Intensely Peaceful Listening
In the beautifully remastered Orpheus recording of 16th century German Christmas music IN DULCI JUBILO, enhanced by insightful liner notes and elegant packaging, soprano Elly Ameling, male alto Bernhard Michaelis, tenor Hans-Ulrich Mielsch, and baritone Barry McDaniel are joined by multi-instrumentalists Hans-Martin Linde, Ilse Brix-Meinert, Ulrich Koch, and Johannes Koch, playing recorder, krummhorn, lute, viola da braccio, and viola da gamba, in polyphonic vocal and instrumental works by Michael Praetorius, Bartholomäus Gesius, Johannes Eccard, Johann Walter, Andreas Reussner, and Arnolt Schlick.
Other than Michael Praetorius, whose well-known Es ist ein Ros entsprungen is one of the many delights in this recording, in addition to In dulci jubilo, the composition that gives its title to the recording, the names and music of Bartholomäus Gesius, Johannes Eccard, Johann Walter, Andreas Reussner, Adam Gumpelzhaimer, and Arnolt Schlick are little known by many, including this listener.
Gesius’ Christum wir sollen loben and Ein Kind geborn zu Bethlehem, Eccard’s Ubers Gebirg Maria get, Walter’s Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, Reussner’ Uns ist ein Kindlein heut geborn, Gumpelzhaimer – Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her, and the closing Maria zart of Arnolt Schlick offer endlessly pleasurable listening, with Elly Ameling’s lyric soprano enhancing every track in which she sings.
During the Dark Ages, music of any kind was often beyond the reach of the peasantry that lived in utterly abject conditions, deprived of both medical and spiritual care, and succumbing to disease, wars, plagues, and invasions by barbarians. With the advent of the Renaissance, the music approved by the Catholic Church began to provide spiritual uplift to those poor and illiterate masses. As was the case with the other arts, the music of the period was influenced by the rise of humanistic thought.
Towards the end of the 1960’s the recordings of music of the Renaissance and Baroque eras issued by the Musical Heritage Society became the foremost of their kind, employing original instruments and top-notch vocalists in historically accurate performances. The Orpheus recording of 16th century German Christmas music IN DULCI JUBILO provides an intensely peaceful listening experience in a one-of-a-kind release.
Rafael de Acha © 2022