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Clemencic Consort & René Clemencic Laudate Pueri – Baroque Christmas OC 350 CD
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FormatAudio CD
Ordering NumberOC 350
Release date15/10/2004
Players/ContributorsMusicians Composer
  • Bartolotti, Angelo Michele
  • Cavazzoni, Girolamo
  • Finetti, Giacomo
  • Händel, Georg Friedrich
  • Monteverdi, Claudio
  • Radino, Giovanni Maria
  • Schmid d. J.,Berhard
  • Schütz, Heinrich
  • Viadana, Lodovico da

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      Description hide

      The joy of Christmas shall here be expressed by a musical selection from the German and Italian Baroque. The renowned Clemencic Consort plays together with choir boys from the Choralschola of the Wiener Hofburgkapelle.

      René Clemencic

      René Clemencic is a composer, conductor, flute and clavichord virtuoso, harpsichordist and organist, director and founder of a world-famous early music consort (the Clemencic Consort), musicologist and writer, trained philosopher as well as a collector of emblematic books and sculptures.

      Born in Vienna on 27th February 1928, he is a true child of the Danube metropolis. His ancestors hailed from Istria, Slovenia, Moravia, Poland, etc. The founder of the study of Germanistics, Karl Lachmann, is among his direct ancestors on his mother’s side. At home he always spoke Italian with his father, a notary, and German with his mother. René Clemencic studied philosophy and musicology at the Sorbonne in Paris, the Collège de France and the University of Vienna, where he obtained his doctorate with the dissertation “Being and Consciousness in Louis Lavalle”. At the same time he was studying music – recorder and harpsichord in Vienna, Holland and Berlin, musical form with Erwin Ratz, theory with Schoenberg’s friend and student Josef Polnauer and J. M. Hauer’s twelve-note theory with Johannes Schwieger.

      Since 1957 René Clemencic has appeared internationally as recorder player and director of his own ensemble. Since 1966 he has been in charge of the “Musica Antiqua” concert series at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna.

      Well over 100 records and CDs have appeared with him as soloist and as conductor of the Clemencic Consort and other ensembles or orchestras. He has given concerts in every continent and received numerous prizes such as the Edison Award, Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d’Or, Prix Cecilia and many others. In 1989 he was awarded the Gold Medal of Honour of the City of Vienna, in 1996 the personal title of Professor, in 1977 the Anima Mundi Prize of the Venice Biennale d’Arte Sacra as well as the City of Vienna Prize.

      In his compositions Clemencic is concerned in the first instance with the

      symbolism of sound, not primarily with aesthetics. “I try to introduce into my works sound and tonal complexes as acoustic emblems and values representing cosmic structures. Sound and tonal gestures should work as such in their original magic. I am not so concerned with the production of an opus, an artefact in the usual sense, but rather with the unveiling of certain hidden semantics in what is audibly perceived.”

      René Clemencic’s compositional career began with the first performance of his work Maraviglia III at the Alpbach Forum. Performances of his works followed in, among other places, London, Nancy, at the Festival de Wallonie, the Evreux Festival, the Breslau Festival of Avant-Garde Music, the Adelaide Festival, at Oberlin College in the USA, at the Leningrad Festival of Contemporary Music, at La Scala, Milan, the Menuhin Academy at Blonay, in Salzburg, Palermo and at the Carinthian Summer. His oratorio Kabbala, with a Hebrew text, received its first performance in 1992 in the festival in Cividale del Friuli. The Austrian premiere in 1994 in the Vienna Odeon in the course of the Week of Jewish Culture was greeted with a storm of applause, as was the British premiere in 1996. The Vienna “Klangbogen” of 1993 included a successful staging of the ballet-pantomime Drachenkampf (Fight with the Dragon). The 1996 premiere of Apokalypsis, (a Wiener Musikverein commission), in the Great Hall of the Vienna Musikverein was lauded to the skies by the critics. The 1998 premiere of the piano trio Jeruschalajim in the “Hörgänge” Festival was greeted by, among others, the Viennese Altenberg Trio as “a valuable enrichment of the piano trio literature”. In 1999, once more in the “Hörgänge” Festival the premiere took place of the oratorio Reise nach Ninive (Journey to Niniveh). In May 2000 the Concerto for Strings had its first performances in Caserta and Naples. The premiere of his Stabat Mater took place in Todi (Umbria) at the end of July 2001. René Clemencic is presently working on an opera Daniel, in Hebrew and Aramaic, based on the Old Testament Book of Daniel.

      Laudate Pueri

      This recording presents a selection of German and Italian Baroque works which we hope will add to the listener’s enjoyment of the holidays. It was particularly important during the 17th and 18th centuries, after all, to make the joys of Heaven as earthly and imaginable as possible for audiences of the day.

      The works performed here, specifically written for the Christmas season, are sung here exclusively by boys, whose voices have always had a special function in sacred music due to their neutral quality. The special timbre of a boys’ choir has an immediacy which gives the listener a more intimate experience of the holy child: the baby Jesus. The three sacred works by Heinrich Schütz were taken from his Geistliche Konzerte, published in 1636 and 1639. They are concertante monodies in the new Italian style, although Schütz placed more emphasis on expression than on virtuosic singing.

