Spirited Dances from the Seventeenth Century
Our first release in cooperation with the Accademia del Ricercare, an ensemble that has logged more than eight hundred concerts over the past twenty years in changing formations geared to the particular repertoire, offers a fascinating overview of the German instrumental world just prior to the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War (1618-48). Michael Praetorius, one of the most prominent musicians of those times, is represented here with a suite, while we also have the opportunity to become acquainted with a virtual unknown in the person of the composer Erasmus Widmann, whose works recorded here demonstrate that a myriad of talents once existed side by side with more familiar musicians and now merit their rightful places in music history. Even though Praetorius' Terpsichore and Widmann's Musicalischer Tugendtspiegel ganz neuer Gesäng […] auch newe Däntz und Galliarden were published only a year apart (1612 and 1613), both collections exhibit many traits indicating just how heterogeneously instrumental musical expression could be at the dawn of the Baroque. While the author of the Syntagma musicum based his compositions primarily on the dance forms current at the time, Widmann continued to employ movement headings like gagliarda while not always intending his pieces for a specific context but for the »delectation of honorable gatherings« (this in the best Lutheran tradition). A particularly significant aspect in Widmann's production consists in the fact that in the majority of cases he did not compose suites (by which we mean a series of dance movements like the allemande, courante, and sarabande preceded by an abstract prelude). He instead penned independent dances from which the interpreters were largely free to choose in keeping with the available musical resources. You can look forward to dances of spirited motion quite literally inviting the listener to dance and exhibiting a full and richly varied sound palette.