Leonhard Lechner (c.1553-1606) Festive Mass & Motets
Leonhard Lechner has until now been rather ignored on recorded releases; he is only known as the composer of secular German lied movements or his rather academic "German Proverbs of Life and Death". His origins are largely unknown; he was probably a pupil of Orlando di Lasso and he was primarily active in Nuremberg and Stuttgart. The present CD intends to present Lechner in a new light, with the ensemble officium introducing, mostly as premiere recordings, festive music for ceremonial occasions scored for large ensembles. The central work is the monumental 24-part festive motet "Quid chaos", composed for the Nuremberg Patrician wedding in 1582 and the corresponding festive mass "Dominus noster". The 15-part festive motet for three choirs, "Laudate dominum", was also composed for a wedding, this time in Dresden in 1604. The programme is supplemented by the so-called Kronborg motets, which are quite unique: they were written for the consecration of an ornate bronze fountain ordered from a Nuremberg brass founder by the Danish king for Kronborg Castle. The delivery of the fountain was delayed for years and became an "affair of state", whereupon the Nuremberg City Council commissioned a major motet of praise from Lechner in order to appease the king. The fountain was lost just a hundred years later when the Swedes took it as booty - today, only the music written for its consecration bears witness to its splendour.