Thursday 18 January 2018

Hortus Musicus - Jerusalem

Jerusalem - Hortus Musicus - ERP
Jerusalem; Hortus Musicus; ERP
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Jan 16 2018 Star rating: 3.5
Early music and traditional melodies woven together by this Estonian Early Music group

This new disc from the Estonian group Hortus Musicus on ERP (Estonian Record Production) presents a sequence of Early Music, traditional Arab melodies and traditional Jewish melodies under the title Jerusalem, exploring what the idea of the Holy City has meant to the different peoples.

The sequence begins with Walther von der Vogelweide's Palästinalied and then we weave together 14th century Spanish and French music, one of the Cantigas de Santa Maria, music by Neidhart von Reuenthal and then the traditional melodies. These latter are treated in the same way as the Early Music, and Robert Staak's booklet note emphasises the interweaving commonality between traditional music and Early Music.

The group's treatment of the music is quite free.
Their line-up consists of violin, percussion, shawn, recorder, duduk, curtal, rauschpfeife, trombone, violone, double bass, organ, harpsichord, with ten performers doubling on these as well as singing. Their style involves significant and imaginative orchestration of the music. A style which has come, and gone, and comes again in Western Europe. But to understand Hortus Musicus' style, you have to understand something of their history.

The group was founded by Andres Mustonen in 1972 in Soviet-era Tallinn, well before the Singing Revolution in Estonia. The group was thus born in isolation and under Mustonen's guidance developed a creative freedom which remains engaging. Mustonen is still the artistic director, and listening to this disc, it is clear that his guiding artistic intelligence runs through the pieces. The result has a freshness which engages and charms.

The CD booklet has plenty of photos of the group, mature men whose clear enjoyment of the music comes over both in the pictures and in the recording. What the booklet lacks is texts, so it is not possible to quite tell how the different pieces fit into the overall theme. All you can do is sit back and enjoy it!

Hortus Musicus
Hortus Musicus
Walther von der Vogelweide Palänstinalied
Anonymous Deus miserere
Anonymous Polorum regina
Neidhart von Reuenthal Winder wie ist nu dein kraft
Anonymous La quinte estampie real
Anonymous Como poden per sas culpas
Neidhart von Reuenthal Owê dirre sumerzīt
Anonymous Stella splendens
Anonymous Chanconeta Tedescha
Traditional Arab melodies Lamma bada, Kharwat habibi
Anonymous Istampitta La Belicha
Traditional Jewish melodies Uri tsafon, Adon haselihot, Az yashir Moshe, Samaitani chalaitani, Reyah hadas, Ma navu al heharim, Lecha dodi, Ani tsame
Ensemble Hortus Musicus:
Andres Mustonen − violin, artistic director
Anto Õnnis − tenor, percussion
Tõnis Kaumann − baritone, percussion
Riho Ridbeck − bass, percussion
Olev Ainomäe − shawms, recorders, duduk
Tõnis Kuurme − curtal, rauschpfeife, recorders
Valter Jürgenson − trombones
Imre Eenma − G violone
Taavo Remmel − double bass
Ivo Sillamaa − positive organ, harpsichord

Recorded 21-22 October 2017 in Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinnn
ERP 10318 1CD [71.36]
Jerusalem on the ERP music website.

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