Vulpius: Cantiones Sacrae 1

Volume 1: 6-7 voice motets
Capella Daleminzia, René Michael Röder
133:22 (2 CDs in a card wallet)
Querstand VKJK 1523

Volume 2: 9-13 voice motets
Capella Daleminzia, Vocalconsort Waldheim, Singschule Waldheim, René Michael Röder
67:30
Querstand VKJK 1524

You know how it is – you wait years for one Vulpius CD and then three come along at once! Part of the Capella Daleminzia’s complete recording of Vulpius’ Cantione Sacrae  I-III, these CDs suggest that in Vulpius we have a very prolific composer whose compositions are nonetheless worthy of attention. These are fine performances with passionate and musically pleasing singing ably supported by organ, and with cornets and sackbuts in one motet in the first volume. This is a splendid moment after so much music for voices and organ, but I felt that more varied instrumentation throughout the programme might have relieved the threatening onset of ‘boxed-set-itis’! The second volume suffers less from this uniformity of sound with a wider range of instruments employed throughout the larger motets. Vulpius’ music is pretty standard 17th-century fare – post-Gabrieli polychoral effects grafted to a post-Lassus germanic stock in the manner of Schein and Praetorius, but the fact that he can even be mentioned in the same breath as these latter master polyphonists is a testimony to his skills as a composer. His works seem to grow in status as they accumulate vocal lines in the second volume, and his huge 13-part Multae filiae congregaverunt divitias  is given an epic Praetorius-style rendition by the augmented Daleminzia forces. In recording all of Vulpius’ extant choral works, the performers clearly wish to restore him to his rightful place in the pantheon of prominent 17th-century church composers, and on the evidence of these CDs the mantle more than fits.

D. James Ross

All of these links are to the volume of 6- and 7-voice motets: