Thursday, February 19, 2015

Te Deum laudamus - Music from Frieberg Cathedral, 1594

Te Deum laudamus presents a fascinating collection of music from the Freiberg Latin School. The school -- and the adjoining cathedral have a long and distinguished history dating back to the early 1500's. By 1594 (the year this program is centered around) Freiberg was a thriving cultural center, attracting some of the best composers of the High Renaissance.

Included in this compilation is sacred music by Albinius Fabricius, Philippe Monte, Leonard Lechner, Rogier Michael, and Alfonso Ferrabosco the Elder. Each composer, in his own way, typifies the music of the era. While counterpoint is paramount, one can hear the beginnings of major/minor harmonies supporting them.

Several of the works are sections from masses, interspersed with sacred and liturgical pieces. The chordae freybergensis, accompanied by the Ensemble Freiberger Dom-Music with authentic instruments present the music in a clear, straight-forward manner.

Although recorded in the Freiberg Cathedral, the performers are so tightly miked that there's virtually no room ambience. And that's really my only complaint about the album.

Without the spaciousness of the cathedral to reinforce the sound and soften the edges with reverberation, the music has a starkness to it. And while it helps us hear the complexity of the counterpoint, I can't help but think it also removes an element the composers factored into their work.

Te Deum laudamus
Music on the Freiberg Catherdral Angle Instruments from 1594
Ensemble Freiberger Dom-Music; Albrecht Koch, director

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