Notes and Editorial Reviews
Missa Usquequo Domine. Missa super La dolce vista. Magnificat 6 toni. Te decet hymnus. Veni Sancte Spiritus.
Usquequo Domine. Magnificat 4 toni. La dolce vista
HYPERION CDA 67854 (60:02
Text and Translation)
This vocal ensemble focused its first four discs on the court of Maximilian II, illustrating the covers with paintings by the court artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Now, after pausing
to connect their Viennese composers with Willaert (
34:2), they have found another obscure composer at the court of Rudolf II, who succeeded his father in 1576, and Arcimboldo again graces the cover. Philipp Schoendorff (1565/70–c.1617) came from Liège, like many of the court musicians under Philippe de Monte, to sing, play the trumpet, compose, and make himself useful. I don’t think he has ever been heard on records. This disc is being publicized as the composer’s complete works, though the enclosed booklet does not mention this.
The two Masses are parody Masses based on works of the court chapel master, de Monte. The one based on his motet is preserved in a small church in Bohemia, while the shorter one based on his madrigal is kept in Nuremberg, suggesting that someone has dug deeply to find the music of Schoendorff. His Magnificat, published in Venice in 1593, reappeared in Nuremberg in 1600 with the publication of the motets
Te decet hymnus
Veni Sancte Spiritus
. If this is the sum of his surviving works, many others must have been lost. This would have contributed to the obscurity of a composer whose date of birth is unknown (merely calculated from the beginning of his career) and whose date of death fell sometime after he was last recorded in the court chapel (if he had died in service, we might have expected to find a record of it).
This disc does more than just fill in a gap on the shelf. Both Masses adopt the format of six voices that was used so frequently at the time because it furnished opportunities to vary the sound by using the voices in different combinations. In this the composer is successful, and the performances expand our grasp of the period and the composers who worked at the time. Cinquecento adds another winner to its output.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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