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Twelve Days of Christmas: Baroque Christmas in Hamburg

available at Amazon
Baroque Christmas in Hamburg Bremer Barock Consort, M. Cordes

(released on November 16, 2010)
cpo 777 553-2 | 72'18"
The admirable goal of this new release was to recreate the sounds of the best polyphonic music from the city of Hamburg and the surrounding area in the 17th century. The results may not strike the ears as the most felicitous, with a choir composed mostly of student musicians from the Hochschule für Künste Bremen (in imitation of the forces available to the Hamburg Kapellmeisters, students supplemented with a few professionals) and featuring the organ of the church of St. Marien and St. Pankratius in Drebber, chosen because it is a seventeenth-century instrument that still has some of its original stops and its original 1/5-comma temperament. Most pleasingly, the musical selections are ones you are unlikely to have heard elsewhere (although some are available on other recordings), especially works by two of Hamburg's Kantors, Thomas Selle and Christoph Bernard. Other pieces for choir and some for solo organ were composed by Heinrich Scheidemann, Jacob Praetorius, Samuel Scheidt, Matthias Weckmann, and Johann Philipp Förtsch. It is hardly surprising that the best pieces on this disc are among the best known, example of Hieronymus Praetorius's learned imitation of the Venetian polychoral style, beginning with a triple-choir Angelus ad pastores ait. The extended double-choir Magnificat quinti toni is a rather magnificent alternatim setting (performed here with some of the parts taken by instruments), with verses of Joseph, lieber Joseph mein and In dulci jubilo interspersed between some of the verses of the Marian canticle.


Colin 't Hart said...

I just discovered your review of this disc; the details I can find online don't credit the organist. Who is it?

Charles T. Downey said...

There are two organists featured on this recording: Eudald Dantib and Rhonda Edgington.