Stoltzer: Missa duplex per totum annum, 3 Psalm Motets

Weser-Renaissance, Manfred Cordes
cpo 999 295-2

A prolific composer in the first quarter of the 16th century, Stoltzer’s reputation has suffered somewhat from the fact that he worked away from the main centres of musical activity, spending the final years of his life in Hungary, and his music missed out on much of the modern research into the music of the period. As might be expected from the chosen court composer of Maria of Hungary, Stoltzer is an accomplished composer in the style of Heinrich Isaac, although, in the Psalm motets, three of which are performed here, the influence of Josquin can be detected. Weser Renaissance perform the Psalm motets with a blend of instruments and solo voices, a sound which they have cultivated over many years and have applied to a wide range of repertoire. It is both beautifully expressive and wonderfully blended, and I would have liked to have heard the mass movements being given the same treatment. This is particularly the case as the unaccompanied voices never sound quite so secure, and the intonation is sometimes a little dodgy. The mass is performed in alternatim, with the Credo, not set by Stoltzer, entirely chanted. The Agnus Dei is apparently from a different setting by Stoltzer, for which the German-only notes offer no explanation that I can find. In addition to the vocal music advertised, the disc includes two attractive instrumental pieces.

D. James Ross