About this Recording
8.226024 - STOCKMANN: Musica Nuptialis


At the end of the 1980s one of the most significant finds for early Danish musical history was made. In the light of a history of the Nikolai Library in Flenshurg written by Dr. Gerhard Kraack, the musicologist Ole Kongsted identified 25 unique pieces from the period c. 1570 - c. 1600. The find was first presented in sounding musical form at the fiftieth birthday concert for HM Queen Margrethe II in Frederikshorg Castle Chapel on 19th April 1990. Parts of the repertoire were recorded by the Danish National Choir/DR conducted by Stefan Parkman, Royal Danish Brass and Per Kynne Frandsen on Dacapo DCCD 9020, and by the vocal ensemble Capella Hafniesis on the CD Kronborg Motets, Kontrapunkt 32106. The find and its history are described in Ole Kongsted: Kronborg-Brunnen und Kronborg-Motetten. Ein Notenfund des späten 16. Jahrhunderts und seine Vorgeschichte, Copenhagen / Flensburg / Kiel 1991 and in later articles. The two most significant works from this collection, so important to early Danish musical history, are the Kronborg Motets and Musica Nuptialis. The former work was published in 1990 as the Royal Lihrary’s gift to HM the Queen on the occasion of her fiftieth birthday.

Since then there has been a wish to combine a CD recording with a publication of the music. Since the first two motets of the collection are dedicated to Princess Elisabeth (1573-1626) and Duke Heinrich Julius of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1564-1613) on the occasion of their wedding on 19th April 1590 at Kronborg Castle, it seemed that the wedding of HRH Crown Prince Frederik to Mary Elizabeth Donaldson on 14th May, 2004 would be a particularly apt occasion, For the Crown Prince is descended from this couple through no fewer then two different lines! The descent from Duke Heinrich Julius and Princess Elisabeth - great-great grandparents of HRH Crown Prince Frederik in the eleventh generation - goes through their daughters: 1) through Sofie Hedwig (1592-1642) and Ernst Kasimir Count of Dietz-Nassau (1573-1632), via both the Dutch and Swedish Royal Families to Lovisa of Sweden-Norway (1851-1926) and Frederik VIII (1843-1912), the great-grandparents of HM Queen Margrethe II; and 2) through Elisabeth (1593-1650) and Johann Philip Duke of Sachsen-Altenburg (1597-1639), via four generations of Dukes of Sachsen-Gotha to Luise of Sachsen-Gotha (1756-1808), m. Friedrich Franz I, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1756-1837), then via another tour generations of Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin to Alexandrine (1879-1952), King Christian X’s Queen and HM Queen Margrethe II’s grandmother. 

The works presented here as nos., 1-12 are part of the so-called Flensburg Collection, At the end of the sixteenth century the collection belonged to Hans (Johannes) Hartmann (c. 1 534-1606), who gave it in 1603 to the Skt. Nikolai Church in Flensburg. It consists of some fifty items, works from the period c. 1570 - c. 1600. We know something of Hans Hartmann’s life, among other reasons because, like so many Flensburgers, he rose to a very high position in the civil service hierarchy. In his younger days he served first under Duke Adolf at Gottorf Castle, and later he took part in the Seven years’ War as the secretary of General Daniel Rantzau. In 1569 he was employed as Royal Clerk of the County in Flensburg. In 1577 he was one of three candidates for the post of Mayor there; however, he was not elected. In 1592 he was appointed Treasurer to Frederik II’s Dowager Queen Sofie - a position of trust in which his duties included keeping the accounts of the county prefecture in the principalities of her son (Christian IV) - Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn and the Ditmarshes - during his minority. In 1599-1600 he was briefly the Royal Prefect of the County in Flensburg. He died in Roskilde in 1606 on a journey from Copenhagen to Flensburg and was buried in Roskilde Cathedral, where the Dowager Queen - who appears to have held her Treasurer in high esteem - had a sepulchral tablet dedicated to him which can still be seen in the Cathedral. In 1603 he had given his collection of printed music and manuscripts to the Skt. Nikolai Church in Flensburg. By various routes - of which an account is given elsewhere - for example by way of the library of the Altes Gymnasium - the music collection ended up in the Landeszentralbibliothek, Flensburg in 1989.

