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Rosenmuller's Kernspruche.

Johann Rosenmuller. Kernspruche I (Leipzig 1648), RWV.E 1-20. Herausgegeben von Michael Heinemann unter Mitarbeit von Konstanze Kremtz und Holger Eichhorn. (Johann Rosenmuller: Kritische Ausgabe samtlicher Werke, Serie I: Kernspruche 1.) Cologne: Verlag Dohr, 2012. [Pref. to the complete edition in Ger., p. 6; introd. in Ger., p. 7-8; score, p. 9-230; crit. report in Ger., p. 231-47. ISMN M-2020-2161-3; pub. no. E.D. 10161. 188 [euro].]

Johann Rosenmuller. Kernspruche II (Leipzig 1653), RWV.E. 26-45. Herausgegeben von Michael Heinemann unter Mitarbeit von Konstanze Kremtz und Holger Eichhorn. (Johann Rosenmuller: Kritische Ausgabe samtlicher Werke, Serie I: Kernspruche 2.) Cologne: Verlag Dohr, 2013. [Pref. to the complete edition in Ger., p. 6; introd. in Ger., p. 7-8; score, p. 9-266; crit. report in Ger., p. 267-87. ISMN M-2020-2162-0; pub. no. E.D. 10162. 198 [euro].]

With the Johann Rosenmuller Kritische Ausgabe samtlicher Werke, Verlag Dohr and general editor Holger Eichhorn have taken a major step toward making an extensive repertoire of instrumental and sacred vocal music from the mid-seventeenth century available in quality editions. Johann Rosenmuller (ca. 1617-1684) has long been recognized as a key figure in German music at the twilight of the Thirty Years' War, but until now much of his music has remained unpublished or, as with both volumes of Kernspruche, has been issued piecemeal in practical editions. Compared to the bulk of the composer's output, the volumes of Kernspruche (1648 and 1653) are exceptional for their contemporary reception. While most of his works survive only in manuscript, date from his years in Italy, and only traveled north to select institutions, the Kernspruche volumes were published during his early career in Leipzig and were widely distributed in Germany.

In each volume, Rosenmuller offered twenty concertos that filtered the Italian concerted style through the lens of Lutheran devotion. The word Kernspruche was common parlance in Rosenmuller's time. The composer Stephan Otto, for example, advertised a collection of sacred music as containing "little works drawn from the best Kernspruchen of Holy Writ" (preface, Kronen Kronlein, oiler Musicalischer Vorlauffer [Freiburg: Georg Beuther, 1648]; all translations are mine). If Kern denotes the kernel, core, or essence, Kernspruche are quintessential sayings or proverbs. Rosenmuller's title advertises the nature of his texts: "Kern-Spruche, taken partly from Holy Scripture, Old and New Testaments, and partly from several old Doctors of the Church" (diplomatic transcriptions of the title pages are given in the critical reports to both volumes, p. 231 [Kernspruche I] and p. 267 [Kernspruche II]). Of the biblical texts from both volumes, most (26) are from Luther's translation, but a few (3) are from the Vulgate. Of the nonbiblical texts, a few are liturgical, but most (6) come from the pseudo-Augustine Meditations or Manuale, sources on which Schutz also drew. Like most dicta, Rosenmuller's texts are short, ranging from one to five verses or sentences.

Both new editions of the Kernspruche, edited by Michael Heinemann with assistance from Konstanze Kremtz and Holger Eichhorn, are not intended for practical use. The editors have kept the original C clefs in vocal parts; the figures under the unrealized basso continuo line stay as close as possible to the original, which means that the editors retained the t under chords on E and A to indicate a minor third above the bass; and although the editors have decided not to indicate when text underlay is editorial, they have kept most original spellings. While the sparsely edited figured bass and original spellings present no undue barrier to performers, and are a welcome relief from the heavy-handed editorial style in older editions, the vocal C clefs might disconcert. Fortunately, Dohr intends eventually to issue the works of Rosenmuller in practical editions with modern clefs. Until then, performers who want to avoid original clefs can still turn to some individually published concertos. Of the forty pieces in both volumes of Kernspruche, over half have already been published individually over the past fifty years, most recently by Ostinato-Musikverlag and King's Music. Several appeared earlier in Hanssler's series Die Kantate, still available from Cants. Many of these editions include parts. For the performer, these editions are still the most practical option. Vet for anyone wanting to get as close as possible to Rosenmuller's original publications without having to examine the partbooks directly, the critical editions are the obvious choice.

