Die Auferstehung Christi - Selle: Historia, Sacred Concertos & Motets For Easter / Cordes, Et Al
SELLE Historia der Auferstehung. A Domino factum est illud. Christ lag in Todesbanden. Surrexit Christus spes mea. Christ ist erstanden. Jesus Christus unser Heiland der von uns. Erstanden ist der Herre Christ. Ich weiss dass mein Erlöser lebt • Manfred Cordes, dir; Weser-Renaissance Bremen • cpo 777396 (72:14 Text and Translation)
Thomas Selle (1599–1663) is not unknown on recordings, though I had never even heard of him. His name can be found on recordings as far back as 1968, and five CDs are currently available in Germany, requiring in the headnote the expansion of the title Jesus Christus unser Heiland to distinguish it from a slightly different incipit ( Jesus Christus unser Heiland der den Tod ), both of which can be found on an earlier disc from the same label (32:5). That original 1968 recording, in fact, has been reissued in a 60-year retrospective of the Windsbacher Knabenchor. Our recent exposure to the Passions of Telemann (23: 4) and C. P. E. Bach (31:3 twice) have clarified the end of a long line of Hamburg music directors who had charge of the four main churches, but they did not tell us that the scheme began with the arrival of Selle in 1641. His life before that is not well documented, but enough is known to indicate that he was born in Saxony, grew up in the Thomanerchor in Leipzig, and worked for 17 years in Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf, not so far from Hamburg. His complete works, numbering 280, exist in 16 partbooks and three tablatures in the Hamburg library. They were compiled by the composer and his pupils and left to the library.
The Resurrection Story occupies half of this disc and is drawn from all four gospel accounts. It is based on the same harmony, or continuous gospel narrative, on which Schütz based his version. The other seven works, continuing the theme of Easter, include two Latin texts, one from Psalm 117 (118), the other drawn from the Easter sequence, “Victimae paschali,” while the five German settings include two strophic works that are incomplete due to time constraints on the disc. This survey of Selle’s music shows that Selle was a competent composer who captured the style of his time and realized it in a variety of ways. Some of these works date from before his arrival in Hamburg, such as Erstanden ist der Herre Christ and Surrexit Christus spes mea , both composed in the second of his three positions in Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf. A Domino factum est illud comes from his final position in the province. All of these works were published in Hamburg before he received his appointment there, undoubtedly accounting for the fame that preceded him.
Cordes, who has produced so much unfamiliar music of this period, gives Selle his due in every respect. Soloists and ensembles are consistently effective, as fine as the composer could hope for. Not least beneficial is the assembling of a group of works around a single theme. This fine disc should not get lost amid the endless list of unfamiliar composers that have found their way to disc. Give it a hearing.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber
Catalog Number: 777396-2
Composer: Thomas Selle
Conductor: Manfred Cordes
Orchestra/Ensemble: Weser Renaissance