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Music At The Court Of Emperor Rudolf Ii In Prague

Dialogo Musicale / Meilink / Regnart / Luython
Release Date: 05/25/2010 
Label:  Ars Musici   Catalog #: 232128   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jacob RegnartCarl LuythonGiovanni PalestrinaPhilippe de Monte
Conductor:  Leo Meilink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dialogo Musicale (Chorus)
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 31 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MUSIK AM PRAGER HOF KAISER RUDOLFS II Leo Meilink, cond; Dialogo Musicale ARS MUSICI 232128 (2 CDs: 92:11 & , no English translation)


REGNART Lametabatur Jacob. Eins[t]mals in einem tiefen Tal. LUYTHON Lamentationes Jeremiae Prophetae. Fuga suavissima. PALESTRINA Vestiva i colli. Read more class="COMPOSER12">DE MONTE Missa sex vocum supra “Vestiva i colli”


This is a reissue of a set originally released in 1992. The three main composers featured here—Regnart, Luython, and de Monte—were all employed in the service of Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II at the imperial court in Prague. Philip de Monte (1521–1603) served an impressive 35 years as Kapellmeister , from 1568 to his death, as the successor of Jacobus Vaet (see my review of two Vaet CDs elsewhere in this issue); his extraordinarily prolific musical output includes 38 masses, 320 motets, and more than 1,000 madrigals. (J. F. Weber provides further details in a review of a de Monte CD in Fanfare 32:1.) Carl Luython (c.1557–1620), a pupil of de Monte, served successively at the court as a boy soprano, organist, and court composer before he succeeded his master as Kapellmeister . After Rudolf’s death in 1612 he and many other musicians were dismissed without pay by Emperor Matthias due to straitened imperial finances, and he died in poverty after being reduced to selling even his harpsichord. Jacob Regnart (c.1540–99) was far more fortunate; after numerous years of service as Kapellmeister to Archdukes Ferdinand and Matthias in Innsbruck, during which he accumulated considerable wealth, he was ennobled; he then returned to Prague in 1596 and served until his death as vice- Kapellmeister to de Monte.


The main works here are the Luython Lamentations in 13 brief movements and the de Monte Mass, the latter being a parody Mass based upon the Palestrina madrigal preceding it here. Both pieces are written for six voices and clearly show the influence of the reforms propagated by the Italian master in their simplified polyphony and concern for intelligibility of the text. The Fuga suavissima of Luyton is a short three-part ricercar for organ with a more diatonic character. The two Regnart motets, one sacred and one secular, are composed in the older pre-Palestrina Flemish style, but also demonstrate an incipient influence of the contemporary Italian madrigal.


Dialogo Musicale consists of nine vocalists—three sopranos, one mezzo-soprano, one male alto, three tenors, and one bass—and nine instrumentalists—five viola da gambists, a lutenist and organist, and two performers on zink and recorder, including Marion Verbruggen. (I trust that I will be pardoned for noting that one of the tenors is Marius van Altena, who to my knowledge is no relation.) The vocal parts are sung by one soloist each, with the others primarily used to reinforce key moments of the Mass. They make a very attractive sound, especially since they are not at all afraid to employ a light degree of vibrato instead of a straight “white” tone, which adds extra warmth and body. Intonation and ensemble work are of a sterling caliber. Instrumental reinforcement of the vocal lines is employed discreetly. The sound is clear, and slightly warm and resonant. While the informative essays are in German, English, and French, vocal texts are provided in Latin and German only, not in English. The one other drawback is the short timing of the set, which is sold as two mid-priced discs. However, given both the high quality of these performances and that recordings of works by any of these composers are uncommon, this set is nevertheless very much worth acquiring by anyone who loves Renaissance sacred music.


FANFARE: James A. Altena
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Works on This Recording

1. Lamentabatur Jacob, motet for 5 voices by Jacob Regnart
Conductor:  Leo Meilink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dialogo Musicale (Chorus)
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  Honrath Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 39 Secs. 
2. Opus Musicum in Lamentationes Hieremiae Prophetae, for 6 voices by Carl Luython
Conductor:  Leo Meilink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dialogo Musicale (Chorus)
Written: 1602 
Venue:  Honrath Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 15 Secs. 
3. Fuga suavissima for Organ by Carl Luython
Conductor:  Leo Meilink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dialogo Musicale (Chorus)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Honrath Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 20 Secs. 
4. Vestiva i colli by Giovanni Palestrina
Conductor:  Leo Meilink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dialogo Musicale (Chorus)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1566; Italy 
Venue:  Honrath Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 55 Secs. 
5. Missa sex vocum supra "Vestiva i colli" by Philippe de Monte
Conductor:  Leo Meilink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dialogo Musicale (Chorus)
Venue:  Honrath Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 24 Minutes 5 Secs. 
6. Einstmals In Einem Tiefen Tal by Jacob Regnart
Conductor:  Leo Meilink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dialogo Musicale (Chorus)
Venue:  Honrath Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 8 Minutes 9 Secs. 

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