Heinemann offers an extensive critical commentary that surpasses in its detail most editions of seventeenth-century printed music. The editions are based on the printed partbooks only. Each of the principal sets is described in general along with clues to their provenance. Although he lists several manuscript copies, the editor has chosen not to consider them for the edition because they are certainly copied from the printed parts. (He does promise to examine manuscripts in a future study on the central-German transmission of the collection.) Dedication, preface, and gratulatory poetry are also transcribed and, in the case of the neo-Latin poetry, translated into German. A quite thorough overview of the contents of each partbook appears in tabular form. Thanks to these features, the reader can conveniently glimpse many details of the original publications.

The commentary cannot convey all details of the original, and for these instances, I would have appreciated facsimiles. For example, unless a transcription distinguishes between typefaces, one cannot see how the name of Tobias Michael, Rosenmuller's teacher and superior at the St. Thomas School, stands out through Roman type from among the many dedicatees of the Kernspruche I. Nor can one see how the dedications accentuate quotations from Luther through larger font. Fortunately, the need to reprint facsimiles is mitigated by the availability of digitized copies. Most notably, both volumes are available online courtesy of the Sachsische Landesbibliothek-Staats und Universitats-bibliothek Dresden (vol. 1, http://digital [lacking violin 1]; and vol. 2,, both accessed 14 May 2014).

A few other small additions would have greatly facilitated the reader's ease: a table summarizing the scorings within each collection (perhaps simply included along with the titles in the table of contents) would have made the composer's organization and the many common features among the pieces easier to see. Rosenmuller's own index to the second volume attests to the usefulness of such a table. Here we see how he organizes the collection by scoring, presenting the three-voice pieces first, then moving to four, five, six, and seven parts. A table of the text sources, perhaps similarly included in the table of contents, would also have aided a quick overview. Instead, transcriptions of the texts and information on their sources are buried in the critical commentary. One minor mistake is worth pointing out: no. 7 from Kernspruche II is mistakenly listed as from I Corinthians, but is really another Augustinian devotional text. Perhaps when the future Rosenmuller thematic catalog is printed, readers will be able to consult it for a quick glance at this kind of information.

The pieces published in the two new editions, some for the first time, reveal Rosenmuller's growing significance in central-German musical life at midcentury. When he released the first volume of Kernspruche in 1648, Rosenmuller became the first Leipzig musician in over a decade to publish a major collection of sacred music. The last before the Kernspruche-the second volume of the Musicalischer Seelenlust by the Thomascantor Tobias

Michael--had appeared in 1637. Since then, Leipzig musicians like the aging and sickly Michael had printed only occasional pamphlets containing individual pieces.

Having moved to Leipzig in the early 1640s for university study, Rosenmuller soon became the most active composer in the city, earning the support of major patrons and composers. His entry into city music life was probably assisted by Michael, whose assistant at the St. Thomas School he quickly became. The printer for Kernspruche I was Michael's son-in-law, Friedrich Lanckish. From early on, Rosenmuller enjoyed the support of Heinrich Schutz, who penned a poem in his honor for Rosenmuller's first publication, a collection of instrumental dances (1645). Schutz also listed Rosenmuller as his Leipzig agent for those wishing to purchase his Symphoniae Sacrae II (1647).

By the late 1640s, Rosenmuller had also found friends and supporters among the city's intellectual elite, including the noted poet Caspar Ziegler. The first volume of Kernspruche was self-published, which probably means that the composer's wealthy patrons helped offset the costs. By the early 1650s, the Leipzig city council promised him the position of Thomascantor once the aged Michael passed away. The Kreutzkirche in Dresden was also rumored to have sought him. Rosenmuller was thus the most productive composer in Leipzig from the late 1640s to 1655. Even when, in May 1655, he fled the city under accusations of pederasty, his reputation as a composer must have continued, at least in some circles.

It was the Kernspruche volumes that established Rosenmuller's longstanding reputation in the realm of sacred music. Surviving copies and sets known from inventories attest to the widespread popularity of these concertos among both courts and cities, large and small. Peter Wollny has estimated that the Kernspruche enjoyed popularity comparable only to Erhard Bodenschatz's Florilegium Portense (1618): "in addition to the motets from the Florilegium Portense, every musician active between 1650 and 1700 knew the sacred concertos of Rosenmuller's Kern-Spruche, which possibly helped shape musical style in greater measure than did the Kleine Geislliche Konzerte of Schutz" (Peter Wollny, "Heinrich Schutz, Johann Rosenmuller und die 'Kern-Spruche I und II,'" Schutz-jahrbuch 28 [2006]: 37). Even some who were clearly offended by the composer's behavior still valued his music. The critical commentary in the new edition offers one such example: in the set of partbooks once owned by the city church in Pirna, a contemporary of Rosenmuller systematically removed or covered over the composer's name and made disparaging comments about his character. But the owner still relished the music: a handwritten couplet in one part reads: "Wie lieblich klingt der Thon! / Dein Herz ist weit Darvon" (Kernspruche I, 233).

