Theile: Seelen-Music

Sacred Concertos
Dorothee Mields, Hamburger Ratsmusik, Simone Eckert
cpo 555 132-2

There is more to this disc than meets the eye; for a start, half of the music is not by Theile! There are two substantial vocal pieces by the rather more obscure Christian Flor (1626-97), as well as three four-part instrumental suites by the (to me, at least!) totally unknown Gregor Zuber (c. 1610->73).

The five gamba players of Hamburger Ratsmusik are complemented by theorbo and keyboard continuo. They produce a bright consort sound, each of the lines clearly (though not artificially so!) delineated. I was reminded at various points of William Lawes and John Jenkins. The singing is gorgeous – no-one who visits the site very often will be surprised, as Dorothee Mields (certainly in this repertoire) can do no wrong; crystal clear pronunciation, delicate phrasing and shaping of individual notes. In short, the ideal performer for this music which drew even a heathen like me into its soul. I imagine gamba players will be familiar with Zuber’s suites – if they are not, they should seek them out. Christian Flor may nowadays be deemed obscure, but his two contributions (one in Latin and one in German) are no mere padding – they well deserve a place on this very enjoyable recording.

Brian Clark

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