Wedding music from 1568

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One of the intriguing offerings from NAXOS CLASSICS at the start of 2021 is a collection of Renaissance vocal music by one of the most famous composers in 16th century Europe: the Flemish genius Orlande de Lassus, aka Orlando di Lasso.

The CD bears the title Lassus: Le Nozze in Baviera (8579063) and the “nozze” – Italian for wedding – to which the tile refers is the 1568 three-week nuptial bash celebrating the union of Renate of Lorraine and Wilhelm V of Bavaria, for which it is assumed that Orlando contributed a number of celebratory compositions.

Ensemble Origo, a superb early music ensemble brainchild of conductor Eric Rice authentically sings a number of compositions by Orlando that range from the pious to the downright naughty. Thus Te Deum laudamus  the lovely Motet that opens the CD is followed by Gratia sola Dei, a sacred song giving thanks to God, taken from the Cantiones aliquot (songs for several voices).

Then there follows a succession of madrigals, villanelle, and other Renaissance musical forms that utilize a mix of sacred and secular texts in several languages and dialects all idiomatically set by the multi-lingual Orlando and perfectly pronounced and exquisitely sung by the vocalists in the Ensemble Origo

Performing in both vocal and vocal-instrumental settings for 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8 voices and blending the voices with the instrumental ensemble the Ensemble Origo stylishly brings to life the music of Orlando di Lasso, a multi-national 16th-17th century master of polyphony and counterpoint.

Rafael de Acha