Hamburg Ratsmusik

Hamburg Ratsmusik
Baroque Ensemble

The beginnings of the Ensemble Hamburger Ratsmusik go back as far as the 16th century. As the city fathers considered good instrumental music to be an important part of civic representation at official ceremonies and in the main churches they made sure that respected musicians worked for them. Based on the principal "for the glory of God - and the pleasure, delight and benefit of Hamburg" the city boasted an elite ensmble of eight civic instrumentalists who were able to compete with many a princely court orchestra. The ensemble enjoyed its heyday during the 17th century under such leading musicians as William Brade and Johann Schop. During the 18th century, Georg Philipp Telemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach called on the services of Hamburg's civic instrumentalist for their performances, before the ensemble fell victim to effiency measures in the 19th century.
Since we re-established the ensemble in 1991 we have built up an extensive and remarkable repertoire with devotion and enthusiasm in more than fourteen years of working together. For us, the music of our predecessors, with its close dependance on rhetoric and articulation rich in nuances, is so eloquent that it is closer to human speech than any other form of music. With its clear structures and varied rhythms, borrowed from centuries-old dances, the music of the 16th to 18th centuries developed its own "swing". The adventure of re-descovering unknown early music, lying dormant in Europe's libraries, is also tempting and the "resuscitation" of these treasures is our exciting objective. We present audiences with these works at concerts, on recordings for radio broadcast and CD release and in publications for international publishing houses.
The Hamburger Ratsmusik has appeared at numerous festivals, including the Handel Festival in Göttingen and Halle, the International Bach-Fest Leipzig, the Baroque Festival at Bad Arolsen and many others. The ensemble has also gained a nationwide reputation through first recordings for the Christophorus, Thorofon and NCA labels, as well as broadcasts for the NDR, MDR, Radio Bremen, WDR, SWR and HR broadcasting companies. 2006 the Hamburger Ratsmusik was awarded the Echo Klassik, the most important German music award. The international press praises the "subtlety" and the "excellent knowledge of baroque style" of the ensemble's interpretations - and the Hamburger Ratsmusik itself as a "leading ensemble for early music".
Musica Sacra · Die ZeitMusica Sacra · Die Zeit
Musica Sacra
Die Zeit
'The period of time'
Songs, arias and instrumental music from the 17th and 18th century
by Johann Rist, Johann Schop (c. 1590-1667),
Nikolaus Adam Strungk (1640-1700),
Heinrich Scheidemann (c. 1595-1663),
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)
Dorothee Mields (Soprano)
& Ensemble Hamburger Ratsmusik:
Simone Eckert (Viola da gamba & Diskant-Viola da Gamba),
Ulrich Wedemeier (Theorbo),
Michael Fuerst (Harpsichord)
A concert recording from the church of the German
UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery
HD Recording · DDD · c. 60 Minutes
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A spirited rediscovery of true expression that's centuries old

This album is part of a series recorded live at the medieval-era Maulbronn Monastery in southern Germany, but it explores the music of a very different region: the Hamburger Ratsmusik, doubtless a strange name to Anglophone ears, is the Music of the Hamburg City Council, a concert series with a tradition a half a millennium long. It petered out and was then revived.
This concert, conceptualized by gambist and ensemble leader Simone Eckert, collects a group of pieces from the 18th century, all connected by the single theme of time (die Zeit)... The combination of pieces is largely unlike anything that's been put on disc before, and many of them are unknown. The program combines simple, strophic settings like Johann Schop's "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort" (O Eternity, You Thunder-Word), from the mid-17th century, with Telemann's simple moralistic cantatas, more involved Bachian pieces, and instrumental works of several kinds.
Soprano Dorothee Mields does an exceptional job of communicating the sober but appealing mood of the music, so different from the operatic ideals that informed even much of the output of Bach, and the backing musicians keep everything lively even as the emotion level is low-key; the two Telemann trio sonatas included are nicely differentiated by accompaniment, with one featuring a theorbo continuo.
The whole program breathes and feels like a spirited rediscovery of true expression that's centuries old, and the sound from the monastery is well suited to this music. Recommended, partly in hopes that the album will stimulate further exploration of the repertory from Hamburg, an immensely influential city in its day.

James Manheim, All Music Guide USA

Vol. 09: The most beautiful Concert Highlights 2006Vol. 09: The most beautiful Concert Highlights 2006
The 20th Anniversary of the Maulbronn Monastery Edition
The most beautiful Concert Highlights
from Maulbronn Monastery 2006

The 50th Anniversary of the Maulbronn Monastery Concerts
Anniversary Series, Vol. 9

Highlights from:
George Frideric Handel & Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Der Messias, K. 572 (October 2 & 3, 2006)
The "Concert for Oboe, Bassoon & Piano" (July 15, 2006):
Camille Saint-Saëns: Bassoon Sonata in G Major, Op. 168 · Francis Poulenc: Trio, FP 43
The concert "Human being lives and consists" (June 17, 2006):
B. Britten: A Hymn to the virgin · M. Lauridsen: O magnum Mysterium · J. Sandström: Gloria
"Glass & Stones · Concert for Glass Armonica & Verrophone" (June 16, 2006):
Antonio Vivaldi: Largo from "The 4 Seasons: "L'inverno" (Winter)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Adagio for Glass Harmonica in C Major, K. 617a
Arvo Pärt: Pari intervallo · Ennio Morricone: Il Gatto a Nove Code
The concert "Awake, my Spirit" (June 15, 2006):
Johann Schop: O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid · Christoph Bernhard: Leb ich oder leb ich nicht
Johann Schop: Ballet for discant viola da gamba & basso continuo
Christoph Bernhard: Der Tag ist hin · Johann Rudolf Ahle: Alles vergehet, Musik bestehet
Live recordings from the German UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery
HD Recording · DDD · Duration: c. 98 Minutes
Digital Album · 29 Tracks · incl. Digital Booklet
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