Wolkenstein, Fontaine, Monte, Landini, Pierre de Molins, etc

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COMPOSERS: etc,Fontaine,Landini,Monte,Pierre de Molins,Wolkenstein
LABELS: Carpe Diem
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Oswald Von Wolkenstein
WORKS: Works by Wolkenstein, Fontaine, Monte, Landini, Pierre de Molins,
PERFORMER: Ensemble Alta Musica/Rainer Böhm
CATALOGUE NO: 16265
In principle it’s a good idea to record some by Oswald von Wolkenstein (d1445) – he was such a colourful character, and his works are, or should be, great fun. He ‘borrowed’ the melodies of his contemporaries and decked them out with wonderfully hilarious or heartfelt texts of his own invention. But are these performers up to the kaleidoscopic rush of styles and moods that pepper these works?

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The instrumentalists certainly seem to be most of the time. Their almost ceremonial version of the opening motet, Plaude decus mundi, is followed a few tracks later by a lightly dancing Salterello, and then by a chant-like reflective account of Ain gut geporen edelman. The singers are less happy. To be fair, the tenor Markus Schuck is touchingly effective in In Suria, but the soprano and alto are so weak-voiced in Stand auff Maredel that they reduce the song to a kind of distant witter. Part of the problem here is the lack of balance between instruments and voices and, in La plus jolie, some parts seem to have been put in the wrong octave. One longs for a reissue of Catherine Bott’s richly coloured 1996 version of these pieces on L’Oiseau-Lyre. Anthony Pryer