Frauenlob

Heinrich von Meissen, ca 1260-1318: Frauenlob
The Celestial Woman - Frauenlobs Leich, oder der Guldin Fluegel, zu latin: Cantica Canticorum
Sequentia - Barbara Thornton & Benjamin Bagby, dirs
Deutsche Harmonia mundi 05472 77 309 2 [CD]

Content:

    Heinrich von Meissen: Frauenlob
  1. Ei, ich sach in dem trone
  2. Nu merket, wie sie trüge
  3. Ein bernde meit und eren riche vrouwe
  4. Nu lougen nicht durch icht der schicht
  5. Sit irz die meit, die durch die wüstenunge zoget ?
  6. Den siben kirchen schreib Johann
  7. Ob ich die warheit lerne
  8. Ei, welch ein lebendez minne wort
  9. Ich bin ez die groze von der kür
  10. Ich bin erkennig, nennig, kurc
  11. Der smid von oberlande
  12. Ich binz ein zuckersüzer brunne
  13. Sterke unde zierde hat mich ummehelset
  14. Ein snider sneit mir min gewant
  15. Ich binz der sterne von Jacop
  16. Ich binz der ersten sache kint
  17. Ei, waz sich mischet und unmischet
  18. Wie die döne löne schöne schenken uz der armonien
  19. Nu lat iuch lüsten also hüsches meres
  20. Gein berge climmen nach ir nar die geize

Source:
K. Stackmann & K. H. Bertau, Heinrich von Meissen: Leiche, Sangsprüche, Lieder

Performers:
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.

Reviewed in:
Diapason (#-p.): 478-70 (february 2001)

Comments:
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.

Pierre-F. Roberge

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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Todd M. McComb