Sweelinck, Cappella Amsterdam, Daniel Reuss - Psaumes Francais & Canciones Sacrae

Published Wednesday 23rd August 2017
Sweelinck, Cappella Amsterdam, Daniel Reuss - Psaumes Francais & Canciones Sacrae
Sweelinck, Cappella Amsterdam, Daniel Reuss  - Psaumes Francais & Canciones Sacrae

STYLE: Choral
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
LABEL: HM Gold HMG502033

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621) lived in turbulent times. While appearing to maintain a sympathy for Roman Catholicism he followed the party line - perhaps pragmatically and perhaps from conviction - in Post Reformation Amsterdam where the control of church music now fell under the remit of the Calvinist city officials. JPS was employed as organist at the city's Oude Kerk (Old Church) and, as is so often the case, he who pays the player calls the tune. Sweelinck was a multi-talented musician, known in his lifetime as the 'Orpheus of Amsterdam'. He composed, played, taught and oversaw the construction of organs and today is probably best remembered for his instrumental work. In part this was because times were changing and Franco-Flemish polyphony was being replaced in popular taste by Baroque. On this collection, first released in 2009, we hear a selection of Sweelinck's Psalm settings, some in French for use in Reformed churches and some in Latin, including a splendid Magnificat, for Roman Catholic use. In 2012 I reviewed a 12-disc Complete Psalms collection on the Glossa label which can be summed up as too much of a good thing while no doubt being a useful reference tool for those who cannot get enough. Over the years I have enjoyed several releases by Daniel Reuss and Cappella Amsterdam and always found them well sung, even where what they are singing is not particularly of interest to me. The French Psalms and Sacred Songs come under this heading: well sung but . . . No doubt there are many, particularly in Sweelinck's homeland, who will consider this an essential purchase, unless they bought it when first released in 2009. And it has to be said the album is much more accessible than the Complete Psalms mentioned above, especially as it has now been moved to a mid-price re-issue label.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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