Munich: The music of Walter von der Vogelweide – Munich

A magical premiere is that in the Allerheiligen-Hofkirche with Walter von der Vogelweide’s Minnesang from the beginning of the 13th century! Joel Frederiksen from Ensemble Phoenix as well as Marc Lewon and Baptiste Romain from the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis immersed themselves deeply in this world with a lot of musicological support from Ulrike Keil. At first it was only possible to track this on one of its own Blog, now this music was heard for the first time in front of an audience; this should also be recorded for CD in spring.

Walter von der Vogelweide’s Middle High German texts are well documented, but only a few melodies have survived. After 800 years, your singing is dependent on the creative interpretation of the sparse sources. Especially since a musical notation in the modern sense was just invented at the time. So-called “neumes”, in which Gregorian chant has been recorded since the 9th century, did exist. They sometimes only indicated an approximate pitch, but it was only with the so-called “modal notation” that this became more precise and the duration of the tone could also be fixed.

Increasingly fascinated, you hear more and more subtleties when you listen to the wonderfully narrative sonorous bass of Joel Frederiksen, how he sings the great love and spring songs, but also one about the pleasure of eating (“Alte clamat Epicurus”) and that famous “I sit down with a stone”. This text congeals in the “Codex Manesse” to the no less famous, widely printed iconographic image of Walter von der Vogelweides.

On the one hand, one is enthusiastic about the naturalness of the singing presentation by Frederiksen or sometimes by Marc Lewon. On the other hand, one is amazed at the subtle accompaniment with ancient instruments such as the bagpipes, fiddle and rubeba, both forerunners of the violin, as well as of pats and quinters, i.e. an early guitar, or the citole. This is a variant of the lyre, which was not yet in use in Germany at the time.

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