Praetorius: Lutheran Choral Concerts

Album cover art for upc 761203506422
Label: CPO
Catalog: 555064-2
Format: CD

Weser-Renaissance Bremen; Cordes, Manfred

In the new series from CPO, “Music from Wolfenbüttel Castle” we are now presenting chorales by Martin Luther in settings by Michael Praetorius with a proven and internationally renowned team of interpreters – our very own WESER-RENAISSANCE of Bremen under the conductor Manfred Cordes. When Duke Heinrich Julius von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel appointed Michael Praetorius to the post of chamber organist in his court chapel around 1593 and then promoted him to the post of court chapel master in 1604, he selected a musician whose family had enthusiastically followed the Reformation ever since its beginnings. This family’s adherence to the Lutheran confession may be traced back directly to the Reformer himself. After all, until 1534, Michael’s father, at the time still known by the German surname “Schulteis” instead of its Latin equivalent “Praetorius,” studied at the University of Wittenberg, where Luther was a faculty member. Praetorius dealt systematically with the publication of his vast musical oeuvre. Mainly sacred in character and mostly involving chorale settings, it conveys the musical heritage of the Reformation in all its multifaceted forms directly to the present. These forms range from the simple cantional setting to the modern polychoral concerto following the precedent set by Giovanni Gabrieli in Venice. The chorale concertos heard here from his collection Polyhymnia caduceatrix et panegyrica are “Solemn Concertos of Peace and Joy.”

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