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Johnnes HEROLDT (c. 1550–1604)
Historia Des Leidens: Und Sterbens Herrn Und Heilands Jesu Christi (1594) [15:28]
Teodoro CLINIO (1548/9–1601)
Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundum Joannem (1595) [40:42]
Ensemble Triagonale: Michael Paumgarten (director, tenor); Theresa Dlouhy-Staber (soprano); Terry Wey (countertenor); Michael Gerzabek (countertenor); Christian Paumgarten (tenor); Ulfried Staber (bass)
rec. St. Hubertus Sekirn (Wörthersee) 27-29 May 2015
CPO 555 025-2 [56:10]

This is a splendid example of music most of us will discover only through the medium of the CD. Its interest –apart from the excellent quality of the music making – lies in the juxtaposition of two passion accounts, one very much a Protestant version, the other a Catholic one, written in successive years, both products of the post Reformation period.

It is often forgotten how much the Reformation penetrated into Austria before retreating. Heroldt himself had to leave Austria in 1601. The Matthew Passion on this CD, in five parts, was composed for use in Klagenfurt, where he lived. This remains his most significant extant work – there is an alternative recording from 1991 (Erato 2292-45463-2) accompanied by organ. The current version is a capella and, I think, stronger for the simplicity of expression.

Heroldt’s version of the Passion is in German, with the text heavily cut and interpolated by meditative chorales, from the Lutheran hymn ‘O Mensch bewein dein Sünde gross’ (‘O man, thy grievous sin bemoan’); this was common practice in the Lutheran churches to focus attention on the meaning of the text just recited, as we know from the great Bach Passions.

This Passion has a remarkable beauty in its austerity and devotion, and the precision of the singing brings out its reverence as well as its purely musical qualities.

The contrast with Clinio’s Passion is fascinating. Clinio was an Italian and a Catholic, writing at an interesting time in religious-musical history. The Council of Trent had led to important changes in the practice of Church music. For a composer-monk like Clinio this created special challenges. His order, the Canons Regular of St. Salvatore had resisted the move to polyphony in religious services. For them –as was general practice – the alternatim Mass (as found, for instances in the Masses of Merulo, some of the finest of which may be heard in a recent collection on Brilliant Classics 95145) in which organ and chant alternate. The compromise came in permitting polyphony interspersed with plainsong.

In Clinio’s passion (for Good Friday) there is a clear narrative thread. The narrative (here impeccably sung, with perfect Latin diction) is interspersed with polyphonic settings of the words of Christ and other speakers. Words are not secondary to music – they are meant to be heard and considered, within the context of Holy Week liturgy. The effect is both simple and intense.

Ensemble Triagonale is a group of singers based in Carinthia – their voices blend beautifully here. Recording quality is impeccable – each strand can be followed and the acoustic is caught perfectly.

This is a bit off the beaten track, but worthy of a place in any collection of religious music for its own value, and not simply as a historical document.

Michael Wilkinson
 
Detailed contents
Heroldt

Das Leiden unsers Herren Jesu Christi [4.18]
Choral – O Mensch bewein dein Sünde gross [1.43]
Der ander Theil – Da nahm Pilatus Jesum [3.48]
Choral – So last uns nun ihm dankbar sein [1.37]
Der dritte Theil – Jesus aber betet vor seine Creutziger [4.02]

Clinio
Passio Domini [1.15]
Quem quaeritis [1.53]
Dixi vobis [1.11]
Mitte gladium! [2.02]
Nunquid et tu [1.17]
Ego palum locutus sum [2.11]
Si male locutus sum [2.29]
Quam accusationem [2.03]
Tu es Rex Judaeorum? [1.42]
Regnum meum [1.29]
Tu dicis [1.39]
Ego nulla invenio [2.13]
Ecce, adduco vobis [0.53]
Ecce homo! [2.39]
Mihi non loqueris [1.54]
Si hunc dimittis [2.15]
Tunc ergo tradidit [1.29]
Noli scribere [1.21]
Non scindimus [1.21]
Mulier, ecce filius tuus! [2.32]
Judei ergo [2.04]
Post haec autem [2.30]

 

 



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