Festal Sacred Music of Bavaria

Author: 
Fabrice Fitch

Festal Sacred Music of Bavaria

  • Missa 'Bell'Amfitrit'altera'
  • Canzon duodecimi toni
  • Cantate Domino canticum novum
  • Toccata
  • Canzon noni toni
  • O sacrum convivium
  • Domine Dominus noster
  • Sacerdotes Dei
  • Canzona secundi toni
  • Hic est sacerdos
  • Fantasia sub Elevatione
  • Toccata octavi toni
  • Posuisti Domine
  • (La) Paglia

In this elegant and imaginative contribution to the four hundredth anniversary of the death of Lassus, the music of the ''divine Orlando'' (as the French poet Ronsard called him) is heard alongside works by his younger contemporaries. The chosen setting is not the Bavarian ducal chapel at Munich, but Augsburg Cathedral round the turn of the sixteenth century. Both the Protestant Hans Leo Hassler and the Catholic Christian Erbach worked in that city under the patronage of the immensely wealthy Fugger dynasty whose members acted as finance ministers to the duchy throughout the period. The two composers are audibly indebted to the Venetian school: their choral works, organ toccatas and instrumental canzonas adhere to the patterns set by the Gabrielis.
The programme presents the music in its liturgical context: the movements of Lassus's oft-recorded Bell'Amfitrit' Mass are interspersed with polychoral and instrumental pieces. In most of the vocal works (including the Mass) the choir are doubled by a wind band and no fewer than three organs. Everything is stylishly done: the wind-band pieces are especially gorgeous and balance the movements of the Mass very nicely indeed. The latter receives an opulent interpretation that stands out in a rather crowded field of rival recordings. Voices and instruments blend very satisfyingly in the acoustic of Westminster Cathedral, and the discreet ornamentation from the wind band further enhances the sense of occasion. A highly recommendable issue.'

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