SchŸtz, Scheidt, Tunder, Capricornus, M Franck, Weckmann, Schmelzer, Ahle & Buxtehude

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Ahle & Buxtehude,Capricornus,M Franck,Schátz,Scheidt,Schmelzer,Tunder,Weckmann
LABELS: Challenge
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Awake, O North Wind
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Tirami Su/Erin Headley
CATALOGUE NO: CC 72103
The plague helped to shape 17th-century German music, no less than cultural influences such as the spread of expressive Italian styles. Of the composers featured on this CD, Schmelzer died of the plague, Scheidt lost all four of his children to it and Hamburg resident Matthias Weckmann wrote his Wie liegt die Stadt so wüste (How desolate lies the town) when plague wiped out many of the city’s inhabitants in 1663.

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Weckmann’s heartfelt lament, for soprano, bass and strings, provides the disc’s emotional centre, together with Schmelzer’s purely instrumental Lamento sopra la morte de Ferdinando III, where the violin is lead voice. Other notable, if briefer, works here include Tunder’s exquisite setting of Psalm 137 (‘By the waters of Babylon’) and Buxtehude’s delightful ‘Liebster, meine Seele saget’, for two sopranos and exultant violins.

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Gamba-player Erin Headley’s Tirami Su is a small ensemble, chiefly comprising violins and violas da gamba (plus a continuo that includes lirone and chitarrone). Specialists in ‘playing vocally’, not least when performing instrumental versions of vocal works (as happens here with Schütz’s ‘Selve beate, se sospirando’), their rich, varied textures also accompany some lovely singing from soprano Laurie Reviol, though bass Harry van der Kamp sounds a little stiff at times. Graham Lock