Sacred Concertos on Psalm 31
Weser-Renaissance, Manfred Cordes
cpo 555 165-2
During the baroque period, it was customary for composers to set the same psalm texts many times as demanded by the liturgical requirements of Vespers services. This typically enterprising recording from Weser-Renaissance under Manfred Cordes brings us seven of the surviving settings of “In you, O Lord, I put my trust”, an especially poignant text for Rosenmüller, whose seemingly meteoric career in Leipzig was cut short in the early 1650s by scandal, and he was forced to live for nearly thirty years in exile. There are three solo versions (one each for soprano and tenor with a pair of violins and continuo, and one for alto with an additional pair of violas), two duets (soprano & alto, alto & tenor, each with violins and continuo), one for pairs of sopranos, tenors and violins, and finally a larger setting for five voices with five instruments. As always with this ensemble, the singing and playing are top notch, and the understanding of the architecture of the music, the pacing, the balance of individual voices and instruments is perfect. On the latter point, Cordes opts for violas da gamba for the middle parts with dulcian on the bottom and organ and chitarrone continuo. For all the praise I’ve lavished on the performances, however, the sources of the music (readily available online) reveal, for example, that the largest setting on the disc should have been much larger – two four-part choruses, one doubled by strings and crowned by a free violin line, the other reinforced by brass with a cornetto on top; perhaps the re-working was necessary on purely financial grounds, but surely it should be mentioned in the booklet notes. Would I rather have this rendition than none? Absolutely!
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