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Hieronymus PRĘTORIUS (1560-1629) Missa Tulerunt Dominum meum
Music for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter, including first recording of Missa Tulerunt Dominum Meum
Siglo de Oro/Patrick Allies
rec. 2017, Chapel of Merton College, Oxford
Texts and translations included
DELPHIAN DCD34208 [59:27]

This first recording of Hieronymus Prętorius’ motet and Easter Day Mass, Missa Tulerunt Dominum, is presented as it might have been in the context of Eastertide celebrations in seventeenth-century Hamburg. Though normal Lutheran practice in Bach’s Leipzig allowed only the Kyrie and Gloria in Latin, even on high days, Prętorius set the whole Latin Mass, so he must have expected all the music to be performed. The notes in the booklet state that this ‘was common for choral music in [Hamburg] churches during this period’; I wish more detail had been given.

Whatever the case, I’m pleased and grateful that Siglo de Oro and their sponsors have allowed us to hear this music, on the group’s second recording for Delphian. Their first, Drop down, ye heavens, music for Advent (DCD34184), dubbed ‘a marvellous disc’ by John Quinn – review – contained music by Michael Prętorius. Now they turn their attention to his less well-known namesake Hieronymus, whose music deserves to be better known, as this new album amply demonstrates. All the music is performed a cappella without any instrumental support.

First, however, we have a setting of one of the Maundy Thursday Matins responsories by Lassus, also known as Lasse or Lasso, whose St Matthew Passion was recently recorded by Musica Ficta directed by Bo Holten (Naxos – review). The short Tristis est anima (My soul is weary) subsumes into its four minutes all the pathos of that Passion and of Lassus’ Lagrime di san Pietro, a Signum recording of which I reviewed alongside it. Equally importantly, Siglo de Oro match the high quality, both of those two recordings and of their own first outing for Delphian.

Filię Jerusalem, nolite (Daughters of Jerusalem weep not for me) does not belong specifically to the Holy Week liturgy but this quotation from Jesus in Luke’s gospel was also set by de Monte and Soriano and its inclusion is apt. Jakob Handl’s setting employs the divided choir technique, more familiar in more spectacular form from Venetian music. There need be no surprise about this: Prętorius himself was an exponent of the technique to the extent that there’s a CPO CD of his music entitled San Marco in Hamburg (777245-2 – Christmas 2009).

Of the two works for Good Friday, O vos omnes (O all ye that pass by) from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, forms part of the Improperia, or Reproaches, but the first four verses of Psalm 62 (63 in Latin) didn’t to the best of my knowledge ever form part of the Passiontide liturgy1, though they are appropriate enough, especially in this setting by Hassler. In any case, without having to subscribe to the Roman rite, Lutheran choirs had more freedom of choice.

All of which brings us to the heart of the recording: Prętorius’ motet Tulerunt Dominum meum, the words of Mary Magdalene on finding the empty tomb on Easter morning, ‘they have taken away my Lord’, and the Mass for which he used it as his cantus firmus. Both contain very fine music, which makes it so surprising that only now do we have a recording. Better still, Siglo de Oro give a performance which is unlikely to be superseded.

The booklet tends to imply that the Mass is not full of the joy of Easter, but, while it’s true that the inspiration for the motet is the grief of Mary as she speaks to the ‘gardener’, before realising that he is the risen Jesus, even the opening Kyries sound far from penitential and there’s all the exultation one could want in the Gloria. Even the Creed is set in a florid manner.

Between the Gloria and the rest of the Mass Andrea Gabrieli’s Maria stabat (Mary stood by the tomb) provides a moment of reflection.

The final work, Prętorius’ Surrexit pastor bonus (The good shepherd has risen) ends the programme on a high note. This motet is also included on the CD album San Marco in Venice (above). Much as I like that performance, Siglo de Oro’s slightly more measured but equally joyful approach to this piece pushes the CPO into an honourable second position.

Everything is in place here to merit a strong recommendation: unjustly neglected music, very well performed and recorded and with a helpful booklet of notes.

I have one regret: that the recording is rather short and that with a little more material this could have become the equivalent of Paul McCreesh’s reconstructions of, for example, a Lutheran Christmas Mass (DG Archiv) or the other (Michael) Prętorius’ Easter Mass (CPO 999953-2 – review DL Roundup April 2012/2).

That said, I hope that we don’t have too long to wait for more recordings of this quality of Hieronymus Prętorius’ music. Meanwhile, enjoy this alongside the CPO San Marco in Hamburg (above) and a Hyperion recording from the Cardinall’s Musick of his Magnificat and motets (CDA67669 – download in mp3 or lossless from hyperion-records.co.uk, currently just £5). This excellent album of music for Passiontide and Easter makes an excellent place to start.

1 Consulting my 1955 Holy Week Manual, I see that St Augustine’s commentary on this psalm formed part of Good Friday Matins in the Tridentine rite.

Brian Wilson

Contents
Maundy Thursday

Orlande de LASSUS (1532–1594) Tristis est anima mea (SSS, AA, TTT, BBBB)  [4:10]
Jacob HANDL (Gallus) (1550–1591) Filię Jerusalem, nolite (SSSS, AAAA, TTT, BBBB) [4:48]

Good Friday
Hieronymus PRĘTORIUS (1560–1629) O vos omnes (SSS, AA, TTT, BBB) [4:05]
Hans Leo HASSLER (1564–1612) Deus, Deus meus (Psalm 62 1-4) (SSSS, AA, TTTT, BBB)  [3:44]

Easter Day
Hieronymus PRĘTORIUS Tulerunt Dominum meum (SSSS, AAAA, TTTT, BBBB) [6:47]
Missa Tulerunt Dominum meumKyrie (SSSS, AAAA, TTTT, BBBB) [3:02]
Missa Tulerunt Dominum meum – Gloria (SSSS, AAAA, TTTT, BBBB) [5:35]
Andrea GABRIELI (c.1533–1585) Maria stabat ad monumentum (SSS, A, TTT, BBB) [5:22]
Hieronymus PRĘTORIUS Missa Tulerunt Dominum meumCredo (SSSS, AAAA, TTTT, BBBB) [9:39]
Missa Tulerunt Dominum meumSanctus and Benedictus (SSSS, AAAA, TTTT, BBBB) [4:04]
Missa Tulerunt Dominum meum – Agnus Dei (SSSS, AAAA, TTTT, BBBB) [4:35]
Hieronymus PRĘTORIUS Surrexit pastor bonus (SSS, AA, TTT, BBB) [3:29]

 

 




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