- Glori sei Gott (from the Polyhymnia caduceatrix)
17.09 In Stock
The historical-performance ensemble Apollo's Fire, based in Cleveland, Ohio, far from the centers of this tradition, has been releasing interesting and convincing performances of a variety of music since the late 1990s. Few of their recordings, however, have matched the ambitions of this album of music by Michael Praetorius, which might well serve as an introduction to this composer's output. The issue with many Praetorius recordings has been the diverse nature of his music, which included chorale-based pieces, limpid and perennially popular carols, large blocks of polychoral sound in the style German composers borrowed from Italy at the end of the Renaissance, and instrumental dances. Director Jeannette Sorrell weaves all these materials together using music taken from three Praetorius collections, making a pair of holiday-season services: a German-language Lutheran Advent service and a set of Christmas Vespers. These are mostly in Latin, but a few sections, including the familiar "Lo, how rose e'er blooming," are sung in English. Sorrell does not try to replicate a specific musical occasion, but instead creates a framework in which the diverse forces here -- adult choir, children's choir, large instrumental ensemble -- talk to each other in a way in which Praetorius would have recognized. The end result is an unusually satisfying recording of early Baroque Christmas music, with a stirring finale built from another familiar carol melody, "In dulci jubilo." Highly recommended.