      Bone Jesu is one of the few works that Schütz wrote in Latin. The sacred pieces by Monteverdi on this CD were all composed when he was the maestro da cappella in San Marco in Venice (1613–1643). Compared to the sacred music from his Mantua years, the Venetian works are often very sparing, and use only few instruments – sometimes only continuo. Like Schütz, Monteverdi avoids virtuosity for the most part, because San Marco had little of the opportunities Mantua had to offer. In addition, however, styles were slowly changing as well. The duet Cantate Domino, from duple Monteverdi’s early years in Venice (1615), is structured like a rondo and alternates frequently between double and triple rhythms. The duet for two equally high voices, Venite, venite, printed in 1624, is similar in structure. The solo monody Salve, o Regina also comes from the same collection. It is characterized by a refrain in triple rhythm which incorporates a rising fourth-motive. This refrain is preceded and followed by sections in duple rhythm similar to a recitative. The late Laudate Dominum (in any event, not printed until 1640) is a solo monody with highly virtuosic passages over ostinato bass lines, and rich tone painting.

      Lodovico Viadana, a northern Italian monk, wrote almost exclusively sacred music. His numerous practical works contributed to the success of the new concertante vocal style with basso continuo accompaniment. His compositions are usually short and their formal structure clear.

      The monk Giacomo Finetti composed only sacred music. He first worked as a choirmaster in Jesi and Ancona, and later as an organist and maestro da cappella in Venice. Writing for practical situations, he usually composed for few voices accompanied by basso continuo. His simple, but sensitive and well-structured pieces made their way as far as northern Europe.

      The organ works of Girolamo Cavazzoni belong to the late Renaissance, but were still played and appreciated during the early Baroque. We know little about his life. We do know, however, that he was an organist at Santa Barbara in Mantua. As was the usual case at the time, he composed mass sections, hymns and magnificats for church services. Angelo Michele Bartolotti from Bologna was one of the most significant Baroque guitar virtuosos of his time. He spent a great deal of his life in Paris. The suite played here comes from his Secondo libro di chitarra (Rome, ca. 1655) and shows him to be a master of difficult small forms.

      Part of the Italian dance music of the time came from folk music. This and the pastorale references – both musical and literal – to shepherds have always had their place in the Christmas story. Shepherds, the prototype of a simpler, childlike soul, were the first to hear the gospel from the angels at Christ’s birth. Gagliarda and La Lumbarda are already a type of stylized folk music. The melodies of Piva, La Montagnura and La Bergamasca, performed here on the cornamuse, the Italian bagpipe, have come down to us through Gasparo Zanetti (Milan, 1645).

      The manuscript of Gloria in excelsis for solo soprano, two violins and continuo only recently came to light – but with no attribution. Based on stylistic characteristics and above all, compositional quality, it is now almost unanimously considered to be by George Frideric Handel. There is no consensus as to whether the work was written during his first trip to Rome in 1707, or even earlier. The composition is in six parts. The function of the two violins alternates between accompaniment and concertante. A slow, expressive Et in terra follows the virtuosic Gloria in excelsis. The Laudamus te is constructed of a fast duple section followed by a calmer triple section. Domine Deus is a recitative accompanied by continuo. The Qui tollis peccata corresponds to the message of the text and is written as a calm affettuoso. The closing Quoniam tu solus sanctus is comprised of an andante full of coloraturas and a highly virtuosic allegro. All in all, this Gloria a brilliant piece for soprano, of the highest musical quality. The manuscript comes from the London Library of R.J.S. Stevens (1757–1837). Extensive parts of this library had earlier been the property of William Savage (ca. 1720–1789) who had sung for Handel as a boy soprano!

      René Clemencic
      Transaltion: Elizabeth Gahbler

      Tracklist hide

      CD 1
      • Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672)
        • 1.Bone Jesu, verbum Patris05:39
        • 2.Bringt her dem Herren02:50
        • 3.Herr, ich hoffe darauf02:54
      • Angelo Michele Bartolotti (1615–1680)
        • 4.Preludio01:11
        • 5.Allemanda03:09
        • 6.Gigue01:25
        • 7.Passacaglia04:50
      • Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643)
        • 8.Venite, venite04:50
        • 9.Salve, o Regina04:44
        • 10.Laudate Dominum04:04
        • 11.Cantate Domino06:25
      • Giovanni Maria Radino (1592) / Bernhard Schmid d.J. (1607)
        • 12.Gagliarda01:48
      • Italienischer Anonymus (16. Jh.)
        • 13.La Lumbarda01:57
      • Giacomo Finetti (ca. 1605 – ca. 1631)
        • 14.Cantate Domino omnis terra02:19
      • Italienische Pastoralmusik (17. Jh.)
        • Piva – La Montagnura – La Bergamasca
          • Lodovico da Viadana (1560–1627)
            • 16.Jubilate Deo01:30
          • Giacomo Finetti (ca. 1605–1631)
            • 17.Verbum caro factum est01:39
          • Girolamo Cavazzoni (ca. 1515 – ca. 1580
            • 18.Magnificat Sexti Toni (Orgel)02:43
          • Georg Friedrich Händel (1685–1769)
            • 19.Gloria in excelsis Deo02:39
            • 20.Et in terra02:17
            • 21.Laudamus te02:32
            • 22.Domine Deus01:31
            • 23.Qui tollis peccata03:18
            • 24.Quoniam tu solus sanctus03:29
          • Total:01:09:43