Klaus Mertens ~ Bass baritone
UNESCO World Heritage Site
June 15th 2006, recorded and created
by Andreas Otto Grimminger & Josef-Stefan Kindler
in co-operation with Juergen Budday.
CD Audio, DDD, ca. 55 min.
Who would ever have thought it... in a highly appealing, even noble way, this Hamburg Ratsmusik performance encourages us to take a look at certain values that appear to be losing their merit more and more today due to the wide influence of our environment. Listening to this concert, it is touching and, indeed, perhaps even comforting for us to discover values like grace, humility and noble-mindedness, which in those days were as important as efficiency, effectiveness and achievement are today. For me personally, this is one of the most beautiful and appealing chamber music concerts in the entire Maulbronn Monastery series.
The “Hundert ahnmutig und sonderbar Geistliche Arien” (One hundred charming and especially religious airs), printed in Dresden in 1694, tell of the breath of God as symbolised by the winds Africus and Caurus and of “the silken soft West that leaves its kisses on the roses”. This collection is an appendix to the Dresden Gesangbuch and appeared 18 years after the latter; its editor, the composer Christoph Bernhard, did not live to see it in print.
The songs were not meant to be sung by the parish congregation a delicate subject anyway during the tense times of Augustus the Strong’s conversion to Catholicism. They were for the private Protestant religious services of the other members of the Royal Family. The melodies are more elaborate than those usual in other ecclesiastical music of the time, the bass parts are highly imaginative and the individual ritornellos are remarkable.
There is another collection of 17th century songs that is dedicated to the same theme Johann Rist’s “Himlische Lieder” printed in Lüneburg in 1641/2 and set to music by Johann Schop, the Hamburg City “Rath” (or Council) musician. Both men were friends of Christoph Bernhard, who used his connections as a favourite pupil of Heinrich Schützen to arrange for them to meet the famous Kapellmeister on his journey up to Copenhagen.
The Hamburg Ratsmusik Ensemble
Klaus Mertens works with many important names in “Early Music”, as it is generally known specialists like Ton Koopman, Frans Brüggen, Nicholas McGegan, Philippe Herreweghe, René Jacobs, Sigiswald Kuijken, Gustav Leonhardt and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. He also works with many well-known classical conductors - Gary Bertini, Herbert Blomstedt and Sir Roger Norrington, for example.
Ulrich Wedemeier first studied classical guitar under Klaus Hempel at the University of Music and Theatre in Hanover. This was followed by the study of lute instruments under Stephen Stubbs. Besides performing as a soloist and a member of early music ensembles in international concerts, he also makes CD and radio recordings a regular focus of his work. Ulrich Wedemeier is much in demand as a guest at many opera houses. He is a specialist in historical guitars, playing rare 18th and 19th century original instruments.
Simone Eckert studied music under Professor Ingrid Stampa at the Hamburg University of Music, then at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis under Hannelore Mueller and Jordi Savall. After being awarded her Diploma in Early Music, she founded the Hamburg Ratsmusik Ensemble in 1991. She has been lecturing in music at the Hamburg Conservatory since 1992 and also holds various seminars in viola da gamba in Germany and England. She is an editor of Early Music for publishing houses such as Dovehouse Editions, New York, the Merseburger Verlag, Kassel etc. Her regular engagements include performances with the Staatsoper Hamburg as well as performances as a soloist and head of ensemble all over Germany, in Japan and in many European countries.
More information at: www.hamburger-ratsmusik.de
1. Concert Start
2. Wach auf, mein Geist, erhebe dich
3. Gott, der du mit großer Macht
4. Merk auf, o sündig's Menschenkind
5. O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid
6. Suite in g-moll
7. Da du wolltest von mir ziehen
8. Die sterbenden Lilien
9. Prelude - Allemande - Courante
10. Gleich wie ein junger Hirsch
11. Allein nach dir, mein Herr und Gott
12. Gute Nacht! Du eitles Leben!
13. "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut"
14. Leb ich oder leb ich nicht
15. Ach, wie entgeistert sich mein Geist
17. Der Tag ist hin
18. Alles vergehet, Musica bleibet bestehn
Publishing culture in its authentic form entails for us capturing and recording for posterity outstanding performances and concerts. The performers, audience, opus and room enter into an intimate dialogue that in its form and expression, its atmosphere, is unique and unrepeatable. It is our aim, the philosophy of our house, to enable the listener to acutely experience every facet of this symbiosis, the intensity of the performance. The results are unparalleled interpretations of musical and literary works, simply - audiophile snapshots of permanent value.
The concerts in Maulbronn monastery, which we document with this edition, supply, in many ways, the ideal conditions for our aspirations. It is, above all, the atmosphere of the romantic, candle-lit arches, the magic of the monastery in its unadulterated sublime presence and tranquillity that impresses itself upon the performers and audience of these concerts. Renowned soloists and ensembles from the international arena repeatedly welcome the opportunity to appear here - enjoying the unparalleled acoustic and architectural beauty of this World Heritage Site (monastery church, cloister gardens, lay refectory, etc.), providing exquisite performances of secular and sacred music.
Under the patronage of the Evangelical Seminar, the Maulbronn Monastery Cloister Concerts were instigated in 1968 with an abundance of musical enthusiasm and voluntary leadership. Within the hallowed walls of the classical grammar and boarding school, existent for more than 450 years, some of society's great thinkers, poets and humanists, such as Kepler, Hölderlin, Herwegh and Hesse received their first impressions. The youthful elan, the constructive participation of the pupils, continuing the tradition of their great predecessors, constructs an enlightened climate in which artistic ambitions can especially thrive. Twenty-five concerts take place between May and September. Their success can be largely attributed to the many voluntary helpers from near and far.
Flourishing culture in a living monument, created for the delight of the live audience and, last but not least, you the listener, are the ideals we document with this series - directly in digital stereo.
Andreas Otto Grimminger & Josef-Stefan Kindler