In this programme, we present music for a Marian Vespers as it might have been celebrated in Munich under the direction of Orlande de Lassus in 1579. The basis for this programme is a set of six manuscript part-books in the Bischöfliche Zentralbibliothek in Regensburg (Hs.A.R.775&777). Each of these part-books carries the appellation ‘Orlandi Lassi 1579’ on its cover.
The primary importance of this collection lies in the fact that many of the compositions are headed by very precise instrumentations for varying combinations of wind instruments: ‘zingen’ (cornetts), ‘püsaünen’ (sackbuts – Renaissance trombones), and ‘pümart’ (pommers – the lower-pitched members of the shawm family). This gives us a unique and fascinating insight into the repertory and make-up of a sixteenth-century wind ensemble: that of the Bavarian Hofkapelle in the final year of the reign of Duke Albrecht V.
The Regensburg collection contains several Psalm settings suitable for performance at Vespers, and other pieces in this programme are selected from contemporary printed sources, to which we apply similar principles of instrumentation. Some of these pieces are by Lassus himself, others are by his colleagues in the Hofkapelle, including Gregor Lange, Anton Gosswin, and Andrea Gabrieli. We know from the writings of Massimo Troiano, sometime alto in the Hofkapelle, that wind instruments would play on Sundays and feast days at Mass and Vespers ‘in company with the singers’, and His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts is therefore joined by its sister group, His Majestys Consort of Voices, for this performance.
Requirements: 17 musicians (8 wind players, 8 singers, organ).
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