WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Sweelinck: Cantiones Sacrae / Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam

Sweelinck / Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam / Kamp
Release Date: 06/28/2011 
Label:  Glossa   Catalog #: 922406  
Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Conductor:  Harry Van der Kamp
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gesualdo Consort
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
This title is currently unavailable.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

SWEELINCK Cantiones Sacrae (complete) Harry van der Kamp, dir; Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam GLOSSA 922406 (2 CDs: 146:48 Text and Translation)

In Fanfare 33:2, I reviewed the first volume in what Glossa Records and Harry van der Kamp have dubbed “The Sweelinck Monument.” It is nothing less than the first complete recording of Sweelinck’s sacred and secular vocal music, an enormous undertaking that Read more will eventually require three volumes, about 10 CDs total. Volume 1 presented the secular music, mostly consisting of Italian and French madrigals in three to six voices. The present volume serves up the 37 Cantiones Sacrae , all five-part motets, along with some isolated motets and canons and one major work, the Te Deum. The Cantiones Sacrae have been recorded at least twice before: in 1998 by the Choir of Claire College and Timothy Brown (nla), and in 1999 by Richard Marlow and the Trinity College Chapel Choir, reviewed in Fanfare 23:1 and still available on Hyperion. Volume 2 is yet to appear; it will include Sweelinck’s major contribution to the world of sacred music, the 150 psalms he composed for the Geneva Psalter of 1562.

Today, Sweelinck’s organ and harpsichord music is admired and performed all over the world, while his vocal music languishes in relative obscurity, known only to a few enterprising choral conductors. Yet this is the exact opposite of the composer’s own day, when his reputation rested primarily on his music for the church, while the keyboard music was known only to his immediate circle of students and friends, the so-called “Sweelinck School.” That any of the Cantiones Sacrae have survived at all is a miracle, since Calvinism had been imposed on the Netherlands in 1578, effectively ending all “papist” music-making in Sweelinck’s home town of Amsterdam. Lacking a suitable local printer who was willing to defy the authorities, Sweelinck turned to Catholic Antwerp, where the publishing house of Phalèse had printed the chansons and madrigals 25 years earlier. Toward the end of his life, Sweelinck increasingly turned his attention and energies toward music for the Catholic rite, and one is reminded of similar episodes in the careers of William Byrd and Sebastian Bach.

The music is very solidly in the late Renaissance tradition, reminiscent in its crystalline beauty of earlier works by Palestrina, Lassus, and Victoria. Interestingly, there is no hint at all of the polychoral innovations that were taking place concurrently in Venice, the cori spezzati of the Gabrielis and Monteverdi. It is doubtful that any of that music would have made it past the Calvinist border patrol in the first place. The Cantiones are grouped (on this recording) according to liturgical usage: There are psalm and gospel motets, motets for the Nativity, motets for Passiontide, and so on. Of surpassing beauty are the Nativity motets, especially Angelus ad pastores ait, Hodie Christus natus est , and the two-part Magnificat.

Harry van der Kamp has assembled a crack team of vocalists, many of whom were heard on the first volume. The two sopranos, Nele Gram‚ and Stephanie Petitlaurent, sound especially lovely. Organ is used as a discreet underpinning in the isolated motets and canons; the Cantiones are unaccompanied. It’s interesting to compare this style of singing with, say, Concerto Italiano singing contemporary madrigals of Marenzio or Gesualdo. While the Italians are not afraid to inject emotion with incisive word-pointing, the Netherlanders opt for the utmost in tonal beauty and a certain detachment in their treatment of the text—which is not inappropriate for the music, after all.

Glossa’s usual high production standards, including first-class engineering and an elegant booklet with extensive essays in multiple languages, are very much in evidence. Highest, highest recommendation.

FANFARE: Christopher Brodersen


Cantiones Sacrae

CD I [68:37]

Diligam te Domine

In te Domine speravi
Diligam te Domine
Ecce nunc benedicite Dominum
Cantate Domino canticum novum
Venite exultemus Domino
Laudate Dominum omnes gentes
De profundis clamavi ad te Domine
Domine Deus meus in te speravi
Beati omnes qui timent Dominum

Vanitas vanitatum

Ab Oriente venerunt Magi
Hodie Christus natus est
Gaude et laetare Jerusalem
In illo tempore
Hodie beata virgo Maria
Ecce virgo concipiet et pariet filium
Gaudete omnes et laetamini
Magnificat anima mea Dominum
Angelus ad pastores ait

Beatus qui soli Deo confidit

CD II [78:11]

Felix auspiciis dies secondis

Non omnis qui dicit mihi Domine
Ecce prandium meum paravi
Beati pauperes spiritu
Petite et accipietis
Euge serve bone et fidelis
Qui vult venire post me
Paracletus autem Spiritus sanctus
Ubi duo vel tres congregati fuerint
Tanto tempore vobiscum sum

Vanitas vanitatum

O Domine Jesu Christe
Iusti autem in perpetuum vivent
O Sacrum Convivium
Vide homo quae pro te patior
O quam beata lancea
Videte manus meas et pedes meos
Viri Galilaei, quid statis aspicientes
Timor Domini principium sapientiae
Regina coeli laetare

Ave maris stella (orgel)
Ave maris stella (vocale versie)

Te Deum laudamus
Read less

Works on This Recording

Cantiones Sacrae by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Conductor:  Harry Van der Kamp
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gesualdo Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1619 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title