LABELS: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Psalms; Magnificat; Gloria
PERFORMER: Cantus Colln/Konrad Junghanel
CATALOGUE NO: 05472 77181 2 DDD
As a young man, Johann Rosenmuller (1619-1684) had to abandon a promising musical career in Leipzig following accusations of pederasty, but was welcomed by the morally flexible Venetians, in whose musical sky he swiftly became a favourite star. The influence of Venetian style on his output over the next quarter century was such that one could be forgiven, after a blind ‘tasting’ of these morsels, for mistaking the composer’s nationality.
Cantus Colin offers his settings of Psalms 33, 111 (Beams Vir), 129, the Gloria and the Magnificat. Rosenmuller slices off clause after clause of the text into a miniature movement, each with its own textures and dramatic techniques -from solo effects to wry sound-painting. No sooner is an effect created than he snatches it away to replace it with a contrasting one. These glittering sound-mosaics are perfectly served here. The purity of the six singers’ tone is nicely matched so that, while individual voices can emerge for extravagant solos, they become indistinguishable in the tutti passages. Konrad Junghanel’s direction is polite — this is polite music, after all – but he catches Rosenmiiller’s sprung rhythms exactly. Patrick Gale