Notes and Editorial Reviews
ROSE VAN JHERICHO
Maria Jonas, dir; Ars Choralis Coeln
RAUMKLANG 2604 (77:39
Text and Translation)
The Song Book of Anna von Köln
This collection of devotional songs in Latin and the vernacular (indeed, in several medieval dialects) was compiled about 1500 in Cologne, an example of
, the late-medieval movement to adopt a lifestyle midway
between secular society and the religious orders. The title of the disc, “the rose of Jericho,” refers to a Macaronic song in low German and Latin honoring the Blessed Virgin, who was invariably venerated while her Son was worshipped. A few of these songs have appeared in collections of the LP era. Konrad Ruhland’s group sang “Jure plaudant omnia,” included here. Several other songs recorded in that era are not duplicated here, but this seems to be the first focused collection drawn from this source.
Late-medieval collections of anonymous vocal music of this type have been largely overlooked in music history courses and texts in favor of identifiable composers. Reinhard Strohm, in
The Rise of European Music, 1380–1500
(Cambridge, 1993), made a major breakthrough in devoting the entire Part 3 of his four-part book to the subject.
The Songbook of Anna of Cologne
280) has been edited by Salmen and Koepp (Schwann, 1954), so it should be accessible at least to performers and scholars. Even so, Strohm barely mentions the collection in a paragraph devoted to 15th-century compilations of this type, next to the slightly earlier
, which was given a whole disc on a Psallite LP of 1976.
The 16 songs from this source that are recorded here make a delightful program. All are sung by the women’s group of 11 singers and five players, while four instrumental selections
from the Glogauer and Locheimer songbooks are inserted at intervals. Some of the songs are
sung solo, and some are lightly accompanied on period instruments. The acoustics of the chapel cast a warm glow around the voices. Anonymity is a burden, as evident from the attention devoted to composers (Perotinus) and works (the “Farewell” symphony of Haydn) not so disabled. Anyone who comes across this disc is going to be entranced by the unexpected pleasure that it affords. Give it a chance and you’ll turn back to it again and again. The last time I was so unexpectedly delighted was on hearing “Ninna Nanna” by Montserrat Figueras (26:6). That’s the kind of disc it is.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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