The Dryades Consort deliver Caspar Othmayr’s Gifts

Caspar Othmayr was a theologian and composer of the early Protestant church. His 1549 Tricinia in pias offers a selection of musical virtues that address eight vices. The Dryades Consort uses this for a program celebrating both the vices and virtues.

While Othmayr’s music provides the foundation, the consort pulls from other contemporary sources. There’s a significant amount of music from Othmayr’s friend and colleague Goerg Forster. Also represented is Johannes Ott, Hieronymus Formschneyder, Heinrich Isaac, and some anomymous composers.

It’s an effective program and beautifully performed. Countertenor Franz Vitztheum sings with a honeyed tone. His pure delivery is almost entirely free of vibrato (appropriate to the era). It gives the music an ethereal serenity. And it’s in character with the lofty intellectual ideals of the texts.

The Dryades Consort, led by Silvia Tecardi has but four players. They play a variety of stringed instruments. This changes the ensemble sound from track to track.

I found this album quite soothing to listen to. If my German was a little stronger, I may have gotten more out of it. But as it was, hearing the music and letting it wash over me was enough.

If you enjoy early music at all, give this release a listen. The Dryades Consort focussed on a very specific aspect of Renaissance music. And the resulting program shows how successful their realization of that music was.

Caspar Othmayr: Gift & Gegengift
Virtues and Vices in Renaissance Songs
Franz Vitztheum, countertenor
Dryades Consort; Silvia Tecardi, director
Christophorus CHR 77455

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