Selichius: Opus novum

Sacred Concertos
Weser-Renaissance, Manfred Cordes
73:00
cpo 555 223-2

For the third volume of their Musik aus Schloss Wolfenbüttel series, Manfred Cordes and Weser-Renassaince Bremen have chosen extracts from Daniel Selichius’s enormous Opus novum collection, printed there in 1623/24. Selichius succeeded the far-better-known Michael Praetorius as Kapellmeister in 1721, and, although much of the music published in the set had probably been composed years before, it is clear that their musical styles were very similar.

As Carsten Niemann’s note points out, Selichius makes clever use of instruments (he draws attention, for example, to the low winds in one piece symbolising imprisonment and the high winds which immediately follow as representing the exhiliration of gaining freedom).

The seven singers (who never all join together!) and 14 instrumentalists (six strings, six-part wind ensemble with chitarrone and organ continuo) are outstanding and the recorded sound is glorious. The psalm settings amply demonstrated Delichius’s musical talents, and range from a duet for soprano and tenor to three words for ten “voices” and one for 11. If you love Gabrieli or Praetorius, do not hesitate to add this gem to your CD collection.

Brian Clark