Uncle Dave Lewis
, June 2009
Orlande Lassus (here called Orlando di Lasso) would be at the top of the pop charts in the latter half of the seventeenth-century if such records had been kept; there was a certain time when some of Lassus’ tunes were known to average European citizens as well as a Beatles song might be familiar to the ordinary Joe in the early twenty-first century. In Capriccio’s Orlando di Lasso: German Songs expert period band Lautten Compagney, with the help of singers Mona Spågele, Bernhard Landauer, Wilfried Jochens and Thomas Herberich attempt to put over a program of what Lassus’ popularly oriented German lieder may have sounded like in their time. It’s a credible job done, and a recording that overall is very easy to listen to; there isn’t a stick of pretentiousness about it, even in instances where Lassus’ pop music has retained some measure of the harmonic complexity typified by his more serious outings. The best pieces in general are the instrumental ones, and in some cases vocal pieces are played instrumentally. Among the sung pieces it is worth pointing out “Ich hab ein mann, der gar nichts kan” is performed winningly by soprano Mona Spågele; it is a long song with many verses, but through characterization and sheer aplomb she keeps it interesting. Some of the duet exchanges between Spågele and Jochens are also amusing and engaging, and overall this is a good introduction to the less serious side of Lassus’ massive musical legacy.
Originally released in 1993, this is the reissue version from 2009; while all of the music is the same, the package of the reissue is a little nicer.