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A Wind Blows From The East: Four German Medieval Tales / Drew Minter

Release Date: 12/13/2011 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9372  
Composer:  Neidhart von ReuenthalWolfram Von EschenbachOswald von WolkensteinHans Sachs
Performer:  Drew Minter
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A WIND BLOWS FROM THE EAST: 4 German Medieval Tales Drew Minter (bar/ct/medieval hp) BRIDGE 9372 (64:27 Text and Translation)

REUENTAL Blozen wir den anger ligen sahen. ESCHENBACH Titurel fragments: excerpts. WOLKENSTEIN Es seusst dorther von Orient. SACHS Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Gesangweise to the tune of “Our Lady”

This unusual program, subtitled “four German medieval tales,” can be divided into two parts. The two shorter tracks are familiar, for Andrea von Ramm recorded Neidhart’s song on a Telefunken LP of medieval German songs directed by Thomas Binkley (CD in Fanfare 11:6) and Barbara Thornton recorded Oswald’s song on a Sequentia disc on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi devoted entirely to that composer (17:6). The competing versions of both songs are equally complete. The title of the disc is the first line of Oswald’s song.

The two longer tracks will be new to everyone. The Titurel fragments (two separate parts of an incomplete poem) are related to Wolfram’s masterpiece, Parzifal ; the same two fragments survive in multiple sources. Minter sings only 31 of the 170 four-line strophes, but it still runs 25 minutes. The Hans Sachs song, consisting of five long strophes, is a Marian miracle story like those found in Alfonso el Sabio’s collection. There is precious little of Hans Sachs on records, but an excerpt from this Gesangweise in the second Norton Treasury album can hardly be more than a couple of minutes long. The mastersinger Hans Sachs lived more than a century later than Oswald, though not as long as the notes suggest, giving his date of death as 1596 rather than 1576. The other two singers were contemporaries around the turn of the 13th century.

I could go on at greater length, but only by reproducing Drew Minter’s excellent but concise note (three pages of legible type) that accompanies the texts and English translations. Better to dwell on the superb performances that he gives, accompanying himself on one of two modern copies of medieval harps. Characterized only as “voice,” Minter, who has been known on numerous Baroque records as a countertenor, sings up and down his range (down being baritone) and slipping into what might be called Sprechtstimme (not often) when the dialog suggests it. He acknowledges Mary Springfels (a familiar name in early-music recordings) for introducing him to medieval music and these works in particular. This is a welcome addition to the discs of medieval vocal music, a real contribution that will expand any collector’s appreciation of minnesong. As a newcomer of sorts to the repertoire, Minter covers himself with glory. Thank you, Mary, for making this happen.

FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

Blozen wir den anger ligen sahen by Neidhart von Reuenthal
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor), Drew Minter (Medieval Harp)
Period: Medieval  
Written: Germany 
Titurel fragments, Excerpt(s) by Wolfram Von Eschenbach
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor), Drew Minter (Medieval Harp)
Period: Medieval  
Written: Germany 
Es seusst dort her von orient, K 24 by Oswald von Wolkenstein
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor), Drew Minter (Medieval Harp)
Period: Medieval 
Written: Germany 
Gesangweise, "Our Lady" by Hans Sachs
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor), Drew Minter (Medieval Harp)
Period: Medieval  
Written: Germany 

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