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Amarcord Ensemble |Historia de Compassione Mariae (Marian Office, Hamburg, 15th Century)

Historia de Compassione Mariae (Marian Office, Hamburg, 15th Century)

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The packaging for this release telegraphs rather than indicates its contents, which are of interest mostly to chant enthusiasts and specialists but for that group are likely to be quite intriguing and unusual. The unusual quality resides less in the fact that the music contains a set of 15th century Office chants from a mass in honor of Mary than in their geographical origin: the music comes from Hamburg, pictured on the cover with its city wall and surrounding moat. Polyphony was slow to reach northern Germany, except in the hands of keyboardists, who sometimes played in alternation with chant singers, and the medieval chant from this part of Europe remains all but unknown. On this album there are only plainchants, taken from a recently discovered and edited manuscript and performed smoothly by the five-voice German a cappella group Amarcord. There are chants for three Nocturn Offices, plus an opening Invitatorium. The music doesn't match chants from earlier repertories or those from other parts of Europe and was in all likelihood newly composed. Its use of Latin is unusual (the extensive notes by Viacheslav Kartsovnik refer to "German chant dialect"), and the texts, too, are original; Kartsovnik suggests that they resemble German secular poetry of the era. The general listener can get a bit of this. Consider the third responsory from the first Nocturn, Quis dabit capiti meo (track 8); Mary's initial question, "Who will give water for my head and a fount of tears for my eyes?," is not an image from the classical body of chant. The notation includes no indication of rhythm, which is varied by the singers apparently on a hunch; Kartsovnik writes merely that "the refined design of the melodies by itself already presupposes a sublime treatment of the rhythm as well." This deserves a bit more explication, but the whole question of chant rhythm remains completely open, and the performances are elegantly reverential and closely driven by the texts. French speakers should note that although they get Kartsovnik's notes, the chant texts are given only in Latin, German, and English.
© TiVo

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Historia de Compassione Mariae (Marian Office, Hamburg, 15th Century)

Amarcord Ensemble

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Intonatio: Domine, labia mea aperies [15th century]

1
Intonatio: Domine, labia mea aperies
00:00:23

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

Invitatorium: Christum regem adoremus [15th century]

2
Invitatorium: Christum regem adoremus
00:03:28

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

Historia de Compassione Gloriosissimae Virginis Mariae [Marian Office, Hamburg, 15th Century]

3
Ad primo nocturno: Antiphona I, "Domine, dominus noster"
00:02:35

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

4
Ad primo nocturno: Antiphona II, "Ecce Maria dira pendet"
00:02:08

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

5
Ad primo nocturno: Antiphona III, "Plangat cum virgine"
00:02:37

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

6
Ad primo nocturno: Responsorium I, "Egressus est a filia a Sion"
00:03:20

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

7
Ad primo nocturno: Responsorium II, "Vide domine et considera"
00:03:00

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

8
Ad primo nocturno, "Responsorium III: Quis dabit capiti meo"
00:03:41

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

9
Ad secundo nocturno: Antiphona IV, "Quem genuit mater"
00:03:03

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

10
Ad secundo nocturno: Antiphona V, "Vidit Maria aquam"
00:02:27

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

11
Ad secundo nocturno: Antiphona VI, "Quia filio crucifixo fideliter"
00:02:29

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

12
Ad secundo nocturno: Responsorium IV, "Dilectus meus candidus filiae Jerusalem"
00:02:44

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

13
Ad secundo nocturno: Responsorium V, "Deduc quasi torrentem"
00:03:22

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

14
Ad secundo nocturno: Responsorium VI, "Quis mihi tribuat"
00:03:17

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

15
Ad tertio nocturno: Antiphona VII, "Commota est terra"
00:02:42

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

16
Ad tertio nocturno: Antiphona VIII, "Consolare filia Sion"
00:02:28

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

17
Ad tertio nocturno: Antiphona IX, "O mater benedicta"
00:03:10

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

18
Ad tertio nocturno: Responsorium VII, "O vere stupendos visionis radios"
00:03:53

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

19
Ad tertio nocturno: Responsorium VIII, "Cum vidisset Jesus oculis"
00:03:21

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

20
Ad tertio nocturno: Responsorium IX, "Stella maris candoris ebur"
00:03:30

Amarcord Ensemble, Ensemble

2011 CPO 2011 CPO

Album Description

The packaging for this release telegraphs rather than indicates its contents, which are of interest mostly to chant enthusiasts and specialists but for that group are likely to be quite intriguing and unusual. The unusual quality resides less in the fact that the music contains a set of 15th century Office chants from a mass in honor of Mary than in their geographical origin: the music comes from Hamburg, pictured on the cover with its city wall and surrounding moat. Polyphony was slow to reach northern Germany, except in the hands of keyboardists, who sometimes played in alternation with chant singers, and the medieval chant from this part of Europe remains all but unknown. On this album there are only plainchants, taken from a recently discovered and edited manuscript and performed smoothly by the five-voice German a cappella group Amarcord. There are chants for three Nocturn Offices, plus an opening Invitatorium. The music doesn't match chants from earlier repertories or those from other parts of Europe and was in all likelihood newly composed. Its use of Latin is unusual (the extensive notes by Viacheslav Kartsovnik refer to "German chant dialect"), and the texts, too, are original; Kartsovnik suggests that they resemble German secular poetry of the era. The general listener can get a bit of this. Consider the third responsory from the first Nocturn, Quis dabit capiti meo (track 8); Mary's initial question, "Who will give water for my head and a fount of tears for my eyes?," is not an image from the classical body of chant. The notation includes no indication of rhythm, which is varied by the singers apparently on a hunch; Kartsovnik writes merely that "the refined design of the melodies by itself already presupposes a sublime treatment of the rhythm as well." This deserves a bit more explication, but the whole question of chant rhythm remains completely open, and the performances are elegantly reverential and closely driven by the texts. French speakers should note that although they get Kartsovnik's notes, the chant texts are given only in Latin, German, and English.
© TiVo

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