“Let us have a merry kerfuffle with laughter, and slag off those we do not like.”
This sliver of text from one of Oswald von Wolkenstein's 15th-century contributions to the Argentum etAurum compendium reminds us how things were ever thus: ancient airs with the emotional grate of everyday life that continues to resonate today. Sacred and secular, vocal and instrumental, decorous and naughty – all life is on this significant new release.
The period of the early Habsburgs, from c.1340 to c.1520, saw the development of a richly diverse musical culture in the Austrian region. This pioneering selection, the product of an extensive research project conducted at the University of Vienna, presents an overview of music in everyday life, in many cases in première recordings performed by Ensemble Leones. The music is sacred and secular, allowing the listener to eavesdrop on Tyrolean palaces, dance halls and bourgeois homes, and on the singer-poets who travelled the country where old local styles fused with the latest international fashions.
Listen to Oswald von Wolkenstein's Skak - Frolich geschrai so well wir machen
About the Artists
Ensemble Leones, a high profile ensemble of Early Music specialists founded by director Marc Lewon, is dedicated to presenting Medieval and Renaissance music. The ensemble’s work is characterised by performances that take into account historical sources to create subtle reconstructions and stylistically informed arrangements, which flow into their inspired interpretations. The ensemble’s signature features are the search for unknown compositions and sources as well as the re-introduction of rarely heard instruments into the performance practice of Early Music.
Marc Lewon specialises in medieval instruments of the lute family and medieval Germanic languages and literature. After gaining a Master’s degree in musicology and medieval German from Heidelberg University, he moved to Basel to further his practical music studies in the Medieval Department of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis where he completed his diploma in medieval lute, graduating with honours. Marc Lewon is founder and head of Ensemble Leones.
“This superb disc of music by one of Spain's most talented early 16th century composers is exactly the sort of boost that the less well-known repertoire needs in its search for a place in today's CD collection.” – The Daily Telegraph (Australia)
“The lute was always an aristocratic instrument, and Christopher Wilson's playing – nimble yet restrained in expression – does full justice to this quality...Wilson catches the character of each piece with great sensitivity.” – International Record Review
“The recording is excellent, the voices crystal clear, with the continuo instruments used selectively, which adds another layer of variety to these performances. These are the best performances yet in an already strong series of recordings” – MusicWeb International
“This recording offers a multivalent view of Gombert that has been missing in earlier performances; it should be added to the collection of anyone interested in the "lost generation" of composers between Josquin and Palestrina.” – American Record Guide
“...a first-class Danish choir....offers singing of great sensitivity and a wide range of dynamics...Bo Holton shapes the performance to move onwards with gathering intensity towards its climax.” – Penguin Guide
“...the beauty of the individual voices, their perfect blend, and expressive phrasing. This is ardent music set to passionate texts, for all their sacred character. Mackay and company never lose track of that.” – Fanfare
“All the performances are excellent. The Rose Consort are expert veterans of many a recording... The sound is clear and lifelike, with a minimum of ambience... In all, an outstanding bargain.” – American Record Guide