Chorale Masses & Sacred Concertos – Rheinische Kantorei, Hermann Max – MDG 

SCHEIN, BERNHARDT, ZACHOW, FISCHER: Chorale Masses & Sacred Concertos – Rheinische Kantorei, Hermann Max – MDG MDG6020169 [distr. by Presto Classical] (9/15/17)  TT: 44:27 Track list below *** 1/2

Excellent performances and a convincing recording

Five hundred years ago the Reformation triggered an upsurge in the production of church music, and even today Martin Luther’s  sacred hymns continue to be mainstays in Lutheran religious services. This disc has a lovely collection of masses and concertos from a variety of composers of the period, roughly between the 16th and early 18th century.

The works are performed by the Rheinische Kantorei, Hermann Max, conductor. The music on offer in this collection is hauntingly beautiful and well performed. None are mainstays of the popular classical canon, but that doesn’t make them any less compelling.

The recording is apparently a re-master, and dates from 1985. I can assure our readers that the recording is not compromised by age. As DG has demonstrated many times, there is a tremendous effort in the recording and production of their product, and the recording here is exemplary. The sound of the chorale and instruments are well positioned in a reverberant space. I thought the sound opened up nicely when my processor expanded it to 5.1 channels using Dolby Pro Logic.

It’s nice to have this disc for the holiday season, and its gentle melodies should put anyone in a reverent mood.

Track list:

Schein: Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam: Sacred Concerto

Rheinische Kantorei

Hermann Max
Bernhard: Missa Brevis
Rheinische Kantorei
Hermann Max

Schein: Christ lag in Todesbanden: Sacred Concerto
Rheinische Kantorei
Hermann Max

Zachow: Missa super Chorale ‘Christ lag in Todesbanden’
Rheinische Kantorei
Hermann Max

Schein: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland: Sacred Concerto
Rheinische Kantorei
Hermann Max

Fischer, J K F: Missa in contrapuncto
Rheinische Kantorei
Hermann Max

—Mel Martin

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