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Orchestra of the 17th Century: Buxtehude - Ad cor

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Published on Jul 5, 2008

Dieterich Buxtehude (c.1637-1707) - Membra Jesu Nostri: "Ad cor"
Orchestra of the 17th Century, Washington D.C. and soloists
Michael Holmes, music director
Live performance: March 28, 2004

Latin text:

Vulnerasti cormeum,
soror mea, sponsa,
vulnerasti cormeum.
[Canticum canticorum salomonis, 4:9]

Summi regis cor, aveto,
te saluto corde laeto,
te complecti me delectat
et hoc meum cor affectat,
ut ad te loquar, animes

Per medullam cordis mei,
peccatoris atque rei,
tuus amor transferatur,
quo cor tuum rapiatur
languens amoris vulnere

Viva cordis voce clamo,
dulce cor, te namque amo,
ad cor meum inclinare,
ut se possit applicare
devoto tibi pectore

Vulnerasti cormeum,
soror mea, sponsa,
vulnerasti cormeum.
[from Salve mundi salutare, Arnulf of Louvain (d. 1250)]

English translation:

You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride. [Song of Solomon 4:9]

Heart of the highest King, welcome,
I greet you with a joyful heart;
your sweet embrace delights me
and this affects my heart
so that I am moved to speak to you.

Let your love enter the marrow of my heart,
me, a sinner and one accused;
let your love go to the place
where your heart has been ravished,
weary with the wound of love.

The voice of my living heart cries out,
sweetheart, for I love you.
Incline to my heart,
that it might nestle
against you with a devoted breast.
[from Salve mundi salutare, Arnulf of Louvain (d. 1250)]

You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride. [Song of Solomon 4:9]

About the music:

"Ad cor" ("To his heart") is one of Dieterich Buxtehude's seven cantatas in the group called Membra Jesu Nostri, each describing one of the parts of the Christ's crucified body: feet, knees, hands, side, breast, heart, face. Scored for SSATB voices and strings, six of the cantatas employ two violins and continuo, whereas the sixth "Ad Cor" calls for five violas da gamba and continuo, thus dispensing with the violins. These cantatas fit in the unique genre appropriately called concerto-aria cantata. Each cantata begins with an instrumental introduction (concerto), followed by a vocal-instrumental concerto set to a passage of scripture. The concerto is repeated at the end of the cantata, except in the first cantata, where it is followed by an additional movement, and in the last cantata Ad Faciem (To his Face), where it is replaced by an elaborate "Amen." Between these framing concertos, Buxtehude inserts three arias (some are trios), which generally share the same bassline within each cantata. The aria (or trio-aria) texts are successive stanzas of a medieval Passion poem, Salve mundi salutare, also known as Rhythmica oratio, once attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, but actually written by Arnulf of Louvain (d. 1250). This poem, along with another attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux, Jesu dulcis memoria, was especially popular in the seventeenth century. These poems were printed in Latin and in various other languages and were widely read in both Catholic and the Protestant societies. The focus of "Membra Jesu nostri" is redemption through love and Jesus' suffering.

About the performers:

The Orchestra of the 17th Century ("O17"), directed by its founder Michael Holmes, is dedicated to the exploration and promotion of music from the century that saw the birth of the modern notion of the "orchestra." Since there was no standardized orchestra for most of the 17th century, each performance by O17 is a unique experience in instrumental color. Its audiences hear groups that feature a variety of wind instruments such as cornetts, sackbuts, curtals, shawms, and recorders, as well as performances that feature the more familiar large string group with continuo. O17 is now in its eighth season of its existence and still striving to produce more unique and fascinating programs otherwise difficult to produce due to the specialized use of period instruments. One of the subsets of O17 is the Washington Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble, North America's premiere ensemble of its kind. Another subset is the Ensemble Stylus Luxurians. O17 released its first CD recording of Roman and Venetian music in the Fall of 2004, in collaboration with the Choir of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.

Contact: musicdirector@uucss.org

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