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Lasso: Marienvesper / Manfred Cordes, Weser-renaissance

Release Date: 04/24/2007 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777182   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Orlando de Lassus
Conductor:  Manfred Cordes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Weser Renaissance
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

LASSUS Marienvesper Manfred Cordes, dir; Weser-Renaissance cpo 777182 (64:22 Text and Translation)

The headnote reproduces the credit on the cover of the booklet, but the contents page is headed “A Marian Vespers under Orlando di Lasso,” referring to the music director at the Wittelsbach court in Munich. There the choir books had been compiled with music added successively by Senfl, Daser, and Lassus himself. The Vespers of the Assumption heard here includes the five psalms, Read more hymn, canticle, and two different antiphons for the canticle, all composed by Lassus. The antiphons for the psalms are by Senfl, and the responsory Felix namque is sung in chant. The choice of texts reflects a medieval Office of the Blessed Virgin, not a modern edition, and the use of two different settings of Salve regina , one before and one after the canticle, serves to add more music of Lassus to the program, though it was only sung as a votive antiphon at the end of the Office, not in this place at Vespers.

Not surprisingly, the singing is heavily burdened with brass accompaniment, suitable for the Munich cathedral, where the court worshipped on major feasts, rather than the court chapel. Yet “not much is known about the performance practice in the religious services at the court,” according to the notes, and Massimo Troiano is invoked to defend the cathedral practice heard here. The introductory verse is presumably by Senfl, but I wonder if he actually wrote as the response “Dominus ad adjuvandum me festina,” as heard (and printed) here, or if the source has been misread for the correct “Domine.”

This program includes some of the more spectacular music of Lassus. The psalms are for three to eight voices, while the canticle is his largest setting, for 10 voices, and the two antiphons that frame it are for five and eight voices respectively. I would like to hear how the singers might have projected this glorious music without being drowned by the brass. Even so, we have not had many liturgical reconstructions like this to bring the Munich court back to life, and in the end the disc gets a favorable nod.

FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

Marienvesper by Orlando de Lassus
Conductor:  Manfred Cordes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Weser Renaissance
Period: Renaissance 

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