Notes and Editorial Reviews
MUSIC FOR THE COURT OF MAXIMILIAN II
HYPERION 67579 (67:35
Videns Dominus. Conditor alme siderum. O quam gloriosum. Ascendetis post filium. Continuo lacrimas.
Missa Ascendetis post filium.
Newly formed in late 2004, this vocal ensemble has put together its first recorded program from highly original stuff. Focusing on the court of the Emperor Maximilian II, son and successor (in 1564) of Ferdinand I, the center of attention is Jacobus Vaet (c. 1529–1567), already chapel master to Maximilian a couple of years before he ascended the throne. Pieter Maessens (c. 1505–1562), who was the teacher of Vaet as a choirboy in Courtrai, moved to Ferdinand’s chapel and recruited Vaet. Antonius Galli (d. 1565) held various positions at the court and composed sporadically, but his Mass for six voices occupies much of this program because it uses one of Vaet’s motets as cantus firmus. The immortal Orlandus Lassus would seem out of place in this company, but he is represented by a motet celebrating Maximilian’s coronation as king of Bohemia in 1562, a stepping stone (the throne of Hungary was next) to the imperial dignity. The Munich court where Lassus served had close ties to the Hapsburgs. I cannot find a previous recording of this piece.
Vaet is not unknown on records, for he dates back to a Konrad Ruhland collection of mourning music (
marked the death of Clemens non Papa) and an Erik van Nevel disc (“O quam gloriosum” on a Eufoda CD devoted to Philippe de Monte). Most recently Ars Musicae issued three CDs of his music, though they sent only one for review (30:3), a program that included the motet on which Galli’s Mass was based. Maessens seems to have had his first appearance on records in Paul van Nevel’s recent polychoral disc (review not yet printed as this is written). As for Galli, this is most likely his first appearance on records as well.
Such a collection of rarities would be commendable even if the performances were not so fine. Cinquecento makes this a triumphant debut recording, indicating that we can look forward to more Renaissance polyphony of similar interest. The six male voices, based in Vienna but coming from five countries, display a fine ensemble, doubtless a necessary result of working together without a leader. The Mass by Galli is worth the price of the disc, a fine work of the period and the sort of thing that was just waiting to be revived. Give this disc a hearing and be prepared for a revelation.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber
Works on This Recording
Continuo lachrimas by Jacobus Vaet
O quam gloriosum by Jacobus Vaet
Written: 16th Century
Pacis amans by Orlando de Lassus
Written: by 1570
Videns Dominus by Jacobus Vaet
Discessu by Pieter Maessens
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