January 29, 2022

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Assessment: In Time for the Holidays, Radiant Praetorius Carols

Review: In Time for the Holidays, Radiant Praetorius Carols

The German hymn generally referred to as “Lo, how a rose, e’re blooming” has lengthy been a beloved Christmas carol. It’s sung by church choirs and highschool choruses. Variations have been recorded by Linda Ronstadt and Sting.

However we now have the early German Baroque composer Michael Praetorius to thank for the unique single, so to talk: “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen.” The textual content and hymn melody have been first printed collectively in 1599. However in 1609, Praetorius wrote a young, four-part setting that plumbed the melody for all its harmonic potentialities, and have become the equal in its day of successful tune.

On Saturday, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan, the luxurious ensemble Tenet Vocal Artists carried out, with 14 beautiful singers and 11 vibrant gamers of interval devices, a ravishing account of the superbly direct but intricate Praetorius model, a part of a beneficiant 75-minute live performance of this composer’s works.

This system — whereas Jolle Greenleaf is Tenet’s inventive director, this one was led by Jeffrey Grossman, who performed organ — honored the truth that this yr marks each the four-hundredth anniversary of Praetorius’s loss of life and the 450th anniversary of his start. (An on-demand video of the live performance can be accessible for a month beginning Tuesday at tenet.nyc.)

Praetorius was a number one determine of the German Lutheran chorale custom — the follow of utilizing hymn tunes as elements of items that usually unfold with putting complexity, as within the wondrous “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland,” which Tenet carried out compellingly. On one stage this music comes throughout as a multi-section, chorale-like setting of an alluring melody. However just under the floor the music teems with interior particulars: prospers of offbeat counterpoint for the voices, squiggling riffs for the devices.

Within the later section of his profession, Praetorius was more and more influenced by new kinds popping out of Italy, together with the method referred to as “cori spezzati,” wherein teams of singers and gamers have been divided into smaller ensembles in order that phrases could possibly be bounced forwards and backwards.

On this regard Praetorius was indebted to a youthful German up to date, Heinrich Schütz, whom he acquired to know after they each labored in Dresden. Schütz had studied in Venice for 3 years with a progenitor of the method: Giovanni Gabrieli, the composer and organist at St. Mark’s Basilica. In a nod to the Schütz’s affect, Tenet started this system along with his “Jauchzet dem Herren,” wherein mini-phrases are boldly echoed.

That Praetorius introduced his personal take to the method was amply demonstrated with a efficiency of 4 fleet dances for devices from his assortment “Terpsichore,” his solely surviving secular music. The interaction went past echo results; typically a flourish was tossed from one group to a different with an open invitation to elaborate on it. In a number of of the large-scale choral works, the Tenet singers enhanced the dramatic affect of the cori spezzati passages by positioning themselves nicely aside from each other within the church.

The revelation, for me, was a efficiency of the prolonged “Vater unser im Himmelreich,” from Praetorius’s 1619 assortment “Polyhymnia Caduceatrix” — magnificent music, specified by a number of sections, with elegant stretches of overlapping counterpoint and plush harmonies that cadence into radiant consonance. Historians level to this rating because the German Baroque counterpart to Monteverdi’s seminal Vespers of 1610.

But a few of the extra modest fare was simply as rewarding, just like the setting of what’s acquainted at this time because the carol “Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine.” How typically do you get to listen to Praetorius’s subtly ingenious and glowing model?

Tenet Vocal Artists

Carried out on Saturday at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Manhattan.

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