Heinrich Schutz may have particularly valued Rosenmuller's music, judging by portions of the partbooks for the Kernspruche II printed on what appears to be Schutz's personal paper. Taking up Peter Wollny's earlier investigation of the paper types in the 1653 volume, the edition offers new insight into Schutz's role in the printing of the collection (Wollny, 39-41). Heinemann notes that the portions printed on Schutz's paper are largely error-free, in contrast to sections printed on the other paper type. He hypothesizes that a first printing was riddled with mistakes, but the printer was probably unwilling to correct the parts at his own expense. For this reason, Schutz may have supplied his personal paper to allow Rosenmuller to correct those portions with the most egregious errors. Thus shoddy workmanship and financial miscalculation rather than a general paper shortage, as Wollny maintained, apparently warranted Schutz's help.

In the end, however, Schutz's role in the printing of the Kernspruche II is ambiguous, and Heinemann's account is one among a number of possibilities. We cannot yet be certain, for instance, that Schutz knowingly donated his paper to Rosenmuller or the printer Cellarius in support of this publication. The paper may have been in the printer's possession for a while, perhaps handed down through or purchased from the estates of his predecessors. Furthermore, although the watermarks featuring the letters HSC (supposedly standing for "Heinrich Schutz Capellmeister") and a bow and arrow (Sagittarius = Schutz) point to Schutz's ownership, both marks by themselves are common during the early-modern period (see Edward Heawood, Watermarks, Mainly of the 17th and 18th Centuries [Hilversum: The Paper Publications Society, 1950]; The Nostitz Papers: Notes on Watermarks Found in German Imperial Archives of the 17th & 18th Centuries, and Essays Showing the Evolution of a Number of Watermarks [Hilversum: The Paper Publications Society, 1956]). When more is known about this paper and its relationship to Schutz, we will be in a better position to corroborate Heinemann's ideas.

Whether or not he received material support from Schutz, Rosenmuller certainly benefitted from the compositional models offered by the older composer's Symphoniae Sacrae II (1647). The preface to Kernspruche II even refers the reader to Schutz's publication for more on performance difficulties, hinting at their stylistic similarity. Several features of the two collections are comparable. The vast majority of pieces in both have at least one section where the meter changes from duple to triple, a trait certainly found regularly but not inevitably in older concerto collections. Furthermore, both composers deliberately wrote for a variety of voice types. Rosenmuller even surpasses Schutz in variety. While the Symphoniae Sacrae II is limited to three or fewer voices, Rosenmuller wrote ten solos, eight duets, eleven trios, six quartets, and five quintets (the latter always SSATB, the standard ensemble for sacred madrigals and motets). But Rosenmuller's variety has limits. He shuns the bass voice, in contrast to Schutz. For solos and duets he favors sopranos, altos, and sometimes tenors. The bass voice, in contrast, appears only when two or more other voices also sing, and no piece uses more than one. On the other hand, he uses the soprano in eight of ten pieces for one vocalist.

Stylistic similarities can also be found in the way both Schutz and Rosenmuller employ instruments. Compared to older collections, the instrumentation has become standardized. A pair of violins appears in all of Schutz's pieces save one, and in well over half of Rosenmuller's. (In Rosenmuller, the several concertos for lower-pitched instruments like violas and trombones, sometimes combined with the pair of violins, nod toward the venerable civic instrumental ensembles still alive in central Germany.) The two composers handle the violins similarly. Instrumental sinfonias have become a standard feature in the majority of pieces. While Schutz more frequently places them in the middle of concertos, Rosenmuller usually reserves them for the beginning only. But both composers invariably reserve their most idiomatic instrumental writing for the sinfonias. When the instruments join with the singers, they tend to only mimic or anticipate the vocal parts. At its most basic, as in the opening concerto of Kernspruche I, "Treiffet ihr Himmel," the violins simply echo the singers, joining them only at cadences.

The concertos in the Kernspruche established Rosenmuller's reputation as a composer of fashionable Italian music. Throughout his life, Rosenmuller would continue to be a conduit for Italian-style music into Germany. The little we know of his life in Venice even suggests that his livelihood depended on this aspect of his reputation. Far from finding fame and fortune among the Italians, he continued to rely heavily on German patrons to whom he transmitted his compositions. Bringing these privately transmitted works from manuscript to modern critical edition will occupy the bulk of shelf space allotted to the Johann Rosenmuller Kritische Ausgabe samtlicher Werke, which already has issued nearly a third of the planned volumes. But since the composition and survival of many of these later works depended on the composer's reputation, established in his Leipzig works, it is fitting that the Kernspruche, volumes are among the first to be published in Dohr's edition.

Derek Stauff

Indiana University
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Author:Stauff, Derek
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Date:Sep 1, 2014
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