Andreas HAMMERSCHMIDT (1611/12-1675)
Machet die Tore weit [1:40]
Meine Seele Gott erhebt [3:20]
Meine Seele erhebt den Herren [5:41]
Fürchtet euch nicht [2:04]
Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe [3:24]
Das Wort ward Fleisch [3:04]
Wo ist der neugeborne König? [4:23]
Das ist je gewisslich wahr [3:01]
Singst dem Herr nein nneues Lied [2:41]
Alleluja! Freuet euch, ihr Christen [4:12]
Johann ROSENMÜLLER (1619-1684)
Magnificat [13:50]
Gli Scarlattisti/Jochem Arnold
rec. February (Rosenmüller) and September 2011 (Hammerschmidt), Reutlingen-Gönningen
Texts and translations included
CARUS 83.375 [47:30]
Andreas Hammerschmidt (1611/12-1675) is celebrating, give or take a year - no one is quite sure - his 400th birthday. The Bohemian-born composer moved to Saxony in his youth, becoming an organist in the prosperous city of Zittau. Much information about the composer was lost in a disastrous fire in the city in 1757.  This disc places his works in liturgical context, in a sequence that will be continued in the forthcoming second volume devoted to his music. Each disc will also feature a work by his contemporary Johann Rosenmüller, who is considerably the better known of the two.
Hammerschmidt is represented here by ten compositions starting with Machet die Tore weit, a six part motet on Psalm 24, festive and jubilatory. Each of the works is brief, and none, in fact, lasts more than six minutes in length.  One of the most impressive and moving is Meine Seele erhebt den Herren written for accompanying cornetts and trombones. This warmly textured work, also festive, has rich dance patterns at its heart and is notably well-balanced with the vocal writing and orchestral passages complementing each other perfectly. A sequence of Christmas pieces follows. Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe is particularly well performed by the ensemble, Gli Scarlattisti directed by Jochen Arnold. Here the affirmative and flowing tempo is subtly modified. The echoing polyphony and brass writing in Das Wort ward Fleisch is in the best German style, conveying its textual message with both richness and directness. Deft echo effects enhance the motet Das ist je gewisslich wahr where, once again, that burnished German School brass writing presents a warmly supportive cushion of sound.
Rosenmüller’s Magnificat offers nine brief movements, but each is charged with a very plausible sense of character. These range from the energy and thwack of the Fecit potentiam with its incisive fiddles and energetic chorus, to the vitality of the solo voices elsewhere.
Extremely well recorded, and scrupulously performed, this celebratory tribute makes a good case for Hammerschmidt's small-scale but enjoyable works.
Jonathan Woolf
A celebratory tribute making a good case for these small-scale but enjoyable works.