Praetorius: Dances from Terpsichore / Motets

Praetorius: Terpsichore dances / Motets from Musæ Sionæ
Early Music Consort of London - David Munrow
Virgin Veritas Edition 61289


    Michael Praetorius: Terpsichore (1612)
  1. Passameze (Terpsichore #286) à 6 (2 cornetts, 4 sackbuts, timpani)
  2. Spagnoletta (Terpsichore #27) à 4 (3 recorders, tenor rackett, lute)
  3. La Bourée (Terpsichore #32) à 4 (4 racketts)
  4. Pavane de Spaigne (Terpsichore #30) à 4 (2 cornetts, 2 sackbuts)
  5. Courante de M.M. Wustrow (Terpsichore #150) à 4 (2 violins, tenor viol, bass viol, violone, harpsichord)
  6. Suite de Ballets
    1. Ballet des Baccanales (278) à 4 (4 crumhorns)
    2. Ballet des matelotz (280) à 4 (4 sackbuts)
    3. Ballet des coqs (254) à 5 (2 cornetts, 4 sackbuts, 2 recorders, 3 rauschpfeifen, tabor, tambourine)
  7. Gaillard/Reprinse secundam interoirem (Terpsichore #310) à 4 (4 recorders)
  8. La Sarabande (Terpsichore #34) à 4 (2 violins, tenor viol, bass viol, violone, lute, organ)
  9. Suite de Voltes
    1. Volte 1 (243) à 4 (4 recorders, lute, tabor)
    2. Volte 2 (210) à 5 (2 violins, tenor viol, 2 bass viols, violine, harpsichord, tabor)
    3. Volte 3 (211) à 5 (2 cornetts, 3 sackbuts, tabor)
    4. Volte 4 (201) à 5 (full band)

    Michael Praetorius: Eulogodia Sionia (1611)
  10. Resonet in laudibus à 7 (2 countertenors, 2 cornetts, 3 crumhorns, regal)

  11. Michael Praetorius: Polyhymnia caduceatrix (1619)
  12. Erhalt uns, Herr bei deinem Wort à 17 (choir I: trebles, countertenor, baritone, cornett, 2 sackbuts; choir II: countertenor, tenor, bass, 2 violins, 2 bass viols; choir III: trebles, tenor, alto recorder, 3 crumhorns, bass curtal; choir IV: countertenor, 3 sackbuts; continuo: organ, chitarrone, serpent)

  13. Michael Praetorius: Musae Sioniae I (1605)
  14. Gott des Vater wohn uns bei à 8 (choir I: trebles I & II, countertenor, baritone, 4 recorders, chitarrone; choir II: countertenor, 2 tenors, bass, 2 violins, 2 bass viols, violone, harpsichord
  15. Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir à 8 (choir I: 2 cornetts, 2 sackbuts, organ; choir II: countertenor, 3 sackbuts, organ)

  16. Michael Praetorius: Musae Sioniae II (1607)
  17. Allein Gott in des Hoh sei Ehr à 12 (choir I: countertenor, 3 sackbuts, organ; countertenor, violin, 2 bass viols, chitarrone; choir III: countertenor, 3 crumhorns, regal)

  18. Michael Praetorius: Musae Sioniae IV
  19. Christus, der uns selig macht à 8 (choir I: trebles, counterenor, tenor, baritone, cornett, 3 sackbuts, organ; choir II: trebles, countertenor, tenor, bass, cornett, 3 sackbuts, organ)

Performers: The Early music Consort of London / Boys of the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St. Albans, Peter Hurford dir. See LP for details.

