|Johann Hermann SCHEIN, Ich will schweigen
High seas, high mountains.
This Italian expression applies the same adjective to seas and mountains, at once evoking both their physical remoteness and the risks involved in exploring them.
The cornetto is without doubt one of the most important musical instruments of the 16th and 17th century. Made of wood and covered with leather or parchment, it was considered the instrument most capable of imitating the human voice. And, just like the voice, it loves to soar. Mersenne's encyclopedia describes the cornetto as a "ray of light going through the clouds".
InAlto aims to explore both vocal and instrumental music, bringing them into mutual dialogue. Famous composers of the European baroque, such as Monteverdi, Schütz and Praetorius, have left us magnificent music which cultivates this taste for risk taking and worship of the high register.
Nowadays, there is a real risk that music which no longer sounds familiar will fail to feel convincing. By carrying out a thorough study of the available sources and selecting the best historically informed partners, InAlto seeks to bring out the best in the repertoire it plays. For ensembles, too, a recording is a risky enterprise. The first difficulty is in the choice of repertoire. We have always believed in making unknown repertoire available, particularly on CD. At the same time, the musical quality of the pieces remains crucial.
In our attempt to stimulate a genuine emotional response, we chose to record in Schleswig, in the chapel of Gottorf Castle. As no Renaissance organs survive in Saxony or Thuringia, we had to broaden our search northwards.
Apart from its construction date (1567/1625), what determined our choice of this particular organ is that it was a true court instrument. Its position in the chapel meant that it was not limited to liturgical use, but could also accompany dancers at the entertainments held in the adjoining banqueting hall. All the organist had to do was to open the great doors separating the two spaces. By recording both sacred pieces and instrumental repertoire in this setting, we have been able to reflect the division of responsibilities faced by Schein and his successors.
The great majority of the German historic organs we have had the privilege of hearing evolved in much less resonant surroundings than their Italian counterparts. This closer, more exact acoustic might seem off-putting to contemporary artists looking to produce an ensemble recording. On the contrary, however, we believe that the characteristic soundscape is directly linked to the central role of the word and the importance of the sermon in Protestant liturgy.
Looking over the repertoire we have selected, one can hardly help noticing the exceptional technique the instrumentalists for whom these pieces were intended must have possessed. Their artistry, in the noblest sense of the word, and the heritage of the Stadtpfeiffer tradition they were part of, were our greatest inspiration. Our aim was attain technical perfection without parading it.
Above all, we believe that this repertoire thrives under a modest touch. Listening to "our" recording, the single product of a collective effort, we felt that the process had not only given us a great deal of pleasure, but also taught us a degree of patience. Delicate and refined, this is music to be savoured.
Alice Foccroulle, soprano
Béatrice Mayo-Felip, soprano
Reinoud Van Mechelen, tenor
Lambert Colson, direction, cornetto
Adrien Mabire, cornetto
Guy Hanssen, sackbut
Bart Vroomen, sackbut
Anaïs Ramage, dulcian
Pieter Theuns, theorbo, guitar, archlute
Maxime Fiorani, tamburello, drum
Marc Meisel, organ
|1. Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630)
|2. Johann Hermann Schein
||Ich will schweigen
|3. Johann Krieger
||Fantasia in d
|4. Johann Hermann Schein
||Exaudiat te Dominus
|5. Johann Hermann Schein
|6. Heinrich Bach (1615-1692)
||Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott
|7. Johann Hermann Schein
||Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott
|8. Gottfried Reiche (1667-1734)
||Fuga XII à 4
|9. Johann Hermann Schein
||Herr Christ, der einig Gottes Sohn
|10. Johann Schelle (1648-1701)
||Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
|11. Gottfried Reiche
||Sonatina à 4
|12. Johann Hermann Schein
||Mach dich auf, werde Licht
|13. Johann Hermann Schein
||Paduana à 4
|14. Heinrich Scheidemann (1595-1663)
||In dich hab ich gehoffet, Herr
|15. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
||Fuga sopra Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verdebt (BWV 705)