Klassik  Chor/Lied
orpheus chor münchen & Gerd Guglhör & Hofkapelle München Musik am Münchner Hof: Johann Kaspar Kerll: Missa Nigra - Agostino Steffani: Laudate Pueri OC 358 CD
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FormatAudio CD
Ordering NumberOC 358
Release date05/11/2004
Players/ContributorsMusicians Composer
  • Kerll, Johann Kaspar
  • Steffani, Agostino

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      Description hide

      Johann Kaspar Kerll: Missa Nigra
      Agostino Steffani: Laudate Pueri
      orpheus chor münchen · Neue Hofkapelle München
      Gerd Guglhör,
      Gerlinde Sämann soprano
      Constanze Backes soprano
      Alan Dornak altus
      Robert Sellier tenor
      Hermann Oswald tenor
      Thomas Hamberger bass-baritone

      The recordings of works by the Munich composers Johann Kaspar Kerll (1627–1693) and Agostino Steffani (1674–1728) reveal the high quality of the musical culture at the Court of Munich in the second half of the 17th Century.

      Gerlinde Sämann
      The soprano was born in 1969 in Nuremberg. She studied piano and voice at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich, working with teachers such as Karl- Heinz Jarius, Henriette Meyer-Ravenstein and Selma Aykan. Her repertoire ranges from historical works to Lied and oratorio up to avant-garde and contemporary music theater. She was awarded a grant by the city of Munich in 2000 for her artistry. Gerlinde Sämann has appeared as a soloist in renowned festivals (Styriartres, “La folle journée” de Nantes, Festa da Musica Lissabon, Festival de Vezelay Bourgogne etc.) with such major ensembles as the Dresden Kreuzchor, the Choeur de Chambre Accentus, the medieval ensemble Estampie, Armonico Tributo Austria, Arsyis Bourgogne and others. She has made numerous recordings and CDs at home and abroad.

      Constanze Backes
      Born in Bochum/Germany, Constanze Backes studied at the Folkwang Academy in Essen as well as privately with Jessica Cash in London. In 1996, she was awarded the Lady Nixon Grant for young singers and joined the Monteverdi Choir. She sang in opera productions and semiconcertante performances under Sir John Eliot Gardiner in Paris, Parma, Amsterdam and at the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele. In England she worked with such conductors as Paul McCreesh, Robert King, Rene Jacobs, Simon Standage and others. In Germany, she has concentrated on Renaissance and Baroque works. She has been involved in numerous CD productions as a member of the ensembles Musica Fiata, the Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam, Alte Musik Dresden and others. In 2003, for the second year in a row, Constanze Backes held a master class in Warsaw’s Vilanov Summer Academy.

      Alan Dornak
      Born in Texas, the tenor first studied at Sam Houston State University, graduating in 1996. While attending a master class with Michael Chance, it was suggested to him that he change to altus, which he then began pursuing. Alan Dornak received a fellowship from the Horst and Gretl Will foundation which allowed him to complete his study as an altus at the Academy for Music in Dresden. Immediately after changing registers, he appeared as a soloist with the Dresden Kammerchor, the Dresden Kreuzchor, the Kapellknaben of the Hofkirche Dresden, the Ensemble Alte Musik Dresden, the Sächsisches Vocalensemble, the Weimarer Barockensemble, the Berliner Lautten Compagney, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and the Capella Orlandi Bremen. Alan Dornak’s opera debut as an altus took place in 2001 with the Berlin Kammeroper. He has also been heard at the festivals in Dresden and Potsdam-Sanssouci. In March 2003, he sang G. B. Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Saint Alban’s Festival Choral Society in New York City.

      Robert Sellier
      Born in 1979 in Munich, Robert Sellier began studying voice at the Bayrische Singakademie with Hartmut Elbert. In fall 2000, he began studying at the Augsburg department of the Academy for Music Nuremberg- Augsburg with Jan Hammar. He has taken master classes with Margret Baker-Genovesi and Rudolf Jansen as well as courses in oratorio with James Taylor. He has been a member of the ensemble at the Freies Landestheater Bayern since 2002. His repertoire of sacred music ranges from Monteverdi’s Marienvesper through Bach’s oratorios to works of the 20th and 21st centuries; he has been engaged by Enoch zu Guttenberg and others. In 2003, he was awarded a grant by the Richard Wagner Association. In 2004, he won First Prize (Walter-Wiedemann Prize) at the vocal competition of the Academy for Music Nuremberg-Augsburg.

      Hermann Oswald
      Tenor Hermann Oswald sang in the Tölzer Knabenchor as a child, but then completed a college degree in agriculture. He soon rediscovered his passion for singing, however, and began a successful singing career in 1992. His preference for baroque music led him to concentrate primarily on this area, both in concert and operatic work. Intensive work with conductors Howard Armann, Ivor Bolton and Thomas Hengelbrock quickly brought him further. Numerous CDs followed in the ensuing years. In addition to extensive concert touring throughout Europe, Hermann Oswald has received many invitations to appear on the stages of renowned European opera houses (Berlin, Munich, Vienna, and most recently Strasbourg) as well as at important music festivals (incl. Bremen, Schwetzingen, Innsbruck, Potsdam and Dresden). Hermann Oswald has also recently discovered his love of Lied, which he is dedicating ever more time to.

