Argentum et Aurum – Musical Treasures from the Early Habsburg Renaissance

We are proud to present our latest release: “The recordings by Ensemble Leones brought together on this release grew out of an academic research project at the University of Vienna led by the music historian Professor Birgit Lodes. This project, entitled “Musical Life of the Late Middle Ages in the Austrian Region (c.1340–c.1520)”, which has been sponsored by the FWF (Austria’s central fund for the promotion of academic research), makes it possible to experience through music a period of European cultural history during which the house of Habsburg emerged as a world power and Vienna as a city of music.” (Reinhard Strohm, liner notes)

Argentum et Aurum (Ensemble Leones) - Cover

“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.” (Naxos release sheet)

It includes some well-known pieces from not-so-well-known sources, new finds on fragments from the Vienna University Library (see for instance the entries in the categories “Vienna Ars Nova Fragments” on this blogsite) and a number of première recordings:

Argentum et Aurum (Ensemble Leones) - Inlay CardThese recordings (and more, yet unpublished ones) are found on the project’s website, linked to articles and essays that are dedicated to styles, composers, individual pieces and musical practises. Together they present a portfolio of sometimes surprisingly diverse musical styles that coexisted in a “century of variety”:

  1. Heinrich Isaac (1450/55-1517): Argentum et aurum*—3:11
  2. Neidhart: Vyol – Urlaub hab der wintter—6:37
  3. Hugo von Montfort (1357-1423): Ich fragt ain wachter—6:13
  4. The Monk of Salzburg (late 14th c.): Das kchúhorn – Untarnslaf—1:37
  5. Oswald von Wolkenstein (c.1377-1445): Skak – Frölich geschrai so well wir machen—1:15
  6. Anon. (late 14th c.): Soyt tart tempre—1:31
  7. Anon. (late 14th c.): Or sus vous dormes trop—5:57
  8. Oswald von Wolkenstein: Durch Barbarei, Arabia—2:31
  9. Neidhart: Der sunnen glanst*—4:44
  10. Neidhart: Do man den gumpel gampel sank—8:18
  11. Oswald von Wolkenstein: Freu dich, du weltlich creatúr—2:16
  12. Oswald von Wolkenstein: Zergangen ist meins herzen we—5:03
  13. Anon. (c.1400): Gegrusset seistu maria*—5:36
  14. Hermann Edlerawer*—2:58
  15. Anon. (15th c.): Von osterreich – Sig, säld und heil*—0:57
  16. Anon. (late 15th c.): So stee ich hie auff diser erd—1:04
  17. Anon. (mid-15th c.): Alle dei filius*—2:12
  18. Anon. (early 15th c.): My ladi, my ladi, myn happ*—1:32
  19. Guillaume Du Fay (1397-1474): Seigneur Leon—1:20
  20. Anon. (late 15th c.): Gespile, liebe gespile gút—0:50
  21. Anon. (late 15th c.): Es sassen höld in ainer stuben*—0:51
  22. Anon. (late 15th c.): Ich sachs ains mals*—1:08
  23. Oswald von Wolkenstein? and Nicolaus Krombsdorfer? (d. 1479): Heýa, heýa nun wie si grollen*—0:59
  24. Johannes Martini (c.1430/40-1497): La Martinella—2:07
  25. Anon. (early 16th c.): Pavane—1:30
  26. Anon. (early 16th c.): Mantúaner dantz—1:23
  27. Paul Hofhaimer (1459-1537): Gottes namen faren wir—1:47
  28. Pfabinschwantz (fl. c.1500): Maria zart, von edler art*—3:11

Total Time: 78:37
*world première recordings

The musicians of Ensemble Leones in this recording are:

Els Janssens-Vanmunster – voice
Raitis Grigalis – voice
Baptiste Romain – vielle, Renaissance violin
Uri Smilansky – viola d’arco
Elizabeth Rumsey – Renaissance gamba, viola d’arco, vielle
Marc Lewon – plectrum lute, viola d’arco, vielle, cetra, voice
Liane Ehlich – transverse flute
Tobie Miller – symphonie
Miriam Andersén – cow horn

Since the sung texts are not included with the booklet, Naxos provides a free PDF download with German and English translations. Further information on the recording and the CD can be found on the Naxos website, for instance the full text (in German and English) of the Liner Notes by Reinhard Strohm with an addition by Marc Lewon. Naxos also provides a short feature presentation with a free bonus track. For more information regarding Ensemble Leones, check out our website, or find us on facebook.

The recording won the renowned International Classical Music Awards 2016 (ICMA) in the category “Early Music”.

Marc Lewon

PS: Ensembe Stimmwerck, who recorded a great amount of sacred a capella music for our “Musical Life” project has also issued a CD with their contributions later in 2015 with the title “Flos virginum“.

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