Comparing the information on Hans Hartmann’s life with what can be inferred from the dedications etc. of the music collection, it is clear that he was a man of considerable talent with an interest in music, who must have personally known many of the composers represented in his music collection. This can be seen from various dedications from the composers to him.

One of these composers was Bartholomaeus Stockmann. While we are very well informed about Hartmann’s life, information about Stockmann is extremely scanty. The title page of the collection Musico Nuptialis (see illustration) reveals that he was born in Brunswick. The German historian Gerhard Kraack has suggested that he may have studied at the University in Helmstedt; this is possible, perhaps even likely, but so far it has not been documented. In 1583 he was engaged as cantor at the Flensburg Grammar School; by 1586 he had already resigned together with the principal of the school. We do not know the reason; Flensburg historians have conjectured that a disagreement with the city council may have been the reason why principal and cantor made common cause. Stockmann remained in Flensburg after leaving the post as cantor. On 19th September 1587 “wart ... de aide Cantor in den Torn gesleper und gesettet” [the former cantor was dragged to the tower and incarcerated]. Why we do not know, and it is highly remarkable that just three weeks after his imprisonment in Flensburg - on 8th October - he was engaged as a bass singer in Frederik II’s cantorium in Copenhagen. His ‘career move’ from convict to royal bass singer in just nineteen days is quite inexplicable unless some powerful person intervened. It may have been Hans Hartmann or perhaps an even more powerful figure: Heinrich Rantzau, who was acquainted with Stockmann. For that matter it could have been Frederik II himself who - perhaps on the initiative of one of the above - retrieved him from prison. Frederik II often came to Flensburg; on one occasion, not long before Stockmann’s stay behind bars, the King had been to a wedding at the city hail, “… alwo sick I.[hro] M.[aiestät]sehr lusfich gemakett und mit den Borgerfruwens gedantzett” [where His Majesty had made very merry and danced with the burghers’ wives], And in mid-September 1587 Frederik II and his court had in fact been in the South Jutland area (at Koldinghus, Egtved, Vamdrup, Holm, Nygaard, Lejrskov etc.). In 1588, Rantzau published Descriptio Pompae Funebris in Hamburg on the occasion of the death and funeral of Frederik II. The music for this, a five-part so-called Querela… in obitum Regis Daniae Friderici II [Lament on the occasion of the death of Fraderik II], was composed by Stockmann. The three surviving copies of this book unfortunately only have the text the music has not been preserved. Stockmann remained in his post for three years until September 1590, after which he disappears from the record; there is no information as to whether he died in Copenhagen or went elsewhere.

The twelve works created by Stockmann and recorded here - the music for which is being published concurrently with the release of the CD - represent everything by Stockmann that is preserved. Stockmann’s oeuvre is thus quickly summarized, but it is significant both in its own right and as documentation of the various kinds of occasional music current at the time, in this case the congratulatory motet genre for New year and a wedding.

The works fall naturally into two groups:

(A) Three congratulatory motets dedicated to his friend Hans Hartmann celebrating New Year 1584. The works are in autograph with the call number M MS 10 in the Landeszentralbibliothek, Flensburg. The manuscript consists of six-part books with a Latin dedication to Hartmann (on the title page of the tenor part). The three motets - one in six parts in Latin, one in five parts in Latin, one in four parts in German are all composed on the basis of Hartmann’s symbolum (a religious text or motto associated with him), Psalm 37, verse 5: Commenda Domino viam tuam / Befiehl dem Herren deine Wege (“Commit thy ways unto the Lord”). These are three very different works in the same mode (Dorian), each of which is a good example of Stockmann’s musicianship.

