Weihnacht Der Spielleyt (a Minstrel Christmas)

Album cover art for upc 4010072773357
Label: Christophorus
Catalog: CHR77335
Format: CD

Spielleyt - early music Freiburg

Composed by: "Außerlesene, uhralte und neue Gesänge" aus dem Straßburger Gesangbuch (1697) (Selected hymns, old and new from the Straßburger Gesangbuch)
Straßburger Gesangbuch: Tag und Nacht war gleich entfernet, Laßt uns das Kindlein wiegen, Der Spiegel der Dreyfaltigkeit, Zu Bethlehem gebohren, Schlaf mein Kindelein, Am Weynacht Abend in der still - Tielman Susato (1510/15 c1570): Bergerette sans roch, Branle - Michael Praetorius (1571-1621): Bransles simple, gay, double aus Terpsichore (1612) - Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680): Antidotum Tarantulae aus Phonurgia nova (1673) - et al.

The Freiburger Spielleyt have chosen for its present CD a series of Christmas carols from the Straßburger Gesangbuch collection of 1697, and this appears at first to be a surprisingly "modern" decision for an ensemble, whose focus has otherwise been on the music of the late Middle Ages. But as is noted in the foreword to the Straßburger Gesangbuch the selection had already been made from "außerlesenen, uhralten und ... neuen Gesängen" (selected hymns, old and ... new). "Uhralt" means that the melodies of a few hymns can trace their origin back to the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, all the carols from the edition of 1697 are performed in the style of the time with generalbass.
It is appealing to track down the respective nature of the melodies handed down to us, and to expose the typical character of the individual carol. The Spielleyt has certainly come up with a varied range of instruments, in line with its emphasis on the Middle Ages, including the Baroque double harp, the Baroque lute and a gamba. It can, therefore, play with a stylistically correct generalbass as the need arises. But the Freiburger Spielleyt has been fond of improvisation and playful dealings with musical material since the year dot, and takes advantage of that freedom here.

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