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

Composer(s):
Artist(s)
Period(s) Medieval
Genre Classical Music
Category Chamber MusicInstrumentalVocal • Vocal Ensemble
Catalogue 8.572449
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
 
 
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8.572449
 


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,Minnesang.com,November 2012

CD des Jahres 2012

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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

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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)

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Review By Bianca Flier,Regio Magazin,March 2012

Mit „Neidhart – A Minnesinger and his Vale of Tears“ legt das Ensemble für frühe Musik, Leones, seine zweite CD vor. Nach den „Fantaisies de Josquin“, die für den International Classical Music Award nominiert wurden, folgt hier nun die Ersteinspielung des gesamten so genannten Frankfurter Neidhart-Fragments aus der Zeit um 1300. Sechs Lieder des Minnesängers Neidhart wurden auf der Grundlage dieses Originals neu übertragen und rekonstruiert. Zusätzlich finden sich auf der CD ein Lied des „Tugendhaften Schreibers“, ein Sangspruch von Walter von der Vogelweide sowie alte Instrumentalstücke. Von den einschlägigen Neidhart-Melodien unterscheiden sich die Arrangements von Leones durch ihren

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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)

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Review By Alexander Sanchez,Tidningen Kulturen (Sweden),February 2012

… På skivan framför Ensemble Leones flera av de mer kända verken, totalt 13 spår. Ensemble Leones består av flera medlemmar under ledning av Marc Lewon, som även har gjort det hårda arbetet med att skapa helhet utav en del av det, ofta, fragmentariskt bevarade materialet.

Instrumenteringen är allt från luta, säckpipa och fiddla till sång. Som introduktion till denna medeltida tyska sångskatt är det här en utmärkt skiva att ha i sin samling. © 2012 Tidningen Kulturen (Sweden)



Review By Alexander Sanchez,Tidningen Kulturen (Sweden),February 2012

… På skivan framför Ensemble Leones flera av de mer kända verken, totalt 13 spår. Ensemble Leones består av flera medlemmar under ledning av Marc Lewon, som även har gjort det hårda arbetet med att skapa helhet utav en del av det, ofta, fragmentariskt bevarade materialet.

Instrumenteringen är allt från luta, säckpipa och fiddla till sång. Som introduktion till denna medeltida tyska sångskatt är det här en utmärkt skiva att ha i sin samling. © 2012 Tidningen Kulturen (Sweden)



Review By Lothar Jahn,Minnesang.com,January 2012

With this recording by Ensemble “Leones”, dedicated to the earliest source fragment of Neidhart's melodies, Neidhart is led back from the dance floor into the courtly realm. These earlier melodies are not yet smoothed out enough to serve as catchy dance-tunes. Neidhart thus appears more subtle than we are used to. But he still remains unique!

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Review By Lothar Jahn,Minnesang.com,January 2012

With this recording by Ensemble “Leones”, dedicated to the earliest source fragment of Neidhart's melodies, Neidhart is led back from the dance floor into the courtly realm. These earlier melodies are not yet smoothed out enough to serve as catchy dance-tunes. Neidhart thus appears more subtle than we are used to. But he still remains unique!

more....


Review By Martin Uhlig,www.spielleut.de,January 2012

Great sound, the pure intonation goes without saying, brilliant rolls and ornaments, dramatic, wistful interpretation of a Neidhart song. The opener thus points the way for the whole CD, for this recording is deeply doleful and after all fits the CD’s title like a glove: truly a Minnesinger and his vale of tears! Finally no rustic croaking, no three-quarter time peasant dance songs, no crude satirical interpretation as one would usually hear under the heading of “Neidhart”. This is likely not least because the performers around Marc Lewon (Els Janssens-Vanmunster, Baptiste Romain) worked with the earliest surviving source of Neidhart songs (with melodies). Written down around the year 1300, it is thus by far the manuscript closest to Neidhart’s lifetime.

At the same time it becomes clear: Neidhart was no peasant. He also did not sing about his so called “village villains”. He sang about the moral degeneration of his fellow noblemen. How they must have smirked when hearing about the supposed dimwitted pranks of the peasants—not knowing that they themselves were the target of the mockery.

Even if it was already part of the concept and the “show” back then—how frustrated Neidhart must have been about it all. This is at least the impression one gets from first hearing the CD. The Vale of Tears, the “Reuental”, becomes tangible and concrete, as it were.

Nonetheless, it was after all probably this mockery, this satire, which made sure that Neidhart’s oeuvre became so popular and was transmitted so abundantly.

All the songs are recorded with all strophes which on no account becomes boring—just to stifle potential fears right away—after all, the songs are not just being rattled out, but stories are being told. The melodies are servants to the text in such a manner only seldom heard in interpretations of minnesang.

Apart from the 6 songs of this early manuscript there are another couple of minnesongs. (Marvellous: “Guoten wib wol üch der eren”, by the Tugendhafte Schreiber (“The Virtuos Scribe”)—with a melody from the Jena Liederhandschrift. For this one alone it’s worth buying the CD, even if the song has nothing to do with Neidhart). Equally remarkable: “Ich claghe de blomen”, a song of nine and a half minutes, performed by Els Janssens-Vanmunster soloistically. Simply nine minutes of a sung story. Wonderful! To properly follow the stories it is helpful to download the texts from the internet which are unfortunately not provided in the booklet. (Because one has to hunt a bit for the link, here is our service: more....

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