(8) The collection Musica Nuptialis - nine five-part wedding motets occasioned by the weddings of a number of named individuals c. 1585-1590. This publication, which was printed in Helmstedt in 1590, is the oldest known collection of motets demonstrably composed in Denmark. Five of the nine compositions are stated to have been composed for particular occasions:

1. Candida lux rediit (no. 1 of the collection) with a ‘secunda pars’ Salve, laeta dies, was written to celebrate Duke Heinrich Julius’ arrival in Denmark in 1590 - “In aduentum optatissimum in regnum Daniae Reverendissimi, illvstrissimique Principis ac Domini, Dn. Henrici lvlii, Episcopi Halberstadensis, Ducis Rrunsuicensis ac Luneburgensis &c.” The motet, which in connection with the dedication to the Duke is designated Carmen, includes a ‘secunda pars’ in six elegiac couplets. v. 1: The ‘snow-white stones’ (niveis lapillis) refer to an ancient tradition of marking good or bad days with white and black stones respectively; v, 2: Phoebus = the Sun; v, 3: Juhiades (Greek): son of Julius; v. 5: The land of the ancient Cimbri is Denmark; v. 6: The ‘Cyprian’ as a name of Venus refers to an important shrine of Venus/Aphrodite on Cyprus.

2. Congratulare Musa (no. 2 of the collection) with the ‘secunda pars’ Ades faveque, was written on the occasion of Princess Ehisabeth’s wedding to Duke Heinrich Julius at Kronborg Castle on 19th April, 1590. In connection with the dedication the motet is designated Carmen lambicum. The metre is known from Horace’s Epodes, The word floridulus, ‘flowery’ is a reference to one of the wedding poems of the Roman poet Catullus, the only place where the word occurs in Classical literature.

3. Inclyte Thespiadum (no. 5 of the collection) with the ‘secunda pars’ Nos sponso et sponsae was written on the occasion of the State Councillor Henrik Ramel’s wedding to Abel Rantzau on 2nd February, 1589 in Flensburg. The two parts of the motet - 2 x 2 elegiac couplets - belong together syntactically. v. 1: The ‘Thespian sisters’ are the Muses. Thespiae is a town near the mountain of the Muses, Helicon in Boeotia, v. 9: The torch was an important element in Roman wedding processions and is therefore used in Latin literature as a wedding symbol; v. 13: According to legend, the Greek hero-king Nestor became very old.

4. Sicut iuvenis amat virginem (no. 6 of the collection) was written on the occasion of the Royal Secretary Hans Rostrup’s wedding on 16th September, 1585 to the mayor’s daughter Catharina Fincke from Flensburg.

5. Tu qui corda creas (no. 8 of the collection) was written on the occasion of the rector of Tikøb Hans Ludvigsen Munthe’s wedding to Catharina de Fine on 17th September, 1587 in Kolding; she was the daughter of the Royal Kapellmeister Arnoldus de Fine. Note the elegant Anspielung in the motet text on the surname of the bride! The text is in elegiac couplets.

The remainder of the motets - nos. 3, 4, 7 and 9 of the collection - have no indication of names or occasions. If each had been composed on the occasion of a specific wedding, this would probably have been mentioned in the publication. Stockmann would have no reason to omit such information - rather the opposite. The most reasonable conclusion must therefore be that these motets were not composed with specific occasions in mind. By all indications the motets belong to the same period, 1585-1590, as the above-mentioned five. Nos. 4 and 5 come from Stockmann’s time in Flensburg, nos. 1-3 from his time in Copenhagen; the others cannot be dated.

The motet texts - insofar as they are not the already familiar texts from the Song of Solomon or Isaiah - are anonymous. The question of authorship cannot be answered, but of course Stockmann, who seems to have been proficient in Latin, could himself have written these texts.

To sum up, for several reasons one must emphasize that Stockmann’s collection of wedding motets is a quite unique document of Danish cultural history. It has historical parallels in the four-part anonymous wedding motet Det er baade gaat oc lader vel from 1572 (text by Hans Christensen Sthen) for the Mayor of Helsingør Henrik Mogensen Rosenvinge’s wedding to Birgitta Schulte and in Stockmann’s colleague Abraham Praetorius’ work Harmonia Gratulatoria for Princess Anne’s wedding to the Scottish King James VI in 1589. Stockmann’s music is typified by energetic drive, freshness and variety; the pieces, several of which are borne up by great beauty of sonority, generally have a bright tessituro. Stockmann clearly drew his inspiration from the works of several of the great sixteenth-century masters, among others Orlando di Lasso, but in many features (treatment of dissonance, bold chord sequences and relations etc.) was at the forefront in terms of musical history.

