Lovesongs by Franck & Schein [+Haussmann & Palestrina]
Voces Suaves, Jörg-Andreas Bötticher
deutsche harmonia mundi 1 90758 49752 5
Best known perhaps for their church music, it is nice to have this selection of lovesongs by Melchior Franck and Johann Hermann Schein. Using compositional techniques similar to their polychoral church music, both composers seem equally adept at setting vernacular love lyrics. The voices of Voces Suaves are joined by a violin, cornetto, theorbo, violone and organ/harpsichord to produce a wonderfully full sound in performances which are adeptly ornamented and expressively presented. The songs by Schein are a particular revelation, as he seems to feel freed to explore a greater variety of textures in these secular works than in his church music. In the music from his late collection Musica Boscareccia of 1628, he seems to be exploring a more operatic idiom using the compositional skills acquired over a twenty-year career. Sadly within two years he would be dead, denying us undoubtedly of much fine music. To provide variety, if such were needed, the instruments perform a delightful Passameza by Valentin Hausmann, as well as two instrumental reworkings by Giovanni Bassano and Luigi Zenobi respectively of two motets by Palestrina. This is a beautifully varied CD, performed with passion and technical assurance acquainting us an unexpectedly rich repertoire.
D. James Ross