Siglo de Oro, Patrick Allies
+ Music by A. Gabrieli, Handl (Gallus), Hassler, Lassus
Although not related to the more famous Michael Praetorius, Hieronymus Praetorius is part of a musical dynasty based in Hamburg, a city in which he seems to have spent his entire life. This is slightly surprising in that his music exhibits a number of external influences, not least that of Venetian polychoral music, but it a useful reminder that, while some Renaissance composers accrued influences by working and studying abroad, many others simply studied the latest manuscript or printed music and learned its secrets that way. This certainly seems to be the case with Praetorius’ magnificent Holy Week Mass Tulerunt Dominum meum, which displays a heady mixture of influences, including that of the Gabrielis. The rich warm tones of Siglo de Oro recorded in chapel of Merton College Oxford are ideal for this opulent repertoire, but it is clear that both choir and conductor, Patrick Allies, carry a torch for this overlooked masterpiece. Praetorius’ music receives the ultimate test here by being placed in a context of some of the finest Holy Week music of the period written by composers such as Lassus, Handl, Hassler and Andrea Gabrieli. While all of these composers undoubtedly helped Praetorius mould his musical style, what is perhaps more remarkable is the individuality his music demonstrates. Through this remarkable mass, the motet on which Praetorius based it and a luminescent setting of O vos omnes, Siglo de Oro have cast a whole new light on a composer hitherto largely known for a few stock Christmas pieces and little else.
D. James Ross