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"The Flute-Heaven of the Gods"

The Royal Wind Music
Dir: Paul Leenhouts

rec: April 7 - 11, 2008, Amsterdam, Kerk van Ransdorp
Lindoro - MPC-0119 (© 2009) (64'42")
Liner-notes: E/D/N/S

Emanuel ADRIAENSEN (c1550-1604): Almande Prince [4]; anon: Bourée d'Avignonez (arr André Danican Philidor l'ainé); De [lustelycke] mey [16]; En m'en revenant de Sainct Nicolas; Mall sims; When Daphne from fair Phoebus did fly; Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750): Es reißet euch ein schrecklich Ende, cantata (BWV 90) (Leit uns mit deiner rechten Hand, chorale); O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß (BWV 402) [21]; O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß (BWV 622) [20]; Vater unser im Himmelreich (BWV 737; Andreas BÖHLEN (b.1983): Boffons (on a theme of Jacob van Eyck) (improvisation)a; William BRADE (1560-1630): [Courante] XXIV (Orainge) & XXXII (L'Avignonne) [12]; Jacobus CLEMENS NON PAPA (c1510/15-1555/56): De lustelycke mey is nu in sijnen tijd [3]; John DOWLAND (1563-1626): All people that on earth do dwell [13]; Lachrimae antiquae [8]; The Earle of Essex Galliard [8]; Robert DOWLAND (c1591-1641): Amarilli mia bella [9]; Jacob VAN EYCK (c1590-1657): Amarilli mia bellab [18]; Giovanni GASTOLDI (1550-1619): Questa dolce sirena [17]; Adam GUMPELZHAIMER (1559-1625): Vater unser im Himmelreich (Canon in subdiapason) [10]; Valentin HAUSSMANN (1565-1614): Tantz LXXIV [6]; Matthijs LUNENBURG (b.1981): Ricercar sopra 'De lustelycke mey' (improvisation)d; Thomas MORLEY (c1557-1602): Nancie (FWV XII) (var 1) [1]; Johann PACHELBEL (1653-1706): Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir [19]; Michael PRAETORIUS (1571/72-1621): La Bourrée (XXXII) (exc) [11]; Samuel SCHEIDT (1587-1654): Cantio Sacra Vater unser im Himmelreich (exc) [14]; Valentin SCHUMAN (c1520-after 1559): Vater unser im Himmelreichc [2]; Johann Ulrich STEIGLEDER (1593-1635): Vater unser im Himmelreich, IV [15]; Jan Pieterszoon SWEELINCK (1562-1621): Est-ce Mars; Pseaume 68 [7]; Pseaume 134 [7]

Sources: [1] div, Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, [n.d.]; [2] Valentin Schuman, Geistliche Lieder, 1539; [3] div, Datierste boeck van den nieuwe duytsche Liedekens, 1554; [4] Emanuel Adriaensen, Pratum Musicum, 1584; [5] div, Airs de court, 1597; [6] Valentin Haußmann, Rest von Polnischen und anderen Täntzen, 1603; [7] Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Cinquante Pseaumes de David, 1604; [8] John Dowland, Lachrimae, or Seven Teares ..., 1605; [9] Robert Dowland, A Musicall Banquet, 1610; [10] Adam Gumpelzhaimer, Compendium musicae latino-germanicum, 1611; [11] Michael Praetorius, Terpsichore, 1612; [12] William Brade, Neue lustige Volten, Couranten, Balletten ..., 1621; [13] Thomas Ravenscroft, The Whole Booke of Psalmes, 1621; [14] Samuel Scheidt, Tabulatura Nova, I, 1624; [15] Johann Ulrich Steigleder, Tabulatur Buch, darinnen dass Vater unser ..., 1627; [16] Dirk Janszoon Sweelinck (ed), Livre Septième, 1644; [17] div, Italiaense Balletten met vijf en ses stemmen, 1648; [18] Jacob van Eyck, Der Fluyten Lust-hof, I, 1649; [19] Johann Pachelbel, Erster Theil etlicher Choräle, 1693; [20] Johann Sebastian Bach, Orgelbüchlein, 1713/15; [21] Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Johann Philipp Kirnberger (ed), Joh. Seb. Bachs vierstimmige Choralgesänge, I-IV, 1784-87

