German songs c.1500

Tugend und Untugend (Virtue and Vice)
German Secular Songs and Instrumental Music from the Time of Luther
Convivium Musicum / Ensemble Villanella - Sven Berger
Naxos 8.553352


  1. Isaac: Carmen à 5 (2 shawms, 2 sackbuts, dulcian, percussion)
  2. Obrecht: Stat ein meskin (2 shawms, 2 sackbuts)
  3. Senfl: Will niemand singen (alto, soprano, recorder, guitar)
  4. Senfl: Ein Maidlein zue dem Brunnen ging (2 sopranos, recorder guitar)
  5. Isaac: In meinem Sinn (clavichord)
  6. Hofhaimer: Erst weis ich, was die Liebe ist (tenor, fiddle, bass viol)
  7. Isaac: In meinem Sinn (clavichord)
  8. Isaac: In meinem Sinn (flute, recorder, fiddle, bass viol)
  9. Senfl: Dort oben auf dem Berge (tenor, 2 sopranos, 2 crumhorns, sackbut, curtal)
  10. Glogauer Liederbuch: Zenner greyner (tenor, shawm, sackbut, curtal, percussion)
  11. Isaac: Greiner zancker (bass, tenor, soprano, bagpipe, lute, fiddle, bass viol)
  12. Finck: Greiner Zanner (2 shawms, 2 sackbuts, curtal)
  13. Ammerbach: Die Megdlein sind von Flandern (4 crumhorns)
  14. Hofhaimer: Greiner Zanner (bass, tenor, soprano, 3 recorders, 2 fiddles, bass viol, 2 lutes, percussion)
  15. Senfl: Nun wollt ihr hören neue Mär' (2 sopranos, bagpipe, guitar)
  16. Isaac: Mein Freud allein (soprano, flute, guitar)
  17. Senfl: Ich soll und müeß ein'n Büehlen (alto, soprano, recorder, guitar)
  18. Senfl: Oho, so geb' der Mann (soprano, alto, tenor, bagpipe, guitar)
  19. Bruck: So trinken wir alle (2 shawms, 2 sackbuts, curtal)
  20. Küffer: Heth sold ein meisken garn om win (2 shawms, 2 sackbuts)
  21. Senfl: Es wollt ein Maidlein Wasser holn (soprano, 2 fiddles, lute, bass viol)
  22. Senfl: Es wollt ein Frau zuem Weine gahn (tenor, soprano, 2 fiddles, flute, bass viol)
  23. Finck: Gloria laus (2 sackbuts, shawm, curtal, percussion)
  24. Senfl: Lamentatio (fiddle, lute, crumhorn, bass viol, percussion)
  25. Meyer: Bicinium germanicum (2 harps)
  26. Isaac: Ich stund an einem Morgen (harp, lute, fiddle, bass viol)
  27. Senfl: Ich stuend an einem Morgen (bass, fiddle, 2 lutes, bass viol)
  28. Rhaw: Ich stuend an einem Morgen (soprano, tenor, recorder, bass viol)
  29. Senfl: Abrecht mirs schwer (2 shawms, 2 sackbuts)
  30. Isaac: La mi la sol (2 shawms, 2 sackbuts)
  31. Hofhaimer: Min ainigs A (soprano, flute, guitar)
  32. Hofhaimer: Mein einigs A (clavichord)
  33. Hofhaimer: Zucht, eer und lob (clavichord)
  34. Hofhaimer: Zucht, eer und lob (soprano, recorder, guitar)
  35. Isaac: Las rauschen (2 sackbuts, 2 curtals)
  36. Bruck: Es ging ein Landsknecht über Feld (3 tenors, 3 sopranos, 2 fiddles, 2 lutes, bass viol, percussion)
  37. Senfl: Ich weiß nicht was er ihr verhieß (shawm, 2 sackbuts, curtal)
  38. Senfl: Ich weiß nicht was er ihr verhieß (2 tenors, 2 sopranos, 2 shawms, 2 sackbuts, curtal)

