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Peter Loewen
American Record Guide, March 2019

The vigorous spirit of Hakenberger’s style is clear from the start—a dance-like setting of ‘Exsultate Deo’. These motets were originally published in a collection titled Sacri Modulorum Concentus (1615), but the ones performed here come from the Pelplin Organ Tablature, where they are preserved along with a large compendium of organ music. © 2019 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Richard Hanlon
MusicWeb International, January 2019

This is a bit of a find, to say the least.

What impresses pretty well immediately about these motets is their endless variety. …they are all accompanied by a very colourful and varied ensemble, Musica Fiorita, who seem to exhibit an infinite combination of sounds, textures and colours which deepen and amplify Hakenberger’s lovely music. It is sensitively sung by the 30 or so members of the Polish Chamber Choir. They are recorded in an intimate yet resonant chapel setting, so powerful as the motets sometimes are, they never overwhelm.

I’ve merely scratched the surface of its content by discussing a few of the numbers which particularly impressed me, but lovers of the likes of Schütz and the Gabrielis need not hesitate; they will find considerable riches here, in performances of palpable commitment which the engineers of Polish Radio have bathed in appropriately sepulchral sound. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2018

Precious little is known about the early years of Andreas Hakenberger, a composer who was born around the year 1573 in the territory of the Crown Kingdom of Poland. His name is mentioned as a singer in the Royal Court musicians, and in 1604 we have note of the publication of a choral work composed by him. From therein his music appears to have been restricted to the church with organ and choral scores coming from his appointment as chapel-master of St. Mary’s in Gdansk in 1608, and he was to be there for the rest of his life, dying in 1627. So, just to pick two familiar names, we are here in the Byrd and Tallis era. Prolific in his output, this recording of 55 motets was initially composed for the monks in the Cistercian monastery situated at Pelplin a region of Gdansk. The exact dates of composition are not known, but many may have been for special occasions and various liturgical festivities, such as Christmas celebrated in Verbum Caro. They were scored in everything from six to twelve parts, and were not intended to be performed as a collection of works, but are here simply grouped as fifty-five scores that range in length from one to six minutes, some obviously intended for two ‘choirs’ probably situated in differing parts of the church. At St. Mary’s the composer had access to twenty musicians for which he could write interesting and colourful accompaniments. He was said not to be at the forefront of avant garde writing at the time, though I could well have imagined this music came from a much later date. Certainly it is very well written, easy and pleasing to listen to, the texts spanning the Catholic Church (his own religion) and the Lutheran Church (where he worked), so it is free of doctrinal straitjackets, at times verging on a popular idiom for that period. You will have to accept that these World Premiere Recordings have female voices in place of the boy trebles that would have been used at the time, while the Polish choir, conducted by Jan Lukaszewski, are a general purpose professional group of some twenty-six voices who have the sophistication and polish their international high ranking would indicate. They are not specialists in Early Music, but on the other hand Musica Fiorita are a period instrument ensemble who provide some interesting sounds. The recording favours the singers, but has the feeling of a monastery acoustic. I have much enjoyed my introduction to the composer. © 2018 David’s Review Corner





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