Andreas Hammerschmidt: Vocal works for Passiontide and Easter; Johann Rosenmuller: Dixit Dominus / Gli Scarlattisti Jul10

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Album at a Glance

Tonal and ConsonantChoirPeriod Instruments
Carus Record Label - Carus-Verlag: Mission: “To publish both little known choral works from all eras in critical editions and reliable editions of older works which do not conform to the standards of modern editorial practice... continually expanding the repertoire available to choirs.”
Release date: 2013-04-30


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Andreas Hammerschmidt: Motets for Passiontide and Easter; Johann Rosenmuller: Dixit Dominus / Gli Scarlattisti


This is the second program to come from Carus performed by the vocal ensemble Gli Scarlattisti featuring the music of these two baroque masters, Andreas Hammerschmidt (1611/12-1675) and Johann Rosenmüller (1619-1684). Formed in 1995 by Jochen Arnold, who also directs these performances, Gil Scarlattisti is comprised of professional singers from Germany and Switzerland who specialize in baroque repertoire.

There are two works on the CD. The first is one of Hammerschmidt's most celebrated works, the six part motet Also hat Gott die Welt geliebet of 1671, based on biblical psalms. The second is Rosenmüller's psalm cantata Dixit Dominus. Taking up over two-thirds of the time on the CD, the Hammerschmidt is the major work here, both in terms of length and the performing forces called for. There are about the same number of singers involved in the performance as there are instrumentalists, just over a dozen of each. I think I was initially drawn to this music because of the particular, unique sound Hammerschmidt achieves scoring the instrumental parts. Among a few other instruments, two violins, organ, cello and lute are joined by three trombones, providing a rich and shaded, thickset timbre which contrasts the vocal lines beautifully; and it works especially well in the largely homophonic texture of the music. You can hear an example of how this works in the opening of the sample track provided.

The second work, Rosenmüller's Dixit Dominus, celebrates Christ's ascension into heaven. Interesting metric themes and metric transitions (from triple to duple meter for example), shifting instrumental colors and a vivid musical rendition of the text characterize this festive cantata. Hammerschmidt and Rosenmüller are two great composers who certainly deserve a place in any serious baroque music collection; if they are missing from yours, this excellent Carus CD would be a splendid addition.

Johann Rosenmüller: Dixit Dominus excerpt by different performing forces