German Christmas Music of the Renaissance a Welcome Regift

Sometimes regifting isn’t a bad thing. This release originally came out in 1978. At that time Orpheus was a sub-label of the Musical Heritage Society. As a classical Christmas album, it’s simply first-rate. And it’s been out of print for decades. So thanks, Alto, for regifting (or rather reissuing) “In Dulci Jubilo.”

The sound of the recording holds up pretty well. It’s not as crisp and detailed as a modern digital recording, and that’s fine. The soft definition of the sound gives it an intimate character somehow.

Elly Ameling delivers some performances that dazzle with their simplicity. She sings in a straightforward fashion that suits the music. The program is a selection of late 16th to early 17th-century German hymn tunes. They were meant to be sung in a non-pretentious and non-performative style.

The religious expression is heartfelt and direct. And that’s how Ameling sings these selections. Other voices join in from time to time, providing contrast to the program. The accompaniment remains modest throughout the album. Jus a recorder, krummhorn, violas da braccio, lute, and a viola da gamba.

This is intimate music-making indeed. And as a Christmas album, it provides a respite from the busyness of the season. Forty-plus minutes of quiet contemplation. Thanks for the regift! 

In Dulci Jubilo: German Christmas Music of the Renaissance
Elly Ameling, soprano
Orpheus Records OR 320

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