Notes and Editorial Reviews
VITA S. ELISABETH
Ioculatores; Ars Choralis Coeln; Amarcord; Jörg Peukert (narr); Sabine Heller (hp)
RAUMKLANG 2605 (78:53
Text and Translation)
This deluxe presentation celebrates the eighth centenary of its subject. Here called “St. Elizabeth of Thuringia,” but better known as St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1207–1231), this daughter of the king and queen of Hungary was betrothed to the future margrave of Thuringia in infancy and brought up at that court. She was 14 when the marriage was celebrated, and they
had three children before he went off to the Crusades, dying along the way at Otranto in 1227. Elizabeth, already moved by the ideals of the newly founded Franciscan order, devoted herself as Landgravine to the needs of the poor. As a widow, she left the inhospitable court to live in Marburg, where she established a hospital and labored for the sick until her death at the age of 24. Celebrated for her works on behalf of the poor and sick, she was canonized four years later. Devotion spread from Thuringia as far as Cambrai and her native Hungary. Schola Hungarica recorded two chant Offices for her feast (19:4), one from Cambrai, where her heart had been enshrined, and the other from Warburg, a source also copied in Hungary.
Unlike that collection of Office chants, this program is a wide-ranging group of vocal and instrumental pieces from the period, all related closely to the life of the saint. Three separate ensembles take their turns, in addition to Jörg Peukert, who reads from an early biography of the saint with aural punctuation by a harpist. Besides an antiphon, a responsory, a sequence, and a hymn from the Office, we hear vernacular songs by the monk of Salzburg and Walther von der Vogelweide, an Italian lauda, and instrumental pieces by Ioculatores. On two tracks Ioculatores ensemble joins with one or the other group. The tracks spoken in German run over 20 minutes without printed text. The booklet offers a detailed guide to the program, with notes and summaries of each track in addition to the full texts with translations, and it is lavishly illustrated. Everything has been achieved on the highest level to make this a worthy tribute on the saint’s anniversary. As a gift package, it would be a compliment to the taste of the recipient.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber
Works on This Recording
Work(s) by Various
Ars Choralis Cologne
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