Ensemble Correspondances & Sébastien Daucé – Septem Verba & Membra Jesu Nostri (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 02:03:09 minutes | 2,08 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © harmonia mundi
Since its formation in 2008, the Ensemble Correspondances has devoted itself chiefly to French sacred music of the seventeenth century. Brought together by Sébastien Daucé during their studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique (CNSM) de Lyon, the musicians of Correspondances pursue this work (focusing notably on Marc-Antoine Charpentier) with infectious enthusiasm today.
Formed in 2008, Sebastien Daucé’s Ensemble Correspondances is now firmly established as a byword for quality and creativity in the performance of early music, with their acclaimed revivals of both the known and the long-neglected sacred and secular music of seventeenth century France, and with a rich discography to match. This latest recorded offering now sees them step out beyond France’s borders for a foray into the Germanic repertoire, the headline pieces being a major work each from Dietrich Buxtehude and Heinrich Schütz.
Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri (“The limbs of our Jesus”) opens the programme. An ambitious seven-part cycle of Passion cantatas over which an unnamed observer slowly raises their gaze from the feet of the scourged “Man of Sorrows” to his face, this was composed in 1680 for Buxtehude’s friend Gustav Düben. Düben was music director to the Swedish court, and the work was probably commissioned for a court occasion, most likely premiered in the galleries of the German Church in Stockholm, which the court church at the time. Buxtahude’s own official role was as organist at Lübeck’s Marienkirche – a title which, in contrast to the kantor role which would have obliged him to be churning out new liturgical music every week, allowed him to compose when and how he wished, thus cutting no corners on quality. That’s very apparent in this cycle, which book-ends poetic texts set as strophic arias with biblical words set for full instrumental and vocal forces, all couched within an imaginative tonal progression which opens with the feet in the darkest tonalities using flats, before gradually moving through to the brighter, sharp tonalities as the eyes move up towards the face (although it’s eventually a C minor close, for architecture’s sake).
Daucé’s personal contribution to the mix has then been to prepare a new edition from the original performing parts which has further enrichened the colouristic and textural palette: adding a viola part for three of the cantatas; changing the allocation of stringed bass instruments so that the viol and violone aren’t systematically playing with the continuo or violins; having two voices to a part for the chorus numbers, thus clearly distinguishing between soli and ripieni. Add Ensemble Correspondances’s expressive, crisply articulated and suavely blended vocal performances, and the lucid delicacy of the instrumental support, and the results are very fine.
Schütz’s major offering meanwhile is his late-career masterpiece, Die sieben Worte (“The Seven Words”), which inventively combines motet-like settings with expressive recitative. However the programme’s joys aren’t limited to its headline events. For instance there’s also Schütz’s Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott, a vocal concerto with densely contrapuntal instrumental textures which here grabs from the off with the beautiful puritan sobriety of the ensemble string tone, and the gently impassioned soprano entry. Then, for a real rarity, complementing mourning music from Buxtehude is the state music-redolent Lamentum by Swedish organist Ludert Dijkman (c1645-1717), written at the passing of two Swedish princes.
It’ll be fascinating to see where Daucé turns next. – Charlotte Gardner
Disc 1 (57:54)
1. Membra Jesu Nostri, BuxWV 75: I. Ad pedes. Ecce super montes (07:38)
2. Membra Jesu Nostri, BuxWV 75: II. Ad genua. Ad uber portabimini (07:44)
3. Membra Jesu Nostri, BuxWV 75: III. Ad manus. Quid sunt plagae istae (09:19)
4. Membra Jesu Nostri, BuxWV 75: IV. Ad latus. Surge amica mea (08:13)
5. Membra Jesu Nostri, BuxWV 75: V. Ad pectus. Sicut modo geniti infantes (10:11)
6. Membra Jesu Nostri, BuxWV 75: VI. Ad cor. Vulnerasti cor meum (08:40)
7. Membra Jesu Nostri, BuxWV 75: VII. Ad faciem. Illustra faciem tuam (06:09)
Disc 2 (01:05:15)
1. Fried- und freudreiche Hinfahrt, BuxWV 76: II. Muß der Tod denn auch entbinden (Klag-Lied) (12:45)
2. Fried- und freudreiche Hinfahrt, BuxWV 76: I. Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin (04:39)
3. Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott, SWV 447 (04:42)
4. Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund, SWV 478: I. Introitus (02:10)
5. Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund, SWV 478: II. Symphonia (01:25)
6. Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund, SWV 478: III. Die sieben Worte (10:43)
7. Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund, SWV 478: IV. Symphonia (01:20)
8. Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund, SWV 478: V. Conclusio (01:52)
9. Lamentum eller En Sorge-Music: I. Aria (05:19)
10. Lamentum eller En Sorge-Music: II. Öde-Gudinnornas Swar (00:26)
11. Lamentum eller En Sorge-Music: III. Aria (01:36)
12. Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr, BuxWV 41 (18:18)