christ the King Episcopal Church, Stone Ridge, New York (no date given)
BRIDGE 9372 [64.27]

Experience Classicsonline

On this disc of German Minnesinger music Drew Minter accompanies himself on a harp or more particularly on a 14 string gothic harp and also on a 27 string one made by the redoubtable Lynne Lewandowski. He performs in the style of minstrel entertainment in medieval Germany. The title, I presume, refers to the influence of instruments and other musical practices on central Europe from the Middle East during the extended period of the crusades.
 
In his ground-breaking book ‘Voices and Instruments of the Middle Ages’ Christopher Page (Dent, London, 1987) quotes on p.86, from the great troubadour Gautier de Councy: “A clear, pleasing and beautiful voice, the sound of harp, fiddle psaltery … is suitable for the devotion of the musician’s heart”. So I can say immediately that Minter fits those categories. Later, on p.92, Page quotes from the ‘Roman de Horn’ (c.1170) “The he took the harp. God! whoever saw how well he handled it, touching the strings and making them vibrate, sometimes causing them to sing and at others join in harmonies … reminding us of the heavenly harmonies.” Again Minter gets as close as modern man can to attaining this wondrous world.
 
In another source ‘Music in the Middle Ages by Gustav Reese’ (Dent, London, 1941) we read that the Minnesinger came “from the South, many from Austria” and that “they fall into three main groups, the first from 1150-90” which do not concern us on this recording. The second “and best from c.1190-1220” includes figures like Wolfram and the Bavarian Neidhart, the most prolific it seems of the Minnesinger. The third includes figures like Walter von de Vogelweide and does not concern us either although their more sophisticated songs, texts and notation fed into the great Wolkenstein later in the century. Even later it contributed to the incredibly long-lived composer/poet Hans Sachs who was immortalised by Wagner.
 
So Drew Minter gives us a wide historical range and a reliable overview of early German musical history. The length of these pieces, so often curtailed on discs of early German songs, is heard in full with texts neatly translated in the booklet.
 
Minter dramatizes the songs wonderfully. He is a counter-tenor but there is variety on offer. He uses his ‘big boy’s voice’ in Wolkenstein’s song where he speaks on behalf of a male lover in a colloquy. He also takes on the persona of the evil father in Hans Sachs’ Gesangweise then reverts to counter-tenor when acting as narrator. He has an even lighter voice for a female speaker. In addition he uses subtle and occasional speech, which just lifts the texture as it were and adds even more interest. Occasionally, in between verses, there are harp improvisations using speech rhythms. The harp does not play throughout. Moments of silence allow for the words to register. It might appear to be rather random but it must be remembered that Minter is improvising. He allows the harp to act so as to highlight the tension of a situation, to suggest the lissom attractions of a scene or to convey the unimaginable beauty of the lady.
 
In much music of the 12th and 13th centuries the subject of springtime arises as it does in Neidhart’s piece. “We saw the field lying bare/until the fair Spring drew near”. Also praise and thanks for the miracles of the Virgin Mary are consistent topics as in Hans Sachs’ song in which an evil, adulterous husband who murders his child gets his comeuppance due to the Virgin’s intervention.
 
The longest performance is the piece by Wolfram von Eschenbach, Two fragments from the unfinished ‘Titurel’. Here there’s a real burden on Minter to sustain interest, which on the whole he does. Any decent bookshop will have a Penguin copy of Wolfram’s huge prose tome ‘Parzifal’, which again served to inspire Wagner. What is less well known is that Wolfram also left us two melodies, which Minter uses here. There are two extracts. The first is catchily described as 'The intimate connection of Love, Fate and Death exemplified in the joys and misfortunes of two lovers, Sigune and Schionatulander”. The second has a Conan Doyle type title ‘The Episode of the Mysterious Hound’. Minter also uses word-painting in this long tract for which the harp describes with arpeggios the wind in the evening. Pain is also evoked with some exciting broadening of the modal harmonic palette. Again Minter uses differing voice ranges to hold the attention. On occasion we also get a melodic harp interlude between the verses.
 
Ultimately this is probably a disc for someone already versed in early music. A non-musician friend of mine, when he heard it, was quite captivated and wants me to give him the CD. I may well do this as I am not sure how often I would really want to play it.
 
Full texts with clear and neat translations are given as well as a detailed but not too technical essay by Drew Minter himself.
 
Gary Higginson 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.