Andreas Böhlen (solo a), Erik Bosgraaf (solo b), Stephanie Brandt (solo c), Ruth Dyson, Eva Gemeinhardt, Arwieke Glas, Hester Groenleer, Paul Leenhouts, Matthijs Lunenburg (solo c), Marco Paulo Alves Magalhães, María Martínez Ayerza, Belén Nieto Galán, Filipa Margarida de Silveira Pereira, Monika Ruusmaa, renaissance recorders

In the 16th and 17th centuries music was a natural part of everyday life. This explains the large amounts of music written across Europe. As society was very much international in character, people moved from one country to another, for instance would-be intellectuals on their grand tour and merchants on their business trips. They took their music with them and this way dances, songs and hymns quickly disseminated. Because of this it is no surprise that the many collections of music which were printed in towns like Venice, Paris, Antwerp or Amsterdam often contain the same tunes, albeit under different titles. And these editions led to an even further dissemination of those tunes.

The present disc sheds some light on this phenomenon. The starting point is a collection of instrumental music which was published in Amsterdam in 1640 under the title Der Goden Fluyt-hemel (The Flute-Heaven of the Gods). It contains many tunes which were also known in other countries, such as England, France or Germany. Many of them were also used for variations by the Dutch recorder player and carillonneur Jacob van Eyck in his Der Fluyten Lust-hof (1644, 1646). Rather than playing pieces from these collections The Royal Wind Music has looked at arrangements of these tunes by various composers from England, Germany and the Netherlands.

The repertoire is sometimes for instruments which the performers can choose at will, depending on those which are available. That is the case with pieces like those by Michael Praetorius, William Brade or Valentin Haußman. Often vocal works were printed in instrumental arrangements like Questa dolce sirena by the Italian composer Giovanni Gastoldi, which is played here from a collection which was printed in Amsterdam in 1648. Even music which was not specifically printed for instruments could easily be played on recorders, viols or lute. This explains the inclusion of some psalm settings by Sweelinck. The programme also contains music which was written for the lute (Adriaenssen), the keyboard (Sweelinck's Est-ce mars) or, more specifically, the organ (Pachelbel, Steigleder, Scheidt).

In the liner-notes Paul Leenhouts explains where the various tunes come from and how they have developed in the hands of various composers. It isn't always clear, though, where some tunes have come into existence. O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß, which has especially become famous because of Bach's use of this melody in various works, is an example of a melody which turns up in France and in Germany and was used for different texts. Whether it was originally German or French seems impossible to trace.

Basically the music on this disc is treated as consort music. The choice of a consort of recorders is a logical one as the recorder was one of the most popular instruments at the time, in particular among amateurs. It seems unlikely, though, that a performance with up to 14 recorders has any historical equivalence. The track-list doesn't give the number of parts of all the pieces on this disc, but I assume that nearly all of them could have been played with half this number. Never mind, the result is sounding brilliant and the players deliver outstanding performances. The latest pieces - those by Johann Sebastian Bach - are clearly arrangements, but as the organ and the recorder have much in common the result is quite convincing. It is remarkable that the highly expressive character of the chorale arrangement from the Orgelbüchlein, O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß, comes off so well. The ornamented cantus firmus is given a very moving account.

If you like the recorder this disc is simply irresistible. The programme has been put together intelligently, with a nice variation between dances, secular tunes and sacred hymns. The booklet not only includes extensive programme-notes by Paul Leenhouts, but also a listing of the recorders used and an indication which player plays which instrument in every single piece. The excellent documentation includes a reference to all the sources from which the music is taken. The track-list includes some errors, though: the dates of birth and death of Clemens non Papa and of Scheidt are incorrect; track 28 has Pseaume 68, but in fact it is another excerpt from Scheidt's Cantio Sacra Vater unser im Himmelreich.

This disc is a winner in every respect.

Johan van Veen (© 2012)

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