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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
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 –
– 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
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
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
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
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 –
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.
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.
Contents Maundy Thursday Orlande de LASSUS (1532–1594)Tristis est anima mea (SSS, AA, TTT, BBBB)
Jacob HANDL (Gallus) (1550–1591)Filię Jerusalem, nolite
(SSSS, AAAA, TTT, BBBB)
Good Friday Hieronymus PRĘTORIUS (1560–1629)O vos omnes
(SSS, AA, TTT, BBB)
Hans Leo HASSLER (1564–1612)Deus, Deus meus
(Psalm 62 1-4) (SSSS, AA, TTTT, BBB) [3:44]
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