Playing time: 53'

Recording date: December 1973

Previously issued as: EMI HMV CSD 3761 (LP)

This disc is separated into two parts: the first is dedicated to instrumental dances taken from Terpsichore, the huge compilation of dances made or collected by the composer. As always with Munrow, we are in front of a festive view, which doesn't lack for poetry when needed (Gaillard or Sarabande). But the alchemy of timbres used by Munrow (Ballet des Coqs - Passameze - Bourée), allows a perfect differentiation between the dances, without risk of lassitude. Munrow's virtusity and sense of ornementation (cf. Music of the Crusades) is also highlighted here (Suite de Volte). The second part of the disc illustrates the art of Praetorius in the domain of sacred vocal music, where he proves his knowledge: all use a great number of voices and often a double choir. The joyful "Gott der Vater..." is here very well put in context. "Allein Gott..." is sung by soloists accompanied by instruments only. A good example of Lutheran liturgy during the 16th century.

Bruno Cornec

Michael Praetorius (1571-1621) was a German composer sitting in a unique historical position. He had little musical training and was largely self-taught, however he pursued that course with keen enthusiasm, and ended up producing the collections Terpsichore & Musæ Sionæ which are milestones in some ways. Terpsichore is like an encyclopedia of dance music, while Musæ Sionæ functions both as a summation of earlier Reformation psalm efforts as well as looking ahead somewhat to more Italian influenced styles. However, it is still hard not to see Praetorius as a fundamentally conservative composer.

This is a re-release on Virgin Edition of what was previously an EMI Studio CD. Perhaps the path of this particular recording will be chronicled one day, but as Bruno says above it is a classic.

Other major recordings devoted to Praetorius, choral music:

Praetorius: Mass for Christmas Morning
Gabrieli Consort & Players - Paul McCreesh
Archiv 439 250
Praetorius: Magnificat, etc.
Huelgas Ensemble - Paul Van Nevel
Sony Vivarte 48039
Praetorius: Polyhymnia Caduceatrix & Panegyrica
La Capella Ducale / Musica Fiata Köln - Roland Wilson
Sony Vivarte 62929 (2 CDs)
Praetorius: Pier Natus in Bethlehem
Viva Voce
Bis 1035

And instrumental music:

Praetorius: Terpsichore
New London Consort - Philip Pickett
L'Oiseau Lyre 414 633
Praetorius: Music from Terpsichore
The Parley of Instruments Renaissance Violin Band - Peter Holman
Hyperion 67240
Praetorius: Terpsichore Musarum (1612)
Ricercar Consort / La Fenice
Ricercar 245012
Renaissance and Early Dance Music
Praetorius: Terpsichore
Ulsamer Collegium
DG Archiv 415 294
Praetorius: Danses de Terpsichore
Musica Antiqua - Christian Mendoze
Pierre Vérany 730067
Praetorius: Dances from Terpsichore
Westra Aros Pijpare, Lena Hellstrom-farnlof / Ensemble Bourrasque - Bertil Färnlöf
Naxos 8.553865
Dances from the time of Praetorius
Collegium Terpsichore - Fritz Neumeyer
Archiv Produktion APM 14 166 (LP)
Danse music from Europe of the early 17th century
Praetorius Consort - Christopher Ball
Arion 38316 (LP)

Besides the achievements of Praetorius, native German musical composition began to come into its own in the years before 1600. Composers such as Leonhard Lechner (c.1553-1606) & Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612) effectively set the stage for the summations of Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672). A couple of recordings by world-class ensembles:

Lechner: Sprüche von Leben und Tod und andere neue Teutsche Lieder
Sacred and Secular Songs
Cantus Cölln - Konrad Junghänel
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77182
Hassler: Missa super Dixit Maria / Motets
Ensemble Vocal Européen - Philippe Herreweghe
Harmonia Mundi 901401

Lechner apparently studied with Lassus, and while his music does show some of those newer elements, it is still fundamentally conservative in the 16th century Protestant tradition. Hassler traveled more widely, but still comes back to the same Protestant roots.

An anthology devoted to the earlier Reformation psalms:

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)

And music by another Praetorius:

Vesper Music for St Michael's Day
Hieronymus Praetorius
Weser Renaissance Bremen - Manfred Cordes
CPO 999649

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Todd M. McComb