Grego Aichinger: Virginalia, 1607 – Ground-breaking

Gregor Aichinger worked for the House of Fugger in the late 1500s. They were an important international banking family and one with cosmopolitan tastes. With his employer’s blessing, Aichenger journeyed to Rome in 1599 to study music.

The year 1600 marked the beginning of the Baroque era. The Baroque movement had new ideas about keys, harmonies, and even musical forms. Aichinger was there at the start. And when he returned to Augsberger, the concepts of the Baroque came with him.

Aichenberger became one of the first German Baroque composers. His compositions incorporated basso continuo, and his counterpoint reflected the new, post-Renaissance ideals. 

This collection from 1607 is an excellent example. It features various compositions venerating the Virgin Mary. There are pieces concerned with the various mysteries associated with Mary. The final section is a paean to the Mother of God, intercessor between mankind and her Son. 

In some ways, this music sounds familiar. Aichinger provides the foundation. generations of German composers would build upon. From Heinrich Schutz to Johann Sebastian Bach, most adopted Aichinger’s innovations.

The Concentus Vocum has a smooth, homogenous blend. As recorded, the 24-voice ensemble has full, rich sound. The recording has the right amount of ambiance. There’s some echo, but not enough to muddy the music. 

Interspersed throughout the program are some organ pieces by Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli. This is certainly music Aichinger would have heard in Italy. These musical interludes add to the overall listening experience. They’re especially welcome if you’re listening straight through. 

Excellent performances of ground-breaking music.

Gregor Aichinger: Virginalia, 1607
Concentus Vocum; Michaelangelo Gabrielli, director
Tactus TC 560101

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