      Thomas Hamberger
      Bass-baritone Thomas Hamberger began studying mechanical engineering, but his involvement in singing was already apparent. He simultaneously began taking private voice lessons with Waldemar Wild, later continuing with Michael Felsenstein. He first entered the concert choir of the Bavarian Radio Broadcasting Corporation, where he gained much experience under such great conductors as Bernstein, Maazel, Muti, Sawallisch, Solti, Abbado, Davis and others. Thomas Hamberger now began dedicating himself increasingly to solo vocal works and successfully established himself in the areas of oratorio and Lied, resulting in frequent invitations in Munich, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France as well as to international music festivals. His wide vocal range has led to his very broad repertoire. He now sings almost all known oratorios and cantatas of Bach, Mozart, Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Franck, Martin etc. He is also highly committed to performing modern music. His continuing love of early music also results in frequent cooperation with ensembles such as “La Banda”, the orpheus chor or the “Hassler-Consort”. Radio and CD productions round out his activities.

      Sacred Music at the Munich Court
      Johann Kaspar Kerll and Agostino Steffani

      This recording is dedicated to the Munich composers Johann Kaspar Kerll (1627– 1693) and Agostino Steffani (1674–1728) and hopes to give the listener an impression of the high art of musical culture at the Munich court in the second half of the 17th century. Johann Kaspar Kerll was born in the Vogtland. He studied with Valentini in Vienna as well as Carissimi and Frescobaldi in Rome, where he converted to Catholicism. His career in Munich began when he entered the service of Elector Ferdinand Maria. As court kapellmeister, he brought the Munich hofkapelle (court chapel ensemble) – which had attained great renown under Orlando di Lasso, only to lose it later – to new fame. Kerll was the first German composer to gain significant influence in the musical life of Munich, which had been dominated by Italians until then. Although his contemporaries valued his operas above all, Kerll wrote numerous sacred works and compositions for organ. In 1658, Kerll went to Franfurt am Main for the crowning of Kaiser Leopold I, for whom he had composed the coronation mass; he later held close contact to the ruler’s court and was awarded nobility in 1664. In 1673, Kerll left Munich for Vienna, where he appointed organist at St. Stephan’s Cathedral until 1677, then becoming court organist. He returned to Munich in 1684. All of Kerll’s operas and most of his vocal works have been lost. Only 13 masses and two requiems are still extant. The fact that the masses he wrote on commission were printed as early as 1689 illustrates the high esteem he was held in by his contemporaries. Written in 1669, the Missa nigra got its name because it was written in the so-called “black notation”. The changes in music around the turn of the 17th century had also had consequences for musical notation. The conventional white mensural notation used since the 15th century, in which neither note heads were filled in nor bar lines used, was slowly being dropped in favor of the notation we know and use today. This resulted in a new, unfamiliar notation which looked especially “black” in eighth-note runs. Kerll’s collection of sacred concertos entitled Delectus sacrarum Cantionum, likewise composed in 1669, was dedicated to Bavarian Elector Ferdinand Maria. Highly varied in structure, meter and tempo, its motets are reminiscent of Heinrich Schütz’s Kleine Geistliche Konzerte.

      We would like to thank the Institut for Bayerische Musikgeschichte, led by Dr. Stefan Hörner, for lending us the music for the motet cycle Delectus Sacrarum Cantionum. Gerd Guglhör has arranged the solo, choral and instrumental parts according to the instrumentation and disposition in Kerll’s music.

      Originally from Veneto, Agostino Steffani’s beautiful voice attracted the attention of a courtier of Elector Ferdinand Maria’s who was visiting San Marco, where Steffani was a choirboy. He took the boy back to the Munich court, where he was given an excellent musical education, complemented by studies in Rome. Steffani’s compositions, mostly operas and chamber duets, soon attracted great renown. During his visit to Rome, Steffani probably studied theology as well; in any event, he took his priest’s vows in 1680. In 1688, he left Munich for Hanover, becoming kapellmeister at the court of Duke Ernst August. He soon gave up his activities as a composer, however. His priestly status, good relationships to the Bavarian court and diplomatic skill made him an excellent representative of the interests of the House of Hanover. From 1695 to 1702, Steffani was active as the Hanoverian minister to Max Emanuel of Bavaria’s court in Brussels. From 1703 to 1706, he was in the service of Elector Johann Wilhelm von Pfalz-Neuburg and rose to the rank of prime minister. In 1706, Steffani became titular bishop of Spiga; in 1709 he was named apostolic curate of the curacy of Upper and Lower Saxony. While Steffani had many setbacks as a diplomat and priest, he was more successful as a musician. Shortly before his death in 1728, the Academy of Vocal Music in London elected Agostino Steffani as its president.

      Steffani composed the nine-voice psalm Laudate Pueri in November 1673 in Rome. The autograph of this sacred concerto for two choirs and organ comes from a collection in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England; the work was edited for performance by Christoph Hammer.

      Brigitte Huber, Gerd Guglhör
      Translation: Elizabeth Gahbler

      Tracklist hide

      CD 1
      • Johann Kaspar Kerll (1627–1693)
        Missa Nigra for soli, choir and orchestra
        • 1.Sonata – Kyrie04:15
        • 2.Gloria08:05
        • 3.Credo09:58
        • 4.Sanctus – Benedictus03:34
        • 5.Agnus Dei04:49
      • Excerpts from Delectus Sacrarum Cantionum
        • 6.Plorate, ululate mortales05:20
        • 7.Alma redemptoris mater03:55
        • 8.Salve Regina
          (Solo for 2 tenors and continuo)
        • 9.Ave Regina Coelorum02:34
        • 10.Age plaude, mens devota04:03
        • 11.Exultate corda devota
          (Solo for 2 sopranos, tenor and continuo)
        • 12.Cantate laudes Mariae05:43
      • Agostino Steffani (1654 –1728)
        • 13.Laudate Pueri09:31
        • Total:01:13:03