The five organ works come from one of the most important manuscripts of the Late Renaissance from northern Europe with music for a keyboard instrument the so-called Danzig Tablature, 1591. The manuscript has 40 pieces distributed over 17 fantasias and 23 intabulations of vocal pieces. The 17 fantasies - free, prelude-like pieces with no vocal model - belong together inasmuch, as they are ordered tonally by mode: nine modes are used, the Aeolian having been added to the first eight church modes. The intabulations are based on a number of the most popular vocal pieces of the sixteenth century. Five of the pieces that are most often found in manuscript copies from this period in European libraries are as follows:

1) The four-part Lied-motet Bewahr mich, Herr by Stephan Zirler - a piece found in copies spread all over Europe which has formed the basis for a wealth of lute and organ settings, parody masses etc. In reality the case is parallel to the L’homme armé story, which is a match for this one in terms of the number and geographical distribution of the pieces. Zirler’s piece was probably composed in the 1540s, but was first preserved in printed form in 1570. The instrumental settings, parody masses etc. are however already found in large numbers around the middle of the century, so the question is naturally whether a printed edition from the 1540s may have been lost.

2) The four-part chanson Dulcis memorio (Doulce memorie) by Pierre Sandrin - the original was printed in Paris in 1538.

3) The four-part chanson Je prens en gré by Jacobus Clemens non Papa - the original was printed in Louvain in 1570.

4) The four-part motet Gott ist mein Licht by Jacobus Clemens non Papa; it is preserved in many sixteenth-century copies with German text instead of the original Flemish - the original was printed in 1572 in Louvain.

5) The four-part motet Pater peccavi with ‘secunda pars’ Quanti mercenarii by Jacobus Clemens non Papa - the original was printed in 1555 in Louvain.

The manuscript has been investigated twice: first in 1931 by Hermann Rauschning, who was the first to draw attention to it and provided an overview of its content secondly in 1988 by Franz Kessler, who published it in 1988 in extenso. Rauschning’s conjecture as to the composer - Cajus Schmiedtlein - was adopted by Franz Kessler as a plausible possibility. The view is of course reinforced by the fact that in the 1930s Rauschning saw sources that were later lost in the World War But this is not proper proof, and a real, detailed scholarly study and codicological description of the manuscript remain to be done.

If it is true that Cajus Schmiedtlein is the author of these compositions, it is perhaps going too far to speak so unreservedly of ‘Danzig organ music’, 1591 - as both scholars accepted - was the binding year for this manuscript, which also contains much other information of no specific relevance to musical history; unless one assumes that the music was only written on the paper after the binding - which is not directly ascertainable - the music was of course composed before 1591; that is, probably in the 1580s. If this is so, it may be that some of these pieces come from Schmiedtlein’s time as the organist in Helsingør, Denmark. Schmiedtlein, who was born in the Ditmarshes, arrived in Husum after a few years in Hamburg, and from Husum he went on to Helsingør; there, on 31st August, 1578, he was engaged as organist at the Sankt Olai Church. The engagement lasted until 1580, when he left the town because of a disagreement with the town council. The reason was that “without the consent of mayor and council he ... had ... taken out a mass of pipes and cut them, and in addition damaged the organ, and [it] had become very incomplete and spoiled”. At New Year 1585/86, having a very considerable reputation as an organist, he was engaged for the newly-built organ at Sankt Marien in Danzig; not long sfter his engagement he left the post for an extended period, but again in 1589 he was certified for life in the same post. His talents as an organist may have been out of the ordinary in his time, but his abilities as an organ-builder appear to have been particularly limited; at all events a similar affair from Danzig, which caused a similar row, revealed that he had been unable to keep his fingers out of the large new organ in Sankt Marien. He died in Danzig in 1611.

The intabulations - whether they are his work or not is a matter for a future study - clearly have both secular and sacred models. Most of them conform to the same pattern: the upper part is embellished over a chordally progressing basis which lies close to the chordal structure of the model in the lower parts. The upper part with its diminutions often moves around the melody notes of the model, but it also has sequences that lead further away from the model, often according to rhythmically uniform principles. The lower parts are usually only ornamented in connection with cadences.

Ole Kongsted, 2004

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