K. Stackmann & K. H. Bertau, Heinrich von Meissen: Leiche, Sangsprüche, Lieder
Sequentia, Ensemble für Musik des Mittelalters
Women's vocal ensemble: Karen Clark (voice), Johanna Koslowsky (voice), Suzie Le Blanc (voice), Laurie Monahan (voice), Lena Susanne Norin (voice), Barbara Thornton (voice)
Men's vocal ensemble: Benjamin Bagby (voice), Stephen Grant (voice), Eric Mentzel (voice), Raimund Nolte (voice), Matthias Senn (voice)
Instrumental ensemble: Benjamin Bagby (harp), Cheryl Ann Fulton (harp)
Barbara Thornton & Benjamin Bagby, dirs.
Playing time: 62' 55"
Recording site and date:
Church of St. Osdag, Mandelsloh. Germany [03/1990], rel. 2000.
Diapason (#-p.): 478-70 (february 2001)
Information from CD. A very accomplished recording with the unforgettable voice of late Barbara Thornton.
This CD is also available as a Book + CD: Frauenlob's Song of Songs - A Medieval German Poet And His Masterpiece.
Known as "Frauenlob" and also such combinations as Meister Heinrich Vrowenlop, Heinrich von Meissen (c.1250/60-1318) was one of the most important minnesingers. Although relatively little is known of his life, aside from court positions in Prague and Mainz, he was apparently a prodigious musical talent. Frauenlob was one of the composers who worked in a transitional style in German lyric between that of Walther von der Vogelweide and Oswald von Wolkenstein. The form of this massive cycle is that of the German leich, the analogous narrative form to the French-Celtic lai. The texts themselves are German poetic renditions of the Canticum Canticorum.
The project to record the Frauenleich is one which obviously took Sequentia a great deal of time to bring to fruition. In fact, this performance of 1990 was already a revamped version of their first work with the piece (in concert) in 1985. Apparently, the ten-year delay in the release was caused by problems with the analog master, and an inability to restore it. They even abandoned the idea of using this master, planning to record the Frauenleich again, but the plan changed after Barbara Thornton's death, and the master was eventually recovered with advanced digital techniques. A recording with an interesting history....
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