Performers: Roy Andersson (sackbut), Sven Berger (crumhorn, percussion, shawm, bagpipe, recorder, flute, tenor voice), Andreas Edlund (clavichord, crumhorn, curtal, percussion, shawm), Stig Josefsson (crumhorn), Sabine Karlsson (percussion), Eva Niste (sackbut), Christer Nyström (curtal, crumhorn), Jonas Bengtsson (bass voice, recorder, flute), Pia Brinkmann (recorder, soprano voice), Bo Ejeby (tenor voice), Itati Etcheverry (recorder), Jonas Franke-Blom (tenor voice, percussion), Liliane Håkansson (mezzosoprano voice), Göran Josefsson (lute), Anders Karlsson (lute, guitar), Carina Klein (fiddle), Cecilia Luther (fiddle), Kenneth Medin (viol), Anne Pajonen (fiddle, harp), Fumiko Okino (harp), Maria Strand (soprano voice, bagpipe, recorder), Charlotte Edström (voice), Helena Ek (soprano voice)

Playing time: 70'

Recording date: May & September 1994

This recording contains a broad selection of German music from 1450-1550, including an impressive array of instruments (along with a nice descriptive essay on them). The use of the clavichord dates to about c.1400 in Germany, and here is a rare opportunity to hear it in music of this era.

Along with the more usual songs of the period, this recording features some of the early polyphonic repertory which might have been conceived instrumentally. Several pieces here survive without texts, and it is often suspected that they were instrumental compositions, a field in which Isaac and Agricola were apparently pioneers. However, it is also possible that the texts were simply lost or that instrumental interpretations were later applied to what were originally vocal pieces.

A fine recording which illustrates somewhat earlier German repertory:

Chansonniers Allemands du XVe siècle
Ferrara Ensemble - Crawford Young
Arcana 35

Ludwig Senfl of Switzerland was one of the first Germanic composers to work productively in all the forms of the time, and is represented heavily in the present program. A dedicated recording in similar style:

Senfl: Motette / Lieder / Oden
Clemencic Consort - René Clemencic
Accord 220632

Some analogous secular programs, the latter entirely instrumental:

The Triumphs of Maximilian
John Potter / Musica Antiqua of London - Philip Thorby
Signum 004
Salve festa dies
Musik der Reformationszeit
Bläser-Collegium Liepzig
Raum Klang 9501

A significant survey devoted to the sacred end of the Reformation:

Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott
Musick der Reformation - Luther / Walter / Müntzer
Mitglieder des Dresdner Kreuzchores / Capella Fidicinia - Hans Grüß
Berlin Classics 0091192 (2 CDs)

Although the present survey is oriented around the time of Luther, it does not select Protestant composers with any favoritism. In fact, Isaac, Obrecht and Senfl were Catholic.

Another survey focusing on three major composers of the period, including several secular works, most in German or Dutch:

Isaac, Obrecht, De La Rue
Capella Sancti Michaelis / Currende Consort - Erik Van Nevel
Eufoda 1166

Recordings devoted to the important German keyboard tabulatures of the era, some of which are represented on the present citation:

Das Buxheimer Orgelbuch, Volume 1
Fifteenth Century Organ Transcriptions
Joseph Payne
Naxos 8.553466
Johannes von Lublin: Tabulatura 1540
René Clemencic
Arte Nova 39116
Tabulatur des Clemens Hör
René Clemencic
Arte Nova 39105

Finally, other recordings by the present ensembles:

At the Sign of the Crumhorn
Flemish Songs and Dance Music from the Susato Music Books
Convivium Musicum Gothenburgense - Sven Berger & Andreas Edlund
Naxos 8.554425
Monsieur Arbeau's School of Dancing, Vol. I
Convivium Musicum - Sven Berger / Convivium Vocale - Mikael Paulsson
Musica Rediviva 001
The Time of Maying
Evergreens from the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Ensemble Villanella - Sven Berger
Musica Rediviva 002
Mr. Arbeau's School of Dancing, Volume II
Convivium Musicum - Sven Berger
Musica Rediviva 005
Still Smiling
From the Musical World of Leonardo da Vinci
Convivium Musicum - Sven Berger
Musica Rediviva 006

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Todd M. McComb