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Eccard: Frohlich will ich singen - Sacred & Secular Songs

Eccard / Lautten Compagney Berlin / Jirka
Release Date: 01/31/2012 
Label:  Carus   Catalog #: 83449  
Composer:  Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Affirmatory and amusing, sacred and secular.

Johannes Eccard, eminent Berlin Kapellmeister, had been counter-tenor in the Catholic Hofkapelle in Munich, a choir directed by Orlando di Lasso. It was a period that was profoundly important in his musical development. He was clearly influenced by Lasso in terms of musical word setting and textual fidelity and in the compositional craft necessary to deal justly with rhythm. He was also influenced strongly by Martin Luther’s call for hymnal simplicity. This new ethos, a sweeping away of excess and ‘modishly, elegant tones’, permeated Eccard’s motet and secular writing too. Polyphony is relegated, and the leading voice takes the melodic line in settings of directness and
Read more purity.
 
There are 18 settings in this selection, of which eight are premiere recordings. The music is in the safest of hands with the Staats- und Domchor Berlin and Lautten Compagney Berlin directed by Kai-Uwe Jirka. Ein feste Burg makes for an appropriate start, opening with a choral tutti and the orchestra’s appealing contribution focused clearly on the percussion and brass, in the best German tradition. De Profundis/Aus tiefer Not is a more ‘mixed’ setting with choral harmonies and orchestral polyphony demarcated throughout. Hört ich ein Kuckuck singen is genial and increasingly jubilant, spiced with tambourine and percussion. The cuckoo motif is brought out wittily. Melodies are lively, uncluttered and the text’s sentiment is conveyed with unambiguous directness — just what Luther ordered.
 
It was precisely this stripping away of what Luther saw as obfuscation that Eccard was so good at. Rarely does one find vocal polyphony at all, the music being stripped back to a rather utilitarian but not unattractive immediacy of meaning. The solo pieces with small instrumental accompaniment reprise the approach — on of the previously unrecorded songs, for example, is the sprightly Kein Buhlerei ficht mich mehr an, and its charm, allied to its simplicity, to which one can append the intelligence of its instrumental backing — Blockflöte, viola, viola da gamba and violone — measures its success. It surprises me that it’s never been recorded before.
 
There is no lack of wit in some of the settings. There’s a deliberately jokey, horrendously out of tune gag in Der Musik Feind seind Ignoranten which include a baton rap, a restart, and some suspiciously Swanee Whistle type noises later on. Is all this in the score? Unser lieben Hühnerchen seems to start with — am I right? — a kazoo. The demotic is certainly ever present, and the earthy, peasant offerings — this one details the sexual longing of forlorn, cock-less hens — make for entertaining listening.
 
A number of the texts are settings of Luther’s translations of the Psalms. One of the most imposing is Das Vater unser and it shows the grand, spacious, though still compact reach of which Eccard was capable, very well caught in the Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin-Dahlem. Indeed these affirmatory and amusing settings, sacred and secular alike, show his concentration on the essential message of the text and the most appropriate way it could be transmitted to a congregation. Eccard has been well served here — and do try to hear a companion disc of his sacred songs on this same label [83.265].
 
-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Mein schönste Zier und Kleinod bist by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Renaissance 
2.
Fröhlich will ich singen by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Renaissance 
3.
Unser lieben Hühnerchen by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Renaissance 
4.
Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
5.
Aus tiefer Not "De profundis" by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
6.
Erbarm dich mein by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
7.
Hört ich ein Kuckuck singen by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
8.
Ach Gott, wie gern ich wissen wollt by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
9.
Schöns Lieb, was hab ich dir getan by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
10.
Schwerlangweilig by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
11.
Kein Buhlerei ficht mich mehr an by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
12.
Frau, dein Gestalt by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
13.
Es trau´r was trauren soll by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
14.
Der Musik Feind seind Ignoranten by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
15.
Ein Verräter und ein Suppenfresser by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
16.
Selig ist der gepreiset by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
17.
Das Vater unser by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
18.
Verleih uns Frieden "Da pacem Domine" by Johannes Eccard
Conductor:  Kai-Uwe Jirka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney

Sound Samples

Ein feste Burg
De profundis - Aus tiefer Not
Erbarm dich mein
Frohlich will ich singen
Hort ich ein Kuckuck singen
Ach Gott, wie gern ich wissen wollt
Schons Lieb, was hab ich dir getan
Schwerlangweilig
Kein Buhlerei ficht mich mehr an
Frau, dein Gestalt
Es trau'r was trauren soll
Der Musik Feind seind Ignoranten
Ein Verrater und ein Suppenfresser
Unser lieben Huhnerchen
Mein schonste Zier und Kleinod bist
Selig ist der gepreiset
Das Vater unser
Da pacem Domine - Verleih uns Frieden

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