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Johann Rosenmuller: Vox Dilecti Mei

Rosenmuller / Ensemble Chelycus / Potter
Release Date: 01/11/2011 
Label:  Ramee   Catalog #: 1009   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Rosenmüller
Performer:  Alex [Countertenor Vocal] Potter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chelycus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



ROSENMÜLLER Motets: O Salvator dilectissime; Christum ducem; In te Domine speravi; O dives omnium; Vox dilecti mei; O anima mea suspire ardenter. Sonatas: III and XII. Sonata for 2 Violins Alex Potter (ct); Chelycus (period instruments) RAMÉE 1009 (66:05 Text and Translation)


Johann Rosenmüller is one of those composers from the generation after Heinrich Schütz who were prominent in the world of Read more German sacred music, but he had a rather problematic lifestyle. We don’t know when or where he was born (1617 is a rough estimate based upon his age at his death in Venice—and yes, this is a Thomas Mann allusion). All that is known is that in 1645 he traveled to Venice under the auspices of the Elector of Saxony, returning to Leipzig as director of sacred music at the university a year later and publishing his first works, a set of proverbs in 1748. It would seem he was well established as a significant composer of both sacred and secular German music in 1755 when he was brought up on charges of pederasty (and hence the Mann reference). A public trial was undertaken in Dresden and he apparently destroyed most references to his past, running for his life. In 1657 the Elector declared a general amnesty for such fugitives, with the decided exception of Rosenmüller, but it seems that he outwitted the law, running to Venice, where he made a precarious living as a sackbut player at St. Marks and a music teacher at the Ospedale della Pietà. Periodic visits by German nobility to Italy allowed a rehabilitation of sorts, and in 1682 he was appointed Kapellmeister at Wolfenbüttel. Such a life would of course be filled with rumor and innuendo, and indeed such is the case here, even though it did not detract for the composer’s reputation for his well-crafted and sensitive music.


Rosenmüller is, of course, no stranger to recordings. There is even a Rosenmüller early-music ensemble, and recordings range from a fine selection by Gli Incogniti on the OutThere label to nice renditions of motets and Christmas pieces by Cantus Cölln on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi. Indeed, even the famed Hesperion X has had a go at this music, all of which is well done. This particular disc focuses on the solo motets, providing a showcase for countertenor Alex Potter. With the exception of In te Domine speravi and two of the instrumental sonatas recorded by the King’s Noyse with Ellen Hargis back in 1996 on Harmonia Mundi, I believe that these works are all premieres. All of the music is extremely well crafted. Whatever Rosenmüller’s personal proclivities, his music demonstrates that he knew his profession. The trombone/sackbut parts for the motet O dives omnium are appropriately sepulchral, as is the light plucking of the chitarrone in Vox dilecti mei , with the violins only later sneaking in after the voice has finished pulsating with a highly florid line. By the way, this paraphrase of the Song of Solomon, with its highly erotic language now directed toward Christ, borders on the obscene, and Rosenmüller’s word-painting indicates more of a reprobate than penitent in the musical language.


Alex Potter gives a sensitive and historically accurate rendition of the motets, blending nicely with the transparent textures of Chelycus. In the instrumental pieces, the D-Minor Sonata III, with its mellow, nasal dulcian as a solo instrument, stands out, as do the careful violin parts of the two-violin sonata, evenly matched in tone and with excellent intonation. All in all, it is an excellent recording, quite the best among the Rosenmüller offerings and well worth getting for all collectors of 17th century music.


FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

1.
O Salvator dilectissime, for voice & ensemble by Johann Rosenmüller
Performer:  Alex [Countertenor Vocal] Potter ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chelycus
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 01/2010 
Venue:  St. Georgskirche, Sengwarden, Germany 
Length: 10 Minutes 41 Secs. 
2.
Christum ducem, qui per crucem by Johann Rosenmüller
Performer:  Alex [Countertenor Vocal] Potter ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chelycus
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1652 
Date of Recording: 01/2010 
Venue:  St. Georgskirche, Sengwarden, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
3.
In te Domine speravi by Johann Rosenmüller
Performer:  Alex [Countertenor Vocal] Potter ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chelycus
Period: Baroque 
Written: after 1655; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/2010 
Venue:  St. Georgskirche, Sengwarden, Germany 
Length: 10 Minutes 2 Secs. 
4.
O dives omnium bonarum, for countertenor, 3 instruments & basso continuo by Johann Rosenmüller
Performer:  Alex [Countertenor Vocal] Potter ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chelycus
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 01/2010 
Venue:  St. Georgskirche, Sengwarden, Germany 
Length: 7 Minutes 12 Secs. 
5.
Vox dilecti mei, for voice & ensemble by Johann Rosenmüller
Performer:  Alex [Countertenor Vocal] Potter ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chelycus
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 01/2010 
Venue:  St. Georgskirche, Sengwarden, Germany 
Length: 10 Minutes 21 Secs. 
6.
Sonata in D major for 2 violins "J.R.M." by Johann Rosenmüller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chelycus
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 01/2010 
Venue:  St. Georgskirche, Sengwarden, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 31 Secs. 
7.
O anima mea suspira ardenter, for voice & ensemble by Johann Rosenmüller
Performer:  Alex [Countertenor Vocal] Potter ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chelycus
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 01/2010 
Venue:  St. Georgskirche, Sengwarden, Germany 
Length: 9 Minutes 31 Secs. 
8.
Sonata No. 12 à 5 in D minor (Nürnberg 1682) by Johann Rosenmüller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chelycus
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 01/2010 
Venue:  St. Georgskirche, Sengwarden, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 44 Secs. 
9.
Sonate (12) à 2-5 stromenti: no 3 à 2 by Johann Rosenmüller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Chelycus
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1682 
Date of Recording: 01/2010 
Venue:  St. Georgskirche, Sengwarden, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 48 Secs. 

Sound Samples

O Salvator dilectissime
12 Sonatas (1682): Sonata No. 12 a 5 in D minor: Sonata No. 12 in D minor
Christum ducem, qui per crucem
In te Domine speravi*: In te Domine speravi
Sonata a 2 No. 3 in D minor
O dives omnium bonarum dapum
Vox dilecti mei
Sonata for 2 Violins in D major, "J.R.M."
O anima mea, suspira ardenter

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