Buxtehude: Membra Jesu Nostri

Buxtehude: Membra Jesu Nostri
The Chapel Choir of Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Orpheus Britannicus, Newe Vialles, Andrew Arthur (director)
Resonus Classics RES10238. 70’17

Buxtehude’s cycle of seven cantatas, under the collective title of Membra Jesu nostri patientis sanctissima, is one of the finest sacred vocal works of the 17th-century. It reflects on The holy limbs of our suffering Jesus, using texts from the Medieval hymn Salve mundi salutare, probably written by Arnulf of Leuven (d1250). Each cantata focusses on a specific part of Christ’s crucified body: feet, knees, hands, sides, breast, heart, and face, adding to the hymn text words from the Bible. It is composed for five solo singers, who usually also make up a chorus although, in this case, the chorus is the 24-strong Chapel Choir of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, conducted by Andrew Arthur, the Director of Music at Trinty Hall. They are accompanied by the College’s professional period ensemble Ensemble-in-Residence, Orpheus Britannicus (founded by Andrew Arthur), with the five viols of Newe Vialles (directed by Henrik Persson and Caroline Ritchie) playing for the sensuous sixth cantata, Ad cor (To The Heart). Continue reading

Buxtehude & Tunder

Buxtehude & Tunder
Musica Poetica,

St Michael’s Church, South Grove, Highgate. 20 February 2016

Buxtehude: Laudate pueri Dominum, Membra Jesu Nostri; Tunder: Dominus illuminatio mea

One of a number of promising young early music groups formed in recent years is Musica Poetica, formed in 2010 by four students of the Royal Academy of Music, but now expandable into a range of sizes to suit the repertoire and led by Oliver John Ruthven. They have reinforced their North London base (they have been part of Hampstead Garden Opera for some time) by starting a series of contrasting concerts WP_20160220_18_53_05_Pro.jpg(every other month) at St Michael’s, on South Grove, Highgate. They opened the series with a concert of music from the North German masters, Dietrich Buxtehude and his predecessor at the Lübeck Marienkirche (and father-in-law), Franz Tunder. Tunder is usually unfairly overlooked in favour of his successor, but it was he who started the famous series of Lübeck Abendmusik concerts that traditionally took place on the five Sundays before Christmas every year; a tradition that lasted until 1810. They (and the then aging Buxtehude) famously attracted the young Bach in 1705. Continue reading