Flos virginum – Motets of the 15th Century

The research project “Musical Life of the Late Middle Ages in the Austrian Region (c1340-c1520)” has brought two albums. For the first by Ensemble Leones, see the blog-entry “Argentum et Aurum– Musical Treasures from the Early Habsburg Renaissance“. The second was published later in 2015 by the vocal ensemble Stimmwerck and is dedicated to 15th century motets in sources from the Austrian region under the title “Flos virginum”.

“Here, Stimmwerck, the ingenious German vocal quartet, sets out on exciting and unknown paths of European musical history. The present recording featuring late medieval motets and songs by Brassart, Martini, Roullet, and anonymous composers from various manuscript sources offers an in-depth cross-section of early vocal music in which the joie de vivre and profound piety of that epoch are uniquely experienced.” (cpo release sheet)

Stimmwerck-CoverThese recordings (and more, yet unpublished ones) are on the project’s website, linked to articles and essays that are dedicated to styles, composers, pieces and musical practises. Together they present a window into the world of sacred motets and cantiones by internationally renowned composers such as Johannes Martini and Guillaume Dufay, but also by lesser known “local players” like Ludovicus Krafft and others who remain anonymous. A main focus are the famous Trent Codices:

Stimmwerck-Inlay Card

  1. Johannes Brassart (c.1400-05; d. before 22 Oct 1455): O rex Fridrice – In tuo adventu—5:51
  2. Johannes Touront (fl. c.14501-75): O florens rosa—4:00
  3. [?]Forest (fl. first half of the 15th century): Anima mea liquefacta est—4:46
  4. Johannes de Sarto (fl. c.1430-40): Romanorum rex—4:56
  5. Johannes Martini (c.1430-40; d.1497): Flos virginum—2:04
  6. Anonymous (Nikolaus Leopold Codex): O propugnator—4:23
  7. Johannes Puillois (?-1478): Flos de spina—4:53
  8. Anonymous (Nikolaus Leopold Codex): Ave mundi spes / In Gottes Namen—2:04
  9. Guillaume Dufay (?1397-1474): Missa S. Georgii: Alleluia—4:05
  10. Anonymous (Trent Codices): Dies est letitie—1:24
  11. Anonymous (Trent Codices): O beata infantia—5:28
  12. Ludovicus Krafft (fl. c.1460): Novus annus—3:12
  13. Johannes Roullet (fl.ca.1435-45): Laus tibi—8:45
  14. Anonymous (Trent Codices): Advenisti desiderabilis—3:07
  15. Ludovicus Krafft (Trent Codices): Terribilis est—1:24
  16. Anonymous (Trent Codices): Christus surrexit—1:46

Total Time: 62:10

The musicians of Stimmwerck in this recording are:

Franz Vitzthum – countertenor
Klaus Wenk – tenor
Gerhard Hölzle – tenor
Marcus Schmidl – bass-baritone

Guest: David Erler – countertenor

The CD-booklet includes liner notes by Reinhard Strohm and all sung texts of the recording including German and English translations.

The CD has since received international acclaim by noted magazines and online publications such as Gramophone, Music Web, Review Corner, and Klassik heute.