Notes and Editorial Reviews
Missa Paschalis. Mein Herz in hohen Freuden steht:
So ich sie dann.
Carmina: in re; in la.
Im Maien. Ach Elslein. Ich stuend. Wohl auf. Ave Maria. Was wird. So lang man macht. Fortuna ad voces musicales
David Skinner, dir; Andrew Lawrence-king (hp); Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge Ch; QuintEssential
OBSIDIAN 704 (66:51
Text and Translation)
Quis dabit oculis
The last review of a Mass by Ludwig Senfl (c. 1490–1543) was in 28:4, and the last one of this
was in 26:5. It is one of the few masses by Senfl that has been recorded more than once, following Noah Greenberg and Diego Fasolis as cited. (
Missa Nisi Dominus
has been recorded twice, but neither disc has come this way.) Fasolis gave us an unaccompanied alternative to the instrument-laden version by New York Pro Musica, which was typical of the 1960s, so it is interesting to hear David Skinner revert to the use of instruments in the latest version. Since the Greenberg version is long gone (it never appeared on CD), we can again compare both approaches in modern sound. If I prefer the
approach on principle, this is still an admirable interpretation of the music. In the notes this is the first time a point has been made of the contrast between the Kyrie-Gloria pair of movements and the Sanctus-Agnus Dei pair, the former based on
of the Easter Mass, the latter of the Advent-Lent Mass. Hence the two pairs of movements are placed separately in the program.
The only other sacred works heard here, both familiar from previous recordings, are Senfl’s expansion from four to six voices of the familiar
by Josquin des Prez and his arrangement of Costanzo Festa’s
Quis dabit oculis
. The latter motet was written for the death of Anne of Britanny, but it says here that Senfl edited the text in 1519 to fit the death of Maximilian I, whom he had served since the age of 10. (In 10:4, the first occurrence of a Senfl review here, I observed that, though the piece is usually credited on disc to Senfl, it properly belongs to Festa and there is no proof that Senfl adapted the text to Maximilian, as the 1538 print edition claims.) Charles V dismissed the imperial cappella when he succeeded Maximilian, putting Senfl out of a job as maestro, so he spent the rest of his life at the court of Bavaria. Both motets are beautifully sung
The rest of the program consists of secular vocal and instrumental works. Most of them are familiar on recent discs from Manfred Cordes (23:4) and Fretwork (28:4), but it should be noted that Fretwork has Charles Daniels singing two of Skinner’s instrumental pieces. The unfamiliar pieces are “So ich sie dann,”
So lang man macht
. Of these, only the first was once available on LP. Hence, unlike most Senfl programs that focus on sacred or secular music, this is a balanced survey of all his forms, with enough first recordings to make it essential to Senfl devotees. The notes hint at some new insights that will appear in the forthcoming biography of Senfl by Kathleen Berg. As noted under Josquin des Prez, this new Obsidian series is elegantly recorded and packaged.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber