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F10259   [8595017425929]   released 12/2020      
supported by the Ministry of Culture, Czech Republic
World premiere recording.

Musica Florea & Victoria Ensemble
conducted by Marek Štryncl


play all Requiem 66:20
Offertorium III 1:55
Offertorium VI 3:06
Offertorium VII 3:00
Requiem aeternam 3:51
Kyria eleison 1:50
Dies irae 2:34
Tuba mitum 1:45
Liber scriptus 3:08
Lacrimosa 2:00
Offertorium - Domine Jesu Christe 1:48
Sed signifer 1:08
Hostias 1:47
Quam olim Abrahae 1:45
Sonata 1:32
Sanctus 2:15
Agnus Dei 4:24
Offertorium VII 2:21
Offertorium I 2:51
Offertorium IV 1:47
Litaniae de Sanctissimo Nomine Iesu 12:42
Offertorium VIII 2:13
Offertorium II 2:39
Motetto pro defunctis (Ihr armen Seelen) 3:17

The Sacred Music of Antonín Reichenauer

During the first third of the 18th century, Prague was one of central Europe’s important centres of sacred figural music. Due to the various contacts between ecclesiastical institutions and music-loving aristocrats, the latest music of Italian and Viennese provenience was finding its way to the Czech lands. At the same time, local composers were also creating such works. One of them was Antonín Reichenauer (c.1694–1730), whose music is now attracting an ever increasing amount of attention from musicologists and the wider community of experts. Although he is now better known for his instrumental works, he wrote mostly sacred compositions, and these were popular and widespread already at the time when they were being written, as can be seen from the preserved period copies and the inventories of church choir lofts. The first known mentions of the composer date from 1722, when his son Jan Dominik was baptised at the Church of Our Lady beneath the Chain in Prague’s Lesser Town. Other sources mention him as a member of the ensemble of Count Václav Morzin. The entries in Prague’s vital records for the baptisms of Reichenauer’s children document the composer’s contacts with Prague’s cantors, choirmasters, and other musicians. Among those who served as his children’s godparents, usually repeatedly, were Prokop Korp from St Henry’s Church in Prague’s New Town, Václav Matěj Forst from St Wenceslas’ Church, Jan Michael Schöffler from the Church of Our Lady beneath the Chain in Prague’s Lesser Town, and Sebastian Erhardt, the music director of Thun’s ensemble. For Václav Morzin’s ensemble, Reichenauer probably composed mostly instrumental music. Not without interest in this connection is a collection of concertos dedicated to the count titled Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione by Antonio Vivaldi, who was Morzin’s titular Kapellmeister. Clearly, in Morzin’s ensemble Reichenauer became familiar with the music of the Italian master, who also composed sacred music. Reichenauer remained in Morzin’s employment until 1730, when he moved to Jindřichův Hradec, where he briefly held the position of organist at the parish church.

Sacred music constitutes the bulk of Reichenauer’s works. Manuscripts of his music have been preserved in the choir lofts of Prague’s most important churches. In his day, in terms of the number of compositions, he was one of the most plentifully represented composers in Prague at the Church of St Francis of Assisi (according to the 1737 inventory), at the Loreta in Hradčany (according to the list of music purchased in 1726/27), and at St Vitus’s Cathedral. Masses are predominant among his preserved works, but he also composed other kinds of sacred music. He was one of the first composers in this country to use French horns in sacred music. His pastoral Masses were also noticed by the musicologist Otakar Kamper, who also believed on the basis of a Mass dedicated to Louis Bertrand, a Dominican saint, that Reichenauer was the choir director at St Mary Magdalene’s, a former Dominican church in Prague’s Lesser Town, but we still lack reliable documentation to back this assertion. So far, only a few of Reichenauer’s works have appeared in print. The lack of printed editions is one of the reasons why our knowledge of Reichenauer’s sacred music still remains limited, and we do not have a comprehensive perspective on his compositional style.

During the period in question, musical settings of the Ordinary of the Mass stood at the top of the hierarchy of genres of sacred music. Because it was usual in those days to write Mass movements in both the old and the new style or even to combine both at the same time, we speak of compositions being in a mixed style. The text was set to music in the form of musically self-contained numbers, and for concertante choruses there was a typical alternation of solo and tutti passages using the concerto grosso principle. Different instrumentations and lengths of composition generally corresponded to the type of religious holiday or worship service (for example, Masses, litanies, and Vespers can be broken down into the categories breves and solennes), and trumpets and tympani were typical for the Solemn Mass genre. Musical settings of the text of the Requiem Mass had a tradition of their own, characterised by, among other things, the use of tone painting and of specific rhetorical figures bound to particular sections of the text. One example of such a Mass is the Requiem ex F from the music collection at St Nicholas’s Church, a Jesuit church in Prague’s Lesser Town. We know no details about the Mass’s composing, but the possibility cannot be ruled out that it was written for the Confraternity of the Agony of Christ (Confraternitas agoniae Christi) at that church, for which the German motet also included on this recording was intended as well. In terms of its length and content, the composition is similar, for example, to the Requiem solemne by Reichenauer’s contemporary Josef Brentner. Reichenauer demonstrates his compositional mastery through the alternation of choruses in the mixed and the new style, arias, ensembles, instrumental sections, and secco recitatives, all in combination with the sophisticated use of ritornello figures throughout the whole composition. Like many other composers, he built upon the tradition of the musical settings of this text. In the usual places we notice, for example, the delaying of cadences on words expressing eternity (Requiem aeternam), choral parlando (Dies irae), the energetic motif in the duet for alto and tenor (Quantus tremor), striking French horns in ritornellos (Tuba mirum), sudden shifts in the harmony (...ne absorbeat eas tartarus), leaps of an octave or of a seventh (...ne cadant in obscurum, Sanctus), or the use of the Neapolitan sixth chord (Sed Signifer).

Besides a number of Reichenauer’s Masses and offertories, musical settings have also been preserved of litanies with two different texts. Predominant among them is the Loreto Litany, which was widespread in its day, but the composition chosen for this recording is the Litaniae de Sanctissimo Nomine Jesu, representing a type of text that is a prayer in which the believers invoke the name of Jesus. Like Reichenauer’s Requiem, this composition is also a sequence of widely varied musical movements. It is divided into six vocal and instrumental sections composed in the concertante manner, so polyphonic voice leading appears only occasionally (Christe eleison). It is not only in the duet for soprano and alto (Jesu Fili) that Reichenauer’s melodic inventiveness equals that of Vivaldi.

For a long time, Reichenauer’s only published works were four compositions from the collection 8 Offertories and a funeral motet (regarded as a work by Josef Brentner because of a misprint), which were printed in 1943 by Theodor Veidl on the basis of a score reconstructed from the extant parts by Emilián Trolda. Until recently, the original purpose of the compositions from the collection in question was unknown, but this has now been discovered thanks to the musicological research of Václav Kapsa, which is unique in general in the case of sacred music. The collection created between 1721 and 1724 originally involved antiphons composed for the Novena of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, a nine-day celebration of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites with lavish musical accompaniment, which was introduced in Prague in 1721. The history of the Novena has been connected with Prague from the very beginning. When it was introduced for the very first time in Graz in 1718, it featured music by Josef Brentner. He had received a commission for the music the Carmelite nuns in Graz from the prior of Prague’s Carmelite monastery. Four antiphons (Vulnerasti cor meum, Zelo zelata sum, Audi, filia, Tu gloria Jerusalem) were carried over into Reichenauer’s collection of offertories without changes to the text, along with the antiphon Gaudens gaudebo, which was used to set a new text, In omnem terram. The other three offertories in the collection had probably also been composed originally as antiphons to St Thérèse, but we do not know the versions with the original texts. Reichenauer had probably intended to have the collection of eight offertories that were compiled from the original antiphons published in print, but this apparently did not occur.

The selection of compositions concludes with Reichenauer’s funeral motet Ihr armen Seelen. This is an example of a composition with a text in German that was composed for the Confraternity of the Agony of Christ (Confraternitas agoniae Christi) at the St Nicholas’ Church, a Jesuit church in Prague’s Lesser Town. Like the collection of offertories, this motet also is linked to the music of Josef Brentner, who composed music of a similar character for the same fraternity, but only a few of those compositions have been preserved. These compositions were heard at regular worship services held every Monday for the deceased members of the fraternity. Reichenauer’s motet is in three parts with a repeat of the first part (da capo). There is a noteworthy tenor part in the role of a tenore praeciente, i.e. “precentor”. The composition begins with his solo, which is answered by the other voices of the choir. The aforementioned compositions by Josef Brentner are similarly conceived, as are some of Reichenauer’s offertories to a certain extent.

We stand at the beginning of the revival of Reichenauer’s sacred music, which documents the flourishing of musical culture in Prague’s choir lofts after 1700. The wealth of source material means the conditions are favourable for the creation of new editions of Reichenauer’s works. Work is now underway on a thematic catalogue of the composer’s music, and printed editions of selected sacred works are under preparation. All of this work, as well as the making of this recording, is evidence of real interest in a forgotten composer who is worth rediscovering.

Vojtěch Podroužek

Conductor, violoncellist, choirmaster, and composer MAREK ŠTRYNCL (born 1974 in Jablonec nad Nisou) held the position of principal cellist in the North Bohemian Philharmonic already while a student at the conservatory in Teplice. He graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) in 2002 in the field of conducting, and has also studied cello at the Dresdner Akademie für alte Musik as well as participating in many courses in authentic performance practice in Chinon, Mainz, Basel, Valtice, and elsewhere. As a conductor and choirmaster Štryncl has collaborated with famous chamber and symphonic orchestras, choirs, ensembles, and soloists such as Magdaléna Kožená, Phillipe Jaroussky, The New Israeli Vocal Ensemble, Boni Pueri, the Orlando Consort, the Prague Chamber Choir, Les Musiciens du Paradis, and the Prague Philharmonia. His repertoire includes works from the early Baroque to the Romantic period as well as contemporary compositions.
In 1992 Štryncl’s interest in authentic performance led him to found the Musica Florea ensemble. Working with Musica Florea he restores to life the works of forgotten composers, especially from the Czech Baroque and Classical periods. He is responsible for programming the ensemble’s regular concert series in Prague and in other regions of Czech Republic, and has initiated the unique theatre project of transportable Baroque  stage called Florea Theatrum. He performs on the cello both as a soloist and in chamber works, and also occasionally composes. He has appeared in prestigious festivals such as the Prague Spring, Rezonanzen in Vienna, the Festival van Vlaanderen in Brugge, the Tage alter Musik in Sopron, the Tage alter und neuer Musik in Regensburg, Strings of Autumn, and Concentus Moraviae. He has made dozens of compact disc recordings, many of which have received top awards: Diapason in 1994, Zlatá Harmonie in 1997, and a Cannes Classical Award in 2003. Nor does he avoid alternative projects – e.g. a recording of contemporary Slovak compositions with the singer Iva Bittová (Vladimír Godár, Mater, ECM, 2007) and Romantic symphonic music played on period instruments (works by Antonín Dvořák for Arta label). 
Currently Štryncl is teaching orchestral conducting, conducting of sacred choral music, and Baroque cello at Charles University in Prague and also in special courses and workshops such as the International Summer School of Early Music in Valtice, Bohemia Cantat in Liberec, Convivium, the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno.

The MUSICA FLOREA ensemble was founded in 1992 by the cellist and conductor Marek Štryncl as one of the first serious initiatives in the field of stylistically-informed performance in the Czech Republic. Playing on original instruments or copies thereof, study of period sources and aesthetics, historical research, and creative revival of forgotten performing styles and methods have become indispensible and characteristic traits of the ensemble. The ensemble’s repertoire includes instrumental chamber music, secular and sacred vocal-instrumental music, orchestral concertos, and monumental works in the genres of symphonic music, opera, and oratorio from the early Baroque to the twentieth century. 
Musica Florea appears at important festivals of the world and collaborates with outstanding soloists and ensembles such as Magdaléna Kožená, Phillipe Jaroussky, Nancy Argenta, Veronique Gens, Paul Badura-Skoda, Susanne Rydén, the Orlando Consort, Les Pages et les Chantres du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, Le Poème Harmonique, and Boni Pueri. It has received many prestigious honours including the highest award conferred by the French magazine Diapason for a compact disc recording of J. D. Zelenka’s Missa Sanctissimae Trinitatis (Studio Matouš, 1994), the 1997 Zlatá Harmonie (Golden Harmony) award for the best Czech recording of the year (arias by J. S. Bach with Magdaléna Kožená, Polygram, 1997), and the MIDEM 2003 Cannes Classical Award for a recording of J. D. Zelenka’s allegorical play Sub olea pacis et palma virtutis - Melodrama de Sancto Venceslao (Supraphon, 2001). In 2009 Musica Florea received an award at the Varaždin festival in Croatia for the best interpretation of works by J. S. Bach.Since 2002 Musica Florea has been presenting its own concert series supported by the Ministry of Culture and the City of Prague, with emphasis on both known and newly-discovered compositions that are worthy of authentic interpretation.

The VICTORIA ENSEMBLE is a vocal and instrumental ensemble founded in 2016 by the soprano and choirmaster Viktorie Dugranpere. The chamber ensemble focuses on the historically informed interpretation of European music of the 15th – 18th centuries. It encompasses a vocal group with up to twelve singers and an instrumental ensemble with ad hoc instrumentation using period instruments or replicas. The ensemble has appeared with as few as three performers and as many as twenty-five. Ms. Dugranpere is involved primarily with music that is forgotten and seldom performed, and she devotes special attention to Czech and French repertoire. Her activities are based upon systematic musicological research. The Victoria Ensemble engages in collaboration with period dance ensembles, historical theatrical or pantomime troupes, visual artists, other ensembles, orchestras, and conductors. It presents itself regularly in this country and abroad in concert cycles and at early music festivals (e.g. the Haydn Music Festival, the St Wenceslas Music Festival, the International Summer School of Early Music in Valtice, Ars Antiqua Europae in via Gothica, Sharjah Heritage Days etc.). In Prague, she holds a series of her own concerts with an emphasis on world premieres, performances of musical dramatic works, and the confrontation of so-called “early music” with the modern age.

VIKTORIE DUGRANPERE completed her studies in the sacred choral conducting programme at the Týn School under the auspices of the Charles University Faculty of Pedagogy (Bachelor’s Degree) and of musicology at the Charles University Faculty of Arts (Master’s Degree) with a focus on Czech music of the eighteenth century. She did part of her studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, where she devoted herself primarily to French music of the Renaissance and Baroque. She studied solo singing with the famed opera singer Daniela Šounová Brouková, Prof. Jiří Kotouč, and Pavla Zumrová. She has taken part in a large number of vocal masterclasses in the fields of Baroque chamber music, opera, and theatre in this country and abroad (C. Pélon, J. Hassler, I. Desrochers, B. Lafont, L. Charoy, N. Rouille etc.). On that basis, since 2009 she has been devoting herself intensively to activity in the field of early music. That interest then led her to establish the Victoria Ensemble, the idea behind which is the rediscovery of music that history has overlooked. She has appeared with the ensemble as a soloist, an ensemble singer, and its artistic director. She also gives frequent concerts performing French chansons, jazz, and swing with Czech translations (Viktorie & František Band, established in 2010).

Further recordings by Marek Štryncl & Musica Florea orchestra:


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