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NEIDHART: Minnesinger and His Vale of Tears (A) - Songs and Interludes (Ensemble Leones)

Period(s) Medieval
Genre Classical Music
Category Chamber MusicInstrumentalVocal • Vocal Ensemble
Catalogue 8.572449
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

Neidhart was one of the most popular Minnesingers—or “poet-musicians”—of the late Middle Ages. His songs deal with rustic, erotic and violent topics mediated, however, through court culture, which gives them a stylised, ironic sense of detachment. His division of songs into “summer” or “winter” adds another layer of complexity, with melancholy or dance-orientated topics prevailing, depending on the season. The instrumental music carries a rural character. The “Frankfurt Fragment” manuscript has never been recorded in full, and is here performed by one of the most outstanding ensembles in the field.

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Review By Dr. Lothar Jahn,,November 2012

CD des Jahres 2012


Review By Katja Angenent,Miroque,

Neidhard gehört zu den bekanntesten deutschen Minnesängern. Das Ensemble Leones hat sich nun dem mittelalterlichen Liedermacher auf eine unorthodoxe Art und Weise zugewandt – es portraitiert die traurigen, schwermütigen Seiten seines Schaffens – das „Jammertal“ des Titels. Legt man die CD in den Player, schallen wunderschöne, aber zutiefst traurige, ruhige Stücke mit sakraler Note aus den Boxen. Hier fällt gleich beim ersten Hören das Stück „Ich claghe de blomen“ auf, das fast zehn Minuten lang allein von einer Frauenstimme getragen wird und doch nie an Spannung verliert. Die puristische Interpretation unterstreicht gekonnt den traurigen Tenor des Werkes und sorgt nebenbei für eine beinahe

Das Ensemble Leones besteht aus Gründungsvater Marc Lewon, der auf dieser CD singt sowie Laute, Vielle und Fidel spielt, der Sopranistin Els Janssens-Vanmunster und Baptiste Romain, der Vielle und (ungewöhnlich für Alte Music) Dudelsack spielt. Diese Musik ist mit Sicherheit nichts für den nächsten Mittelaltermarkt. Aber wer neugierig ist auf eine adäquate Vertonung akademischer Forschungen im Bereich der historischen Musik, der sollte sich die Mühe machen und diese CD mehrmals auf sich wirken lassen. Es braucht Zeit, bis man sich als moderner Mensch auf die fremd wirkenden Sangesweisen einlassen kann.

Wie bei Alter Musik üblich, finden sich auch hier eine Einführung zu Neidhards Leben und Werk sowie Kurzportraits der mitwirkenden Musiker im Booklet, das dafür aber leider auf Liedtexte verzichtet. © 2012 Miroque


Review By Katja Angenent ,Miroque,

Neidhart is ranked among the most famous minnesingers. Ensemble Leones has turned its attention to this medieval singer-songwriter in an unorthodox manner – they portray the plaintive, wistful aspects of his work – the “Vale of Tears” which gives the CD its title. When putting the CD in the player, beautiful, yet deeply sorrowful, calm pieces, with a sacred touch, resound from the loudspeakers. On the first listening through the CD, the piece “Ich claghe de blomen” attracts attention. This is a piece which is sustained for its length of almost 10 minutes solely by a female voice and which nonetheless never loses its tension. A puristic interpretation artfully underlines the mournful tenor of the composition and as a side-effect provides an almost

Ensemble Leones consists of founder Marc Lewon who, on this CD, sings and also plays the lute and vielle, the soprano Els Janssens-Vanmunster, and Baptiste Romain, who plays vielle and the bagpipes (the latter instrument unusual for the Early Music genre). This music surely has no place in the next Renaissance Fair, but whoever is curious for an adequate realisation of academic research in the realm of historical music should take the trouble to listen to the CD several times to allow the music sink in. It takes time for a modern listener to open up to the seemingly unfamiliar tunes.

As it is common for Early Music publications the booklet contains an introduction to Neidhart’s life and works as well as short portraits of the participating musicians. But unfortunately the sung texts are not included. © 2012 Miroque

(Translation: Catherine Motuz)


Review By Badische Zeitung,July 2012

Eine Schatztruhe früher Musik


Review By Silvia Bier,,May 2012



Review By Byzantion ,MusicWeb International,April 2012

This superb CD proves that time travel is possible. To listen to these outstanding performances by Ensemble Leones of Neidhart’s beautiful music and witty, sophisticated, sometimes outrageous poetry is to be transported back eight hundred years to an incredible period in the history of music and civilisation in general. Everyone who cares about that heritage should hear this recording.


Review By Thorsten Preuss,Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Radio),March 2012

Die Rettung des Minnesangs

Lieder von Neidhart mit dem Ensemble Leones

Seit Jahrzehnten hält sich unter deutschen Musikern hartnäckig das Klischee vom einfältigen Mittelalter, dem man nur mit drolligen Kostümen und klirrenden Schellen beizukommen weiß. Doch nun naht Erlösung. Endlich ist eine CD erschienen, die den Minnesang als raffinierte, reflektierte, vielschichtige Kunstform ernst nimmt.

Review By Bianca Flier,Regio Magazin,March 2012

“Neidhart – A Minnesinger and his Vale of Tears” is the second CD by the early music ensemble Leones. Following “Fantaisies de Josquin”, which was nominated for the International Classical Music Award, this is now the world premiere recording of the entire “Frankfurt Neidhart-Fragment”, dating from around 1300. Six songs by the minnesinger Neidhart have been transcribed and reconstructed on the basis of this original source. In addition to these, the CD also includes a song by the “Tugendhafte Schreiber” (i.e. “The Virtuous Scribe”) and a Sangspruch by Walther von der Vogelweide as well as ancient instrumental pieces. The Leones’ arrangements distinguish themselves from the more commonly known

(Translation: Catherine Motuz)


Read all publishers reviews(19)


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