COMPOSERS: Orlando Di Lasso
WORKS: Lieder, Chansons & Madrigals
PERFORMER: Die Singphoniker
CATALOGUE NO: 999 855-2
Orlando di Lasso (d1594) has well over 1,000 works to his name, so I doubt that this small sprinkling of German, French and Italian songs represents much more than an afternoon’s work for him. Even so, these are exquisite little vocal gems and are performed by an all-male group from Bavaria, where Lasso was based for the last part of his life. Die Singphoniker is best known for singing German and Austrian partsongs of the 18th and 19th centuries, though here it claims a local insight into Lasso’s intentions and ‘the whole humour of the text’.
In fact, the group is at its impressive best in the rather formal, courtly French songs of love such as the magnificent ‘Un triste coeur’. The hilarious ‘Hört su ein neu’s Gedicht’, which contains a catalogue of nose-types worthy of a speech by Cyrano de Bergerac, is performed rather blankly and even, well, sniffily. Only in the frankly filthy ‘S’io fusse’ do we get one tentative, semi-lecherous little vocal whoop. These are good musicians, but perhaps they need some time off for good behaviour, so that they can experience a little more of what Lasso really intended. Anthony Pryer