The ensemble dolce risonanza, together with the vocal ensemble Profeti della Quinta, follow the traces of Orlando di Lasso and the Bavarian Court Orchestra in Munich on this recording. This ensemble, under the direction of its kapellmeister Orlando di Lasso (1532–1594), was one of the most important musical institutions of its time. Selected singers from all over Europe and the best Italian instrumental virtuosos formed the ensemble of the art-loving Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria (1528–1579) of the House of Wittelsbach. Orlando di Lasso composed his 'Psalmi penitentiali' around 1560 for this select ensemble.
The expressive settings of the Psalm texts have been preserved in a magnificent manuscript by the Munich court painter Hans Mielich, decorated with wonderful miniatures. Albrecht V forbade Lasso to publish his 'Penitential Psalms' and preserved the valuable manuscript in has musica reservata in his private library, where only selected guests were permitted to view them.
The most recent musicological research has reached the conclusion that the famous illustration of the Munich Court Orchestra represents a specific performance situation of Lasso's 'Penitential Psalms'. In order to attain a genuine performance in accordance with Mielich's painting, dolce risonanza commissioned the reconstruction of string and wind instruments especially for this project; these were newly built by leading instrument-makers in the area of historical performance practice. It is thus possible, for the first time after about 450 years, to experience this music in the original instrumentation for the Munich Court Orchestra under